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Dog's Life: DIY
Crafting a Martingale Collar
Do it yourself
Craft A Collar

Martingale collars are not just for sighthounds anymore—they’re also a good choice for dogs who’ve learned they can back out of their collars and head for the nearest dog park on their own. Martingales are modified slip collars; the large loop goes around the dog’s neck, while the leash is attached to the D-ring on the smaller loop. (Dogs should NOT wear this collar unsupervised, and it should never be used as a tie-out collar.) Here’s how to make one from scratch. My pretty little Vizsla girl, Jersey, is the model.

What You’ll Need

  • Webbing (Cotton, polypropylene or nylon; I’m using cotton here.)* Three D-rings (scavenge from an old collar if possible)
  • Scissors
  • A flexible measuring tape
  • Sewing machine and thread. (You can sew the collar by hand, but that’s just a total pain.)

*Your local fabric store may have webbing, or check strapworks.comfor supplies.

Step 1: Measure your dog’s neck. To ensure that the collar fits properly and your dog can’t back out of it, you need to take two measurements: one directly behind the ears and one lower down on the neck, where you would like the collar to sit. When measuring behind the ears, make sure that the tape is snug.

Step 2: Cut the webbing. Cut two pieces—one for the neck loop and one for the control loop. Jersey’s “behind the ear” measurement was 14 inches, so I added 2 inches to that and cut a 16-inch piece of webbing. For the control loop, I subtracted the “behind the ear” measurement (14 inches) from the “neck” measurement (17 inches) and came up with 3 inches. This is the total spread that you will want on the control loop. I doubled this measurement and added 2 inches to come up with a length of 8 inches for webbing on the control loop.

Step 3: Sew on the first D-ring. Take one of the D-rings, insert the webbing through it and fold over about 3/4 of an inch (A). Sew a straight line up and down over the webbing. Triple-stitch this line for strength, using the reverse button on your sewing machine (B).

Step 4: Sew on the second D-ring. To get the correct size for the neck loop, you must take the length of the D-rings into account. Lay the webbing out on a flat surface and place the measuring tape next to it. Slide the second D-ring over the webbing and fold the webbing over the neck loop until it’s the length that you need (C). Pin the fold into place and sew two lines (as in step three). Make sure both folded ends are on the same side of the neck loop. Now that you have completed the neck loop, trim all loose threads.

Step 5: Thread the control loop. With the folds of the neck loop facing OUTWARD, thread the control loop through both D-rings. Slide the remaining D-ring on the LEFT side of the control loop webbing (D).

Step 6: Sew the control loop. First, put the control loop together so that the ends overlap by about 2 inches. Make sure that the D-ring is still lying to the left. Sew two seams as in step 3. Next, flip the control loop inside out so that the fold that you have just sewn is on the inside of the loop. Bring the D-ring as close as you can to the seam that you just finished and sew two new seams as in step three (E). Trim all loose threads.

There you have it, your finished martingale collar, which you made with your own two hands!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Superbowl Game Day Dog Walk

It’s easy to spend Superbowl Sunday glued to the couch, sucked in by the game, the million dollar commercials and all that food. Subaru reminds you to spend some quality time with your own MVP—your Most Valuable Pooch—this Superbowl Sunday. Take a time-out from the TV, grab a leash and join in on the Subaru Game Day Dog Walk. Kick off an annual tradition: just you, your dog and maybe a few fellow dog walkers enjoying a day free of the usual street noise and crowds—it could be your favorite walk of the year! Then head over to subaru.com/dogs and enter your dog to win one of 50 Most Valuable Pooch prizes. Even if your football team doesn’t win, you’ll still be a champion in your dog’s eyes.

Dog's Life: DIY
Knitted Dogs
Crafts

Immortalize your pup in yarn by following the patterns in Knit Your Own Dog by Sally Muir and Joanna Osbourne. Using just simple knit, purl and loopy stitches, capture a Bulldog’s wrinkles, a Poodle’s curls or an Afghan’s flowing mane— 25 breeds in all. Download the pattern below to try your knitter’s hand at the Jack Russell Terrier pattern.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Wedding Resources
Dog-friendly photographers, planners, wedding venues and accommodations

In our research for "Here Comes the Bride ... and Her Dog" (Bark, February 2011), we talked to many brides around the country about their big day. They had great stories to tell but also important advice. Among their discoveries were dog-friendly resources, which we list here with links to make your planning a little easier.

