Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Bronco has become Bronx
Football player Tim Tebow ‘s every action seems to attract attention, so it’s no surprise that when he changed his Rhodesian Ridgeback’s name recently, it made the news. The name Bronco, which was such a great name when he played for the Denver Broncos, became awkward once they traded him to the New York Jets.
Many sportswriters are discussing how cruel it was to make this name change and claiming that the dog will suffer terribly as a result. Most dog professionals, myself included, think that changing a dog’s name is fine, even if the new name is nothing like the old one.
Bronco to Bronx is a minor change, which makes me suspect that Tebow made a real effort to change his dog’s name to something similar. Most people do think that it’s a big deal for a dog, so this gesture may have been prompted by a thoughtful attempt to minimize any issues for his dog.
Love him or hate him, Tebow’s big news is a sign of many things: his status as a cultural icon, the pattern of naming our dogs after what’s important to us, and the ever-increasing importance of dogs in our culture.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The bad guy was caught
I hope I never outgrow feeling greatly satisfied when bad guys’ evil deeds are thwarted. That feeling showed up this morning when I read about 8-year old Cade and his dog Roscoe, who together alerted the parents to an intruder in the home who was attempting to make off with the purse belonging to Cade’s mother. Cade saw a stranger in his house and called out in a way that told his parents something was really wrong. When they opened the door to the house, Roscoe gave chase to the robber, followed by Cade’s dad.
The robber was chased until he was hit by a car. (He is expected to recover.) While I take no pleasure from his injuries, I am glad that he did not get away with his crime. Though it is obviously risky to chase down an intruder (law enforcement recommends calling the police instead), it’s still invigorating when good guys stop the bad guy.
What interested me most about this story is that the dog gave chase at all. Was he chasing for fun because the guy ran and that was enough of a stimulus to trigger the dog’s chasing behavior? Or did Roscoe give chase because he understood, at least to some degree, what was going on?
News: Guest Posts
This week we mourn the loss of a dog lover extraordinaire: Dick Clark. He was 574. In dog years.
Clark was a big-time dog person. He designed his Malibu home so it could accommodate all his dogs—he sometimes had as many as five at a time. The showers were extra large so that he could wash the pups himself, he told LA’s Pet Press in 2001. It was even his dog, he’d said years earlier, who’d picked out the place: His Lab, Mort, got loose one afternoon on the beach, and Clark found him on a beautiful piece of beachfront property. He liked it as much as Mort did, so he called the owners and arranged to buy it. There, he and his wife Kari celebrated each dog’s birthday with plates of meatballs with candles in them. Kari was in charge of the party hats. He would take photos.
In recent years, the Clarks had a pug named Mrs. Jones, and Henry VIII, a 110-pound Weimaraner. There was also Lucille, a Dalmatian who was a gift from Gloria and Emilio Estefan—flown in via private jet. Bernardo was a Dachshund-mix the Clarks found on the streets of San Bernardino. They dropped him off at the pound and then made a U-turn and picked him up. (He would become their fourth Dachshund.) Many of the Clarks’ dogs were named for songs: Maybelline was a pup birthed by Mort’s girlfriend, Molly; Eleanor Rigby was a stray the Clarks took in.
In the office of Dick Clark Productions in Burbank, dogs roamed as they pleased. They took the elevators rather than the stairs; they trained human staffers to push the buttons for them. They also convinced all Clark’s employees to feed them leftovers, leading Clark to affix “Don’t Feed Me” signs to his charges when they made the rounds in the office.
“There are a few people that don’t like dogs, so they don’t pay any attention to them. But for the most part people pet them, feed them, bring them presents, and talk to them. It has a nice effect on a place that tends to have a lot of tension,” he told The Pet Press’ Lori Golden. “When the dogs enter, it breaks the ice. I’ll say sorry, we’re in a meeting, and they’ll turn around and leave. But everybody sort of laughs and it loosens up the meeting.”
“They’re pressure relievers,” he continued. “You’ll be on the phone at work dealing with something stressful and they’ll just walk up and want a pat.”
As his health began to decline in 2004, Clark told the Associated Press that he didn’t think that he’d had a stroke; when he awoke partially numb one morning, it was a feeling he was familiar with: He thought a dog had slept on his side.
