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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Proposed Ban on Dogs
An Iranian bill threatens to make pets illegal

Can you imagine a world without dogs? I can't, but dog lovers in Iran are faced with this very dilemma.

The Iranian government has long considered pet dogs to be an un-Islamic vice. In the past, it was not unheard of for police to confiscate dogs being walked down the street and for the government to lecture Iranians on diseases spread by canines. Eventually the crackdowns were relaxed and beloved pets were left alone.

Unfortunately, these days may soon be over if lawmakers in Tehran have their way. Recently, a bill was proposed that would make dog ownership a crime, citing canines as a public health hazard and ”a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the West."

Under the legislation, dogs would be confiscated and offenders would face a $100–$500 fine. This is bad news for pets. There are several thousand dogs in Tehran alone and its uncertain what would happen to them under this law.

Iranian dog lovers are in a difficult predicament since these types of bans are rooted in political tension. Since Islam considers dogs “unclean,” in the past, they were rarely kept as pets. This changed in the last 15 years with the rise of an urban middle class that has taken on a lot of Western culture.

I can't even imagine what I would do in this situation. For most people, moving out of the country may not be an option. Unfortunately, in a country where Westernized hairstyles and cropped pants are banned, fighting the dog bill could be a losing battle.

What would you do in a world without dogs?

News: Guest Posts
Tails Are Wagging for Carol Guzy
Dog-loving photographer wins fourth Pulitzer Prize

We’re so proud—but not surprised—that occasional Bark contributor and certified dog lover Carol Guzy won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography this week. Guzy earned the honor, along with fellow Washington Post shooters Nikki Kahn and Ricky Carioti, for up-close portraits of grief and desperation after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. This is Guzy’s fourth Pulitzer, which makes her the first-ever four-time winner.

 

UPDATE!: Check out our gallery of Carol Guzy's shots from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and her story for Bark (February 2007) on the opening of the Washington D.C. Animal Rescue League shelter.

SECOND UPDATE!: You can also read Carol Guzy's heartwarming article about Washington, D.C.'s Washington Animal Rescue League, "A Place of Dignity," published in the January/February 2007 issue of The Bark.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog Finds Fossils Of Giant Animals
Tortoise and woolly mammoth among discoveries

Webster the Chihuahua-Dachshund mix didn’t listen when Frank Garcia kept calling him to come, and Garcia is now grateful for that. They were fossil hunting together when Webster became interested in a particular area and refused to come away from it. When Garcia investigated it, he found the fossilized remains of giant tortoise shells, elephant teeth, and the skull of a woolly mammoth.

  The site is one of the most important giant tortoise fossil sites in the world, with the shells found in much larger quantities than in most places. Garcia has named the area “Webster’s Site” in recognition of the fact that Webster made the find. The tortoise shells there are relatives of the Galapagos Tortoise, only bigger. Once the fossils were reassembled, one tortoise was 51 inches long, 42 inches wide and 21 inches long. It probably weighed 700 to 800 pounds when alive.   Webster and Garcia often go on outings together. Though he is disabled and must drag himself around, Webster enjoys the fossil hunting. It turns out, he’s pretty good at it, too.

 

News: Guest Posts
Dachshund Survives for Weeks Inside Burned Down House
Miracle pup Lola is on the mend

The miracle dog of Boston who survived for nearly a month inside the charred ruins of her owner’s burned down home is expected to make a full recovery.

  Terisa Acevedo found Lola, her one-year-old longhaired dachshund, on Monday when she returned to her fire-ravaged duplex to silence the alarm on a Ford Explorer she’d left parked in the driveway.   “I was standing on the porch and I heard Lola scratching on the door,” Acevedo told Bark. “My boyfriend was with me and he pried the wood off the front door. When I saw her, I fell to my knees and started screaming and crying. I was so happy.”   Acevedo wasn’t home when the February 23 blaze engulfed her duplex, which is located in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood. When she arrived, the 24-year-old emergency medical technician (EMT) asked firefighters if they’d seen her dog. They hadn’t.   “A couple days after the fire, police officers took sniffing dogs through the house and they didn’t pick up (the scent of) any remains of animals,” Acevedo said. “I thought Lola had run away. I made flyers and gave them to all the vets in the area and posted them all over Hyde Park.”   Acevedo also went back to the duplex several times, but never found any signs of the tiny dachshund.   “I cried for her every day,” Acevedo said. “I was so devastated. But I never gave up hope.”   Acevedo’s tears of sadness turned to joy on Monday when she discovered the much thinner Lola trapped inside the remains of her fire-damaged home. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said.   Veterinarians at Boston’s Angell Animal Medical Center, who treated the malnourished and dehydrated dachshund, released the “incredibly lucky” pooch on Thursday afternoon.   “She’d lost a tremendous amount of weight when she came here on Monday,” spokesman Brian Adams said. “She might not have survived much longer. But she’s a trooper, a true survivor. And her story of survival is simply amazing.”   Lola, however, still has one more health issue to overcome. Veterinarians discovered she had a condition called refeeding syndrome.   “If she was fed too quickly or improperly she could face life-threatening results,” Adams said. “She was given her first bit of food on Wednesday and will remain on a restricted diet at home. She will receive 16 grams of wet food, which is the equivalent to one teaspoon, every six hours as her body once again becomes accustomed to nourishment.”   Acevedo is confident that her best friend will make a complete recovery. “She’ll be okay,” she said. “She’s playful like always. She’s still Lola.”   But how did the little dog survive this ordeal? What did she do for food and water? “The police investigators said there was a refrigerator on the other side of the duplex that tipped over during the fire,” Acevedo said. “They think maybe she ran over there looking for food. They saw some chicken by that refrigerator. She might have eaten some cat food, too.”   What about water? “It might have come from the firemen who were trying to put out the fire,” Acevedo said. “The house was soaked.”   Acevedo hopes Lola’s story of survival will inspire others who’ve lost a pet. “Don’t give up hope when times are rough or when you’re down,” she said. “You just never know what will happen.   “I’m just so happy and excited that’s she’s here…next to me. And now I don’t plan to let her out of my sight.”

 

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?

 

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