 

Accommodations and venues
  • Page and Barry Jenson were able to include their dogs in the reception at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.
  • Juliana and Justin Caton's dogs, Alli and Jake, were welcome at Dragonfly Retreat in Bothell, Wash., north of Seattle.
  • Claire and Meg DeMarco found The Fairmont Battery Wharf, Boston, Mass., "incredibly accommodating" when it came to their flower dog, Lexi.
  • Lisa and Lou Ferrugiaro eloped with their small dogs to the pup-friendly bed-and-breakfast Highland House in West Cape May, N.J.
  • Molly McNamara and Jeff McGlynn took their three dogs north of their Bay Area-home for a destination/beach wedding in Mendocino, Calif., at the Inn at Schoolhouse Creek.
  • Gay Salisbury recreated a 1930s Alaska wedding—with sled dogs—at Trail Creek Cabin at Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley, Idaho.
  • Even when Ally Zenor and Travis Nichol's West Highland Terrier escaped for an off-leash loop around the lobby, the folks at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Wash., kept their dog-friendly cool.
  Floral Design
  • Wondering about the amazing floral garlands Jake and Alli are wearing on page 67? They're by Courtney Kryomann, Designs by Courtney, Seattle, Wash.
  Photographers
  • Ciro Photography, New York City, Boston and Los Angeles
  • Pamela Duffy, Sedona, Ariz.
  • KT Merry, Miami, Fla.
  •  Laura & Scott Schoeggl, Wallflower Photography, Tacoma, Wash.
  • Amelia Soper, Seattle, Wash.
  •  Lisa Spradlin, Mendocino, Calif.
  • Tinywater Photography, Napa and San Francisco, Calif.
  • Anne Watkins, wedding watercolors, New York City
  Planners
  • David Reinhard Events, LLC, New York City
  • Ann David and Nicky Reinhard
  • 14 Stories, Boston & Cape Cod
  • Gay wedding planning firm, Bernadette Coveney Smith, president
  As far as we know, Colleen Paige of The Wedding Dog in Portland, Ore., is the only wedding planner specifically focused on including dogs in your wedding.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
A Very Husky Wedding
With sled dogs as attendants

Shortly before Gay Salisbury was expected at her nuptials in Sun Valley, Idaho, a cacophony of barking washed over the 50 or so waiting guests. “My dad thought they were wild dogs and guests were thinking, ‘Poor Gay, that’s going to be distracting,’” Salisbury says. “Then, I come flying up.”

  By flying up, she means arriving atop an all-terrain vehicle pulled by a team of fine Alaskan Huskies. They raced up behind the guests and threaded a narrow lane between the audience and the unwitting groom and minister.   “I never told my husband I had real live Huskies bringing me. It was just a big surprise,” she says. “Practically speaking, it could have been pandemonium.” But the dogs behaved beautifully, watching from the wings during the ceremony and dozing on hay beds during the reception.   It was about more than making a big entrance. Salisbury had fallen for her husband, Dr. Terrence Cole, when they met during her research for a book on the 1925 serum run, when sled dogs delivered desperately needed medicine to a freezing and isolated Nome. A professor of history at The University of Alaska Fairbanks and a specialist in Alaska history, Cole shared Salisbury’s passion.   Her book, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic, was published in June 2003, and Salisbury and Cole wed that August, so the wedding became a celebration of the book, the dogs and their love.   Vintage sled dog themes carried through the wedding. The invitations featured an image of Huskies in front of the Sun Valley Lodge from a 1930s-era linen postcard. A vintage Marx & Co. toy sled-dog team surrounded the cake and guest book. (She bought it off eBay as a cake topper but turned out to be four feet long.) Each guest received View-Masters through which to view reels featuring Arctic images.   “These dogs, in very many ways, they led me to my husband, into his life, and into his world, and that’s why I thought, this is perfect,” she says.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
American Beauties
Restaged classics to the rescue

Since the dawn of advertising, lovely ladies have been used to sell everything from soap to pickup trucks. But the women of Pinups for Pitbulls are more than simply beauties or burlesque queens. Founder Deirdre Franklin, whose stage name is Little Darling, describes a modern burlesque artist as “a strong woman who’s expressing herself in an art form that’s liberating.” Part of a subculture that’s revived a classic American art, they’re also using their talents to save a classic American dog.