In the 1980s, a then seemingly-unageable Clark had several popular TV programs. Although he tended to keep his own brood off camera, he occasionally invited other people’s dogs on his shows. Here, on Live! Dick Clark Presents, he interviews Spuds Mackenzie, Bud Light’s Bullterrier mascot. He asks his pretty (and very ’80s) handlers about a vicious rumor he’d heard: Spuds was really a woman. The ladies deny it, but Clark was actually correct—his real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye.
On his Friday Night Surprise show in 1989, Clark orchestrated one of the most charming kid-dog segments I’ve ever seen on the boob- or YouTube. Witness Dick Clark’s surprise talking Basset Hound.
Sources: Blisstree.com, The Associated Press, The Pet Press, ILoveDogs
Last week, the red carpet was rolled out for the Los Angeles premiere of Darling Companion, the new film by Lawrence and Meg Kasdan, starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, and Kasey the dog. As a media sponsor for the event, The Bark, invited a handful of lucky readers to enjoy the festivities at Hollywood’s historic Egyptian Theater. Guests celebrated with the film’s stars, enjoying cocktails provided by Patron and noshing on churros and hot dogs. Kasey handled his new found celebrity with ease and exuded an air of sophistication befitting the occasion. His performance as a rescued dog who exposes the frayed marriage of the Keaton and Kline characters, had the audience in laughter and tears, rooting for a happy end. In the spirit of the film’s theme, The Amanda Foundation hosted an adoption fair with more than a dozen dogs seeking their forever homes. The adorable pups proved to be the toast of the evening … check out the video.
Read an interview with the filmmakers Lawrence and Meg Kasdan here.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
N.Y. pup chases away an intruder and survives a bullet to the skull
Pit Bulls get a bad reputation in the media, especially in my area of New York. But a heroic Staten Island pup brought the bully breed a bit of much deserved positive press this week.
On Saturday, Justin Becker and Nicole Percoco had an intruder visit their apartment, posing as a FedEx deliveryman. As the man tried to force his way inside, Justin trapped the armed suspect in the doorway, but was unable to shut him out. That’s when the couple’s 12-year old Pit Bull, Kilo, sprang into action.
As the brave dog leapt towards the door, the intruder fired a shot into Kilo’s head and ran off. There was so much blood, Nicole thought for sure that they would have to say goodbye to their beloved dog. But Justin rushed him to the veterinarian and Kilo turned out to be very lucky.
The bullet ricocheted off Kilo’s skull and exited through his neck, sparing him from certain death. Kilo’s veterinarian called the case “one in a million” and credited Kilo’s thicker skull for protecting his brain. Apparently, Pit Bulls have particularly thick skulls as compared to other breeds, such as Yorkies. The hospital staff was so impressed by Kilo’s loyalty and sweet personality that they drew an “S” for “superhero” on his head bandage.
I am always in awe of our dogs’ selfless behavior. Kilo could certainly sense the danger of the situation at Justin and Nicole’s apartment, yet he rushed to protect his people in a split second.
Kilo is lucky to be alive, but Justin and Nicole are just as lucky to have him as a part of their family.
News: Guest Posts
He broke law by allowing dogs off leash
Gary Hesterberg was enjoying a walk with his two small dogs at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) when he was confronted by a park ranger. She cited him for allowing his dogs to be off leash. Witnesses claim he put both dogs on leash and complied with her request for personal identification. Yet, the ranger tased Hesterberg in the back as he walked away.
GGNRA officials claim he gave false information and attempted to leave despite the ranger asking that he remain at the scene while she did a background check. Area dog lovers are outraged at the ranger's seemingly disproportionate actions. Congresswomen Jackie Speier, DogPAC of San Francisco, and other dog advocacy groups, are demanding an independent investigation.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Los Angeles city council votes to create a barking limit
Often times, I wake up during the night to the sound of my neighbor’s dog barking. Sometimes it’s accompanied by said neighbor yelling at the dog to be quiet. This almost never works, but it can be self-rewarding in the moment to the person, and unfortunately the dog. I have Shelties, so I know from personal experience!
A neighboring town has a barking limit that they recently put in place (ten minutes during the day and five minutes after 10 p.m.), but my city does not. However, other places are starting to follow suit.
