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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Guardian Billed For Damages After Dog Killed By Car
Insurance company later backed down

When Tom Wrynn’s 8-year old Lab Mystie was hit and killed by a car last month, his view was that it was a sad accident. Mystie ran in front of the car on a dark night, and her black coat made her difficult or impossible to see. The driver of the car was in tears, and he consoled her, telling her that it was dark and hard to see and it was not her fault. (The Wrynn family still has Mystie’s daughter Zeta and I hope they have taken steps to keep her from running out into the road. Accidents involving dogs being hit by cars happen all too often, and prevention can save dogs’ lives.)

  Not long after Mystie was killed, the family received a letter from Plymouth Rock, the driver’s insurance company, saying that the dog caused the accident and that Wrynn was liable for the damages. The insurance company included a picture of the car, an estimate for repairing it and a bill for $738.13. According to Massachusetts state law, Wrynn is responsible for paying for the damage because the dog caused the accident.   Though it may not be considered a parallel situation legally, I can’t help but compare this to accidents involved people being hit and killed by cars. It’s hard to stomach the thought of a parent or other relative being held financially responsible for damages if the cause of the accident had been a child, someone who is elderly person or any other person.   The insurance company later issued a statement saying that after re-examining the case, they decided to take back their request for Wrynn to pay.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Mark Zuckerberg Has a New Puli
Beast has his own Facebook profile

The CEO and founder of Facebook has a new buddy—Mark Zuckerberg brought home a Puli this past weekend. The new pup is named Beast and has his own Facebook page. Beast has more than 23,000 fans already, with more being added every hour.

 

Beast’s Facebook page tells us that he likes “cuddling, loving and eating” and that though he was born in Grants Pass, Ore., he is a type of Hungarian Sheepdog. He has recently learned to climb the stairs.   Press reports have ranged from congratulatory to cynical, suggesting that Zuckerberg only got a dog to soften his public image. Photos of Beast with Zuckerberg and his girlfriend show him to be fluffy and photogenic and suggest that Beast is receiving a lot of loving and attention.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Proposal Threatens Canine Park Access in California
NPS study aims to restrict dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

I’m always looking for good off leash areas for my dogs, but they are becoming harder and harder to find. Unfortunately, a few irresponsible people usually ruin privileges for the rest of us. 

America’s National Parks are some of the most beautiful places in the country, but most are off limits to dogs. There are a few that allow pets on leash, but even then they are usually restricted to a few areas. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the most dog friendly National Parks and is the only one that allows off-leash dogs. However, that may soon change.

Earlier this year, the National Park Service released a draft of their Environmental Impact Statement for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The study found that dogs are messy and disruptive to wildlife, and makes recommendations on where pets should be allowed in the park, if at all. The proposal restricts off leash play to seven small areas and would require dogs to be leashed or banned in all other parts of the park.

A draft of the statement was posted in January and the public has until May 29 to offer their opinions online or at a series of public meetings. Even if you’re not local, the ruling for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area could influence off leash restrictions in other parts of the country.

I would encourage all dog lovers to speak out to ensure that both humans and canines can enjoy our National Parks.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dolphins Save Dog From Drowning
Doberman exhausted but safe

An 11-year old Doberman named Turbo escaped from his yard and was missing for 15 hours, much of which he may have spent struggling not to drown in a canal near his home in Marco Island, Fla. During his absence, his family searched for him throughout the streets near their home, but never thought to check in the water.

  Turbo owes his life to two dolphins that apparently stayed with him in the canal and assisted him. The dolphins’ splashing and thrashing made so much noise that a neighbor on his boat was alerted and spotted the dog, who was clearly struggling. The man called 911 and his wife jumped in to the canal to assist the dog. When firefighters arrived, they pulled the dog to safety.   Turbo is absolutely fine, though he was exhausted from his ordeal. Once Turbo was safely out of the water, the dolphins swam away. Dolphins are well known for their habits of being helpers at sea. Many people have been prevented from drowning by dolphins, and now Turbo has joined that club, too.
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Breed Specific Adoption Incentives
N.Y. town provides financial reward for Pit Bulls

Sometimes it seems like as much as 90 percent of the dogs at my local animal shelter are Pit Bulls. Unfortunately this stigmatized breed is often the last to be adopted because of the bad publicity they get.

The Brookhaven Animal Shelter in New York has been overwhelmed with Pit Bulls in recent years. Currently they have 140 available for adoption, far more than they can realistically adopt out.

Because of the shelter’s overpopulation problem, town officials have teamed up with Help the Animals Fund Inc. to create the Brookhaven Bully Alliance. The program will pay other shelters and rescue organizations $250 for each Pit Bull or Pit Bull mix they take out of Brookhaven’s shelter and commit to placing in a forever home.

I think it’s great that Brookhaven is dedicating money to getting Pit Bulls out of their shelter, though in some ways they’re just shifting the dogs around. Certainly moving Pit Bulls to new shelters or rescue groups may lead to their adoption, but the Brookhaven Bully Alliance program doesn’t get at the root of the problem—improving the Pit Bull’s reputation and promoting responsible ownership. Instead, I’d love to see the money go towards positive Pit Bull PR, responsible ownership education, or a crackdown on dog fighting.

What do you think would help Brookhaven's Pit Bull overpopulation problem?