Franklin’s first encounter with a Pit Bull was a lesson in the lifeand- death consequences of breed prejudice.When a stray was brought into a shelter where she was a volunteer, policy not only dictated that she couldn’t adopt the dog, but also that the dog couldn’t be released to a breed rescue; the dog was later euthanized. Franklin’s response was to adopt Carla Lou, her first Pit Bull, from a rescue group; Carla Lou quickly became what Franklin calls “the love of my life.”

Carla Lou inspired Franklin to get involved in Pit Bull rescue locally, but she was pushed to another level by her experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Determined to help, she turned to MySpace, where Pinups for Pitbulls still does a lot of its networking. There, she says, “friends who knew I was into animal rescue and was kind of a loudmouth about it” contributed to a plane ticket so she could go to New Orleans. After persisting through a few days of being turned away from the rescue efforts, she got out on the street to find that a huge percentage of the dogs were Bully types. “That’s what lit the fire under me,” she says. “Seeing it as a national, not a local issue, changed my perspective.”

Using her talents and connections, Franklin was able to start something that helps in a unique way: Through benefit performances and sales of their calendar, Pinups raised about $20,000 last year for the Bully rescue cause.Now they’re planning to branch out into selling prints and more merchandise, and have just received nonprofit status. Franklin has big plans of her own as well: she’s studying for the LSAT so she can go to law school and gain new tools to further her cause, especially the fight against breed-specific legislation.

You might think that with such a specific theme, there’d be a limited pool to draw upon, but last year, 50 models applied to pose in the calendar with their own Pit Bulls. Could it just as easily be “Pinups for Poodles,” or Pugs? Maybe, but Franklin thinks there’s a special connection between the modern burlesque artist and the beleaguered Bully breeds. They’re both outsiders, used to being stereotyped, she says. And Franklin, a woman who isn’t easily kept down, seems to be a kindred spirit to the many Pits, who, like her own, have kept their loyal and loving characters despite adversity. Describing one big dog rescued after Katrina who wagged his tail so much that it had a bare spot where it hit the ground, she says, “They’re triumphant in the worst of times, and I appreciate that.”

 

Order the calendar at pinupsforpitbulls.com

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Happy Trails
Safety first in the great outdoors.
Dog Safety

Camping and hiking with your dog are two of life’s great pleasures, provided your pooch is well suited to the particular excursion and you’ve sufficiently prepared for the trip. The most important factor to consider is whether you truly believe your dog will enjoy herself. Is she well socialized and confident in new situations? Is she controllable around other people and pets? Does she bark at or chase birds, squirrels or other wild animals? Will the weather be too hot or too cold to ensure her comfort and safety? Naturally, you can’t predict the exact conditions of your adventure, but considering such matters might lead you to rethink or adjust your plans so everyone has a good time. Once you’ve decided it’s a go, here are some before-, duringand after-trip tips to make the experience more enjoyable.

Check the dog policies at the campground and/or hiking trails you plan on using to determine whether there are any rules you’re unwilling or unable to comply with. Learn about area hazards such as poisonous snakes, porcupines, disease-carrying ticks or waterborne parasites like giardia (the local ranger station is usually a good resource). Prepare in advance for potential mishaps by taking needle-nose pliers to remove porcupine quills, antihistamine for insect stings, or a sheet or nylon poncho to use as a two-person stretcher to carry an injured dog, and pack them in your dog’s first aid kit. Locate the nearest animal hospital at your destination in case of emergency.

Confirm that your dog is current on her rabies vaccine. If she’s due for other booster shots, consider having a titer done first to see if they’re really necessary. Make sure your dog is up-to-date on flea, tick and heartworm prevention if needed, and that her ID tags and microchip information are current as well.

Trim your dog’s nails to prevent them from tearing on rugged trails. Depending on the climate, you may want to bring along other outdoor dog gear, such as a jacket for cold weather or a cooling vest for hot weather. If you have a light- or pink-skinned dog, pet-safe sunscreen is also a wise purchase.