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council approved an ordinance amendment that clarifies their guidelines for barking dogs. A violation is now defined as a dog barking continuously for ten minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes in a three-hour period. The plan has to be passed by the mayor before it’s put into action.
Barking ordinances can be good and bad news for pets. If they’re loosely defined, it can make it harder to weed out the legitimate cases. Some dogs may be unfairly targeted by people who don’t like pets or are feeling vengeful towards a neighbor.
But if the ordinance is well defined, like the proposed amendment in Los Angeles, it can protect well behaved dogs and preserve resources, such as off-leash runs and pet-friendly apartments. What’s nice about Los Angeles’ ordinance is that all complaints will be handled on a case-by-case basis through the hearing process.
I would love it if the ordinance required offenders to meet with a dog trainer or behavior counselor. People may find barking annoying, but we should never forget that dogs bark for a reason.
What do you think about barking ordinances?
News: Guest Posts
Shelby voted leader of Denver protest
The Occupy movement can be divisive, even among its supporters, but the Denver crew of Occupiers have agreed on one thing: They have a leader—a Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix named Shelby.
On Sunday night, an assembly of Occupy Denver protesters voted in three-year-old Shelby as their new boss. She accepted the mantle with good grace and set about her first task, an early evening nap.
Then, on Tuesday, Occupiers sat in at Colorado governor John Hickenlooper’s office, requesting a future meeting with him on Shelby’s behalf. The list of her concerns included unemployment rates, government spending, and budgets for law enforcement and education. There’s no word yet from the Governor’s office on setting up a meeting.
Shelby’s been visiting the Occupy camp in downtown Denver every other day for about a month with her owner, Boulder resident Peter John Jentsch. (He calls himself her “bodyguard.”) Shelby refuses to talk about her political leanings, but Jentsch says she’s an independent voter.
Jentsch recognizes that, as a canine citizen, Shelby’s a little impartial. “She has yet to come by herself,” he told Denver’s Westword, “so she’s only as passionate as I am.”
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
San Francisco looks to create dog walking standards
Dog walkers are a necessity for pets in busy cities where people work long hours. I know many great walkers who are knowledgeable about canine behavior and limit the number of dogs they walk. But any dog lover in New York will tell you about the irresponsible ones who overtake the dog runs with too many pups.
A bill was announced last week at the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco that targets these dog walkers. The legislation, introduced by Scott Weiner, will require dog walkers to have a permit, receive animal control training, ensure that their vehicle is safe for transporting animals, ensure that the dogs they walk are licensed and limit the number of dogs walked at any given time. The bill was created with input of the SPCA and local dog walkers.
Dog walkers would be limited to seven dogs at any given time, which still seems like way too many. When I walk my dogs in Manhattan, not only do I have to watch each of them, I also have to keep track of any potential hazards, like spoiled food on the sidewalk or unfriendly dogs approaching. I can't imagine watching seven dogs, plus keeping an eye out for everything around us.
What do you think about regulations for dog walkers?
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Even well identified pets are at risk
The recent increase in pet theft has hit close to home as there have been several dog kidnappings in my area this summer.
Some are straightforward, like Matsu, the Yorkshire Terrier who was stolen when he was tied outside of a deli. Others are a little more complicated.
A few weeks ago, Kumiko Masaoka and Michael Reinhardt were at a Brooklyn park with their West Highland Terrier, Winston, when the pup was spooked and ran off. They did all the right things--searched the area, contacted animal shelters and veterinarians, posted flyers, and informed the microchip company.
The next day the couple was put in contact with a girl who found Winston and handed him over to a police officer. Unfortunately, the police officer ended up giving the dog to another family (it's still in dispute whether the family tried to claim Winston or if the police offered him to the family).
Thankfully Winston has since been returned, but this story just goes to show that even a dog with proper identification can easily end up in the wrong hands.
When we lose a pet, our natural inclination is to contact animal shelters and veterinarian offices, but “non-pet people” may not think to go to these places. For many, the police seems like a natural fist resource, as in Winston's case. But police don't typically deal with lost animals, so they may not know the proper protocol, such as checking for a microchip or verifying the identify of someone claiming a pet.
As dog theft increases, it's important for key members of the community, like the police, to get training on how to handle lost and stolen pets. Additionally, it's probably a good idea to check with your local precinct if you're looking for a lost dog.
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