News: Guest Posts
Sled Dog Massacre
British Columbia tour company kills 100 dogs

As most of you who read this blog regularly know, I have a rescue sled dog. So I have a special fondness of these working dogs of the north, but it doesn’t take any special kinship to be sickened by the story of 100 sled dogs slaughtered in British Columbia, Canada. According to the story posted on HuffPo, a tour company near Whistler ordered the killing of 100 of its 300 dogs due to a downturn in the economy.

  I understand that times are tough but did they try to place the dogs with other families, mushers even? Shouldn’t that be required of companies that make their money on the backs of dogs? I learned a lot about the dark side of sled dog ownership researching a story on a woman who rehabilitates sled dogs in Fairbanks. And I’m not saying every musher is cruel or even that most are cruel, but there are plenty who see dogs as machines and treat them accordingly. Add to that the profit motive and things get really sticky.   I also know that sometimes killing an animal is better than abandonment, but abandonment shouldn’t be an option. And if the reported details of these killings are accurate—some dogs “were repeatedly shot and had their throats slashed before being dumped into a mass grave,” others were tossed into the grave while still alive—it's a simple case of extreme cruelty and should be treated as a serious crime.   Meanwhile, the role of mushing for entertainment has to be examined. Can it be pursued humanely? How do we ensure the dogs are kept safe? What do you think?

 

News: Guest Posts
Jack LaLanne, Early Raw Food Devotee
Old TV show video reveals Happy's diet

I was saddened to read that fitness visionary Jack LaLanne died over the weekend—at the impressive age of 96. Even though I wasn’t really his target audience (housewives), I loved his exercise-in-your-living-room program, and one of my favorite aspects of the show was Happy, a sleek, sweet German Shepherd.

Reading about LaLanne over the past few days, I discovered he was a pioneer of more than fitness and juicing; he was an early raw-food-for-dogs advocate. Check out this clip where Happy struts his stuff and LaLanne reveals that his dog eats 6 pounds of raw meat a day. It’s another great example where healthy dog equals healthy owner.

Thanks Jack for being such a fine example of living healthy and taking great care of your dog—way before it was cool. Oh, and thanks for rocking that jumpsuit!

News: Guest Posts
Risks of Board and Train
Alleged animal abuse against dog trainer

When Californian Regina Collins picked up her 12-week-old puppy, Chance, after being boarded and trained at Ridley K9 Academy, he was afraid to come to her. She demanded that owner/trainer Garrett Ridley tell her what he had done to her puppy; she was informed that she shouldn't approach him because he was "in trouble."

A vet examination revealed that Chance was covered in urine, dehydrated, and his eyes were hemoraging. The latter is usually caused by being restrained at the neck or high pressure around the neck.

This is why it's so important to interview potential boarding facilities. What kind of training methods do they use? Can they give you client references? Ask to tour the facility and see the staff engaged with the dogs. How are the dogs responding? Do they seem relaxed, stressed, scared?

Of course, if you are not welcome to visit behind the scenes, you are better off boarding elsewhere. Better yet, find a petsitter so your dog can relax in familiar surroundings and take a training class with your dog when you return so you can both learn and strengthen your bond.
 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Chihuahua Survives Owl Attack
His winter coat may have saved him

Chico the Chihuahua survived an attack by a great horned owl. In one sense, he was very lucky because a four-pound dog is easy prey for large owls that are capable of killing and eating much larger animals, such as skunks and raccoons. On the other hand, Chico was unlucky, because owls are usually deterred from attacking small dogs by the frightening presence of a human, and Chico’s guardian was right there with him during the attack.

  George Kalomiris was walking Chico on leash when the owl swooped down and attempted to grab Chico. Kalomiris reports that he yelled and lunged at the owl, which had gotten tangled in Chico’s leash. After a few seconds, the owl flew off—without Chico.   Chico was treated by a veterinarian for a puncture wound that was, remarkably, enough, superficial. In all likelihood, the winter coat that Chico was wearing saved his life. It prevented the owl from getting a good grip on the dog. George’s wife Dana said, “Now I feel vindicated for buying dog clothes.”   Have you had a dog who was threatened or injured by a wild animal?

 

News: Guest Posts
Bo Obama’s Trainer Dies
Champion for positive-reinforcement, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz will be missed

Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, 52, who trained dogs for the late senator Edward M. Kennedy and trained first dog Bo (known to her as Charlie) before he went to live in the White House, died Jan. 12 in Virginia. According to The Washington Post, she had been leading dog training classes days before her death. After being admitted to the hospital, for reasons that were not stated in the obituary, she went into a coma and died of respiratory distress.

  A champion of positive-reinforcement training methods, many of which she detailed in her book, The Love That Dog Training Program (written with Larry Kay), Sylvia-Stasiewicz will be missed by all of those who have been touched by her message of loving and respecting dogs, and teaching them as we would our children.   In a recent interview with Bark, Sylvia-Stasiewicz was asked why training mattered. Her answer stuck with me: “Training opens up communication; it’s a language that helps our dog understand us, and vice versa,” she said. It’s a true sentiment beautifully and simply expressed. We train not simply to keep our dogs off the couch but to develop our relationship with them.   Bark interviewed Sylvia-Stasiewicz shortly before she died. That interview, which will appear in our February issue and in a longer form online, was apparently her last. Dawn’s family has requested that tax-deductible contributions be made to the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Foundation to further her work in researching, developing and promoting best practices in positive reinforcement dog training. Dawn’s mentor and APDT Founder, Dr. Ian Dunbar, is presiding over the fund.   Details on a memorial and opportunities to pay tribute can be found at lovethatdogbook.com.

 

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