Take water from home or have bottled water on hand. Do not let your dog drink from streams or lakes, which can cause intestinal upset and the potential for ingesting bacteria or parasites like giardia. Other items to take include food and treats, toys, a collapsible dish, waste bags, a towel, any medications, a brush, first-aid kit, and an extra-long leash in case you need to tether her at your campsite. Decide where your dog will be sleeping and pack accordingly— a bed, soft crate, blankets or the like.

If you’re staying in a rented cabin, look around for rodent bait and traps, a common discovery in vacation rentals that sit unused much of the year. Check the closets, kitchen and hidden corners and remove anything that can harm your dog. If you’re camping in the great outdoors, make sure there’s adequate shade and shelter at your site.

On the trail, beware of heatstroke if it’s warm and humid. Provide frequent opportunities for her to drink water and rest, especially if she seems tired. Some dogs, in their desire to please, will overexert themselves to keep up with you, so it’s up to you to make sure she’s not overdoing it.

After your excursion, give your pooch a once-over, checking her ears, face, body and feet for any foxtails, burrs or ticks she may have picked up along the way. Check her paw pads for cuts, burns or stickers. Give her a quick brushing to remove the day’s dust and pollen. Then give her a well-deserved dinner, a belly rub and a good night’s rest. A bedtime story is optional!

Adapted from The Safe Dog Handbook, © 2009 by Melanie Monteiro; published by Quarry Books.Used with permission.

Dog's Life: Humane
Film Fatale
Is there more violence toward animals in today’s movies?

Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed an unsettling trend: Almost every time a dog appears in a movie, that dog dies. American Gangster, I Am Legend, No Country for Old Men, The Brave One, Funny Games, 30 Days of Night, Year of the Dog, and even the family movie The Martian Child all either show the dog being killed or lead you to believe that is the case.

Whatever happened, I wonder, to that unwritten rule about not killing dogs or kids in movies?

“It’s the inverse of the basic advertising law—that if you put a beautiful animal on the cover of a magazine, it’s more likely to sell,” says Dr. Alan Lipman, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Violence in Washington, D.C.

“It creates three experiences in a person,” he explains. “First, everyone’s a little bit afraid of getting hurt—everyone is protecting their vulnerability. When people see an animal, it gives them that experience of unprotected vulnerability. Second, all of us are instilled with the basic instinct for attachment, to attach to something else and to provide care for something else. An animal instantly evokes that feeling in us. The third is intense empathy, the experience of feeling what it must be like to be that helpless … little … cute.”

Thus, because we identify so strongly with an animal’s vulnerability—particularly when it comes to dogs, who are increasingly viewed as family members— we feel more devastated when we witness an act of violence against that animal.

John McKelvie, PsyD, a psychology resident at the Denver Health Medical Center, concurs. “Innocence and helplessness: Those are the two issues. It’s a value of this society that you don’t commit injury, or assault those who are not capable of defending themselves,”McKelvie says. “We have special laws to protect vulnerable populations, and dogs fall into that category.”

This phenomenon makes perfect sense, and also goes a long way toward explaining why the death of a vicious dog, as in No Country for Old Men or To Kill a Mockingbird, doesn’t usually elicit the same response. Those dogs play the role of the bad guy, so we don’t project feelings of love or vulnerability onto them, don’t imagine ourselves to be the same witless victim of violence, and don’t imagine that their loss would be as upsetting as the loss of our own beloved pet.

Elliot Kotek, editor-in-chief of Moving Pictures magazine, feels directors have very strong reasons to break the taboo. “There’s a trick called ‘petting the dog,’” he says. “In screenwriting, no matter how evil the character, the rule is that if you want to show that they’re redeemable, either have them pet a dog or show them being nice to some sort of animal. On the flip side, when they say, ‘Don’t kill a dog, don’t hurt a kid,’ they’re really saying, ‘unless you want to have a true villain,’” Kotek observes.

Peter Debruge, associate editor at Variety, agrees. “It’s certainly the case where the killing of a dog serves the purpose of illustrating how heartless these villains are,” he says. “[I Am Legend] is probably the highest-profile example. I found it almost unbearable getting to that point because if you’re someone who has seen enough movies, you’re able to see through the formula. And you realize that the dog is an emotional symbol, and the filmmakers are going to manipulate us in the worst possible way to get us to sympathize with the Will Smith character.”

