Dog's Life: DIY
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
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
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
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
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
Safety first in the great outdoors.
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
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
With a little attention, an old leash can bloom
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.
For the thin green leash:
For the thin black leash:
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:
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
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:
And it will appear in this slideshow!
Dog's Life: Humane
What is animal hoarding? Who becomes a hoarder?
* “Long-term Outcomes in Animal Hoarding Cases,” by Berry, Patronek & Lockwood; Animal Law 11:167.
All case citations taken from Pet-Abuse.com
Whom to Call
You can report suspected hoarding to your local animal control, the humane society, the local public health department, or even a zoning department that regulates unsanitary conditions or the number of animals on a property.
If you are unsure of whom to contact, try your local yellow pages, or go to Aspca.org and search for State Animal Cruelty Laws.
For complete research articles and other in-depth information and statistics about animal hoarding by Dr. Patronek and others, see the Tufts University Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC) website.
Pet-Abuse.com is an excellent grassroots cruelty information and reporting site. It collects information on reported and prosecuted cases of cruelty, hoarding and puppy mills.
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) campaign against hoarding and animal fighting.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cold weather walks
A brisk winter's walk with your dog— what could be better? As invigorating as it is, cold weather brings a new set of challenges, especially if you live in the city. NYC’s Garrett Rosso, an expert urban dog-walker and trainer, tells us how he keeps walks safe and fun for his charges.
> Ice-melting chemicals and salt can burn those sweet feet. Before hitting the streets, apply Musher’s Secret, petroleum jelly or even PAM to your dog’s footpads to reduce the sting and cracking, and take along some disposable diapers as sturdy and convenient pad-wipes.
> Ice and snow between your pup’s toes will also cause him problems; during the course of the walk, make it a point to check his feet and remove these nuisances.
> Keep an eye out for antifreeze—many dogs love the taste of this lethal liquid. If your dog ingests even a small amount, take him to the vet immediately.
> Invest in a coat or sweater that covers him to the base of his tail and under his belly (many do not). Sweaters are regulation cold-weather wear for many dogs.
> And a reminder: Don’t allow your dog to run off-leash during a winter storm; heavy snowfalls obliterate familiar scents and dogs can become disoriented and lost.
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