But in this case, as Debruge points out, the filmmakers literally have no other choice. “The one excuse I would give the movie, although I was pretty upset by it, is that that same fate would meet a human character if the movie weren’t about the last human. So instead it’s transferred to a proxy,” he says.

According to Kotek, this trend might not be so new. Recall, for example, 1939’s Of Mice and Men, 1954’s Rear Window and even the seminal Old Yeller (1957). “I think it’s an old adage. When a protagonist in a film has a dog, more often than not, the dog will die,” he says. The difference, as Kotek explains it, might not be what happens, but how it happens.“ Movies have become more realistic,” he says. Debruge concurs, pointing out an across-the-board trend toward not turning the camera away from the gore of reality. “It becomes this symbol, and everything that goes forward is in tune with that unflinching style,” he says.

Lipman also agrees with the cinema verité theory. “Rather than there being an overall shift in movies toward depicting cruelty or violence to animals, what happens is you have a certain group of filmmakers … [who] want to depict realism— they want to depict what they would see as actual human emotions as opposed to clichéd human emotions.”

Regardless of whether we dog lovers are just hypersensitive or that the movement toward realism simply challenges us more, it doesn’t appear that the situation is going to change any time soon. “The fact that it’s happening means that there’s not been enough of a vocal reaction on the part of audiences to discourage it,” Debruge says.

So audiences beware: If you see a dog in a preview, you might very well be getting the bad with the good if you see the film. As for me, I’ll still be going to the movies—I’ll probably just start carrying more tissues.

Dog's Life: DIY
DIY Dog Leashes
With a little attention, an old leash can bloom
Updated Leashes

Spring is the perfect time to get a new “leash”on life, and it is time for me to move on from the grief of losing my dog, Eloise, who was so often the inspiration for these projects and articles. What kind of “new leash”do I want for myself? Perhaps one that I can depend on so that I can depend on myself. I also want a leash for my new dog, Pippi; I want to train her so that she can be off the leash safely and be confident and comfortable when she’s on-leash. We both want to feel free and safe so that we can take advantage of what spring may bring our way. It’s up to me to find my own leash, but for Pippi—and for your dog—a new leash isn’t required. We can give renewed life to one we have on hand.

Directions
Any kind of trim or other decoration can be glued onto a leash. I use a tacky craft glue and weight it down (usually with a few heavy books) while it dries.

For the thin green leash:
I used a flower trim on both sides, and glued a tape measure onto the thicker light-green leash.

For the thin black leash:
An extra-long necklace that I found at a dollar store. With pliers, open the first ring and attach it to the leash’s hook. Then twist the chain around as you thread the leash through some of the bigger links.

Cut off the excess chain at the top and attach it by opening the last ring, pushing it through the nylon fabric of the leash and then closing it with the pliers. Any kind of light chain is suitable for this project as long as the leash can be threaded through some of the links.

For the thick black leash:
I used nailheads and buttons on one side and reflective trim on the other. You can get decorative nailheads at arts-and-crafts or bead stores. Design a pattern and then mark the spots with a white pencil.

Push the prongs of the nailheads through with your fingers and use pliers to fold down the prongs on the other side.With heavy-duty thread and a sharp, strong needle, attach the buttons; finish off the leash by adhering the reflective trim with tacky glue.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Gallery: Dogs in the Wedding
More photos from “Here Comes the Bride ... and Her Dog”

We talked to many people for “Here Comes the Bride ... and Her Dog,” our February feature about including dogs in your wedding. It was a delight to hear all the wonderful ways in which couples include their best friends on the big day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room to include every story or every photo, so we created this online wedding album, which includes pictures of nearly all the brides and grooms who contributed advice and anecdotes but don’t appear in the story. Read our complete wedding story in the February/March 2011 issue of Bark, on sale now.

Want to add your own doggy wedding photo to this slideshow? Just follow these steps:

  • Sign up for an account on Flickr (if you don't already have one).
  • Upload your photo(s) and include your story in the description.
  • Add your photo to The Bark's Dogs in Weddings Photo Gallery.
  • And it will appear in this slideshow!

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