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News: Editors
Maker of Special Dog Films
Remembering Robert Radnitz

The quiet passing of Robert Radnitz last week, a onetime English teacher turned movie producer should not go unnoticed. Radnitz is responsible for two fine films that prominently featured dogs—A Dog of Flanders and Sounder. With the release of his first film, A Dog of Flanders in 1959, Mr. Radnitz established his reputation as a maker of high-quality movies for children and their parents. Based on the venerable novel by Ouida, the bittersweet story of a poor Flemish boy and an abandoned dog is a classic tale of adversity, a theme that would appear often in the producer’s films. Radnitz’s greatest success was his production of Sounder in 1972, directed by Martin Ritt, and nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Screenplay, Best Actor (Paul Winfield) and Actress (Cicely Tyson). By today’s standards, Sounder may appear a tad sentimental in portraying the harshness of the subject matter—the cruel racism of 1930s American South—but the film introduced mature subject matter, intelligently and compassionately, to a young audience. I remember seeing it as a young boy in my local movie theater and being moved and angered by the injustice the film depicted. Radnitz went on to produce many films, including Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of the Mountain, Where Lilies Bloom, among others. As part of a joint resolution by the U.S. Congress honoring his work, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas paid him this tribute, “The films Robert Radnitz has produced touch the common thread of humanity and that’s why he’s made such a great and glorious contribution to the thing that makes our society a viable, living, vibrant whole.”

  Robert Radnitz passed away at the age of 85, Sunday night, June 6, at his Malibu home, surrounded by his devoted wife Pearl and his beloved dogs, Coco, Junior and Rosebud.  

 

News: Karen B. London
Raccoon Attacks Woman and Dog
Rabid animals pose danger

When wild animals attack people and dogs, it can be a sign that they are rabid. Rabies affects the behavior of animals including raccoons, skunks and foxes. One of the signs of rabies across species is a tendency to bite without provocation. A couple in Georgia found out for themselves how scary an attack by a potentially rabid animal can be when a raccoon attacked them and their puppy. The man knocked the raccoon out with a stick when it grabbed their puppy’s head. The woman has now gone through the painful rabies treatment and their dog had to be quarantined for 10 days.

  Where I live, in Flagstaff, Ariz., efforts are underway to vaccinate wild animals against rabies with edible packets of vaccine. In order to make sure that these vaccines are consumed by wild animals rather than by pets, there is a pet quarantine in effect for the next couple of weeks. Dogs and cats are required to be either confined indoors or kept on a leash of six feet or less.   Have you or your dogs had a run-in with a wild animal acting in an unusual way?    

 

News: Guest Posts
Find Toto
Locating missing pets with “Amber-style” alerts

This morning when I returned home after walking my dogs, I had a voice mail. A recorded message informed me that my neighbor, Crystalyn, had lost her dog Raider. The shy, black Labrador Retriever wearing a blue collar with tags had wandered off on May 15. The message provided a number to contact if I had information and directed me to FindToto.org to learn more.

Sadly, I haven’t seen Raider but I visited FindToto.com because it sounded pretty ingenious. And it is. If your dog goes missing, you go online, provide information about the dog’s disappearance, a physical description, a photo, if you have it, and payment. The service sends out recorded phone alerts to residents in the area where your dog disappeared. (BTW, FindToto.org is where you search out specific missing dog information; FindToto.com is where you learn about and sign up for service.) Find Toto director of public relations Colleen Busch told the Yuma Sun that the company can make 5,000 calls in 45 minutes. You can’t create, print out and post fliers that quickly. Of course, it ain’t cheap. Calling 250 neighbors can run $85; calls to 5,000 neighbors runs $495. Still it’s hard to argue with success stories.

News: Guest Posts
John Travolta’s Dogs Killed
Tragic accident under investigation

It's been a little over a year since actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston lost their 16-year-old son, Jett. Last week, the family's plane landed at Bangor International Airport in Maine. Someone who was not a family member was leash walking the couple's two small dogs when an airport service truck hit and killed the celebrity canines. The airport is investigating the accident. Although the Travoltas have not publicly commented on the loss of their pets, they did announce today that 47-year-old Preston is pregnant with their third child.  

News: Guest Posts
Celebrating Peter Urban
Bark contributor to be honored this weekend

This weekend the life and work of photographer Peter Urban will be celebrated in Boston (details below). Urban may be best known to Bark readers for his contributions to our pages, illustrating stories about working Beagles at Logan Airport, Border Collies on a Massachusetts farm, clicker-training pioneer Karen Pryor and more. He died last September at the age of 61.

  “Peter’s work always captured the hopeful, knowing side of people. His photographs always made the articles better, more insightful,” says Cameron Woo, Bark’s creative director.   A Boston-based photographer, Urban shot everything from revealing portraits to elegant architectural studies for newspapers, including The Boston Globe, magazines, and commercial and nonprofit clients. For us, of course, he added pups to the mix with delightful results, in part, because he was a dog guy.   In a recent email, Urban’s life partner, Steve McCarthy, shared a little slice of their life with dogs. He wrote: “When I met Peter we both had dogs. Mine was Sophie, a Golden Retriever, and Peter’s was Sammy, a Chow. The dogs got along famously and when we would play with them it was truly funny. Sophie was great at catching tennis balls, Sammy not so much. However, when he saw what Sophie was doing he would try his best to catch the balls, too. When we tossed it to him it usually bounced off his head. Peter would call Sammy over and make like he was going to throw the ball. Sammy would stand on his hind legs, mouth wide open. Peter would drop the ball into Sammy’s open mouth. That’s the only way he could catch the ball, but once he did he would run around with the ball in his mouth so proud that he had caught it.”   Friends and family honor Peter Urban’s memory and contributions this weekend with the Peter Urban Memorial Hall Dedication (Friday, May 14, 5:30-7:30 p.m.) and a retrospective exhibit (Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.) at The Bates Art Center (731 Harrison Avenue, Boston).

 

News: Karen B. London
Dog Rescued From Recliner
Isn’t it cats who have nine lives?

Firefighters in Naperville, IL were called in for one of their strangest rescues ever. A small dog was caught inside a reclining chair, which seems to have caused the electronic controls to cease working. In order to get him out, firefighters sawed apart the chair.

  A nurse’s aide had kept the dog alive until rescuers arrived by hanging on the chair enough to relieve some of the pressure on the dog and allow him to breathe. The dog, Ebonyser, did sustain some nerve damage, but is expected to be fine. Painkillers are helping the terrier sleep and heal.   This was an unlucky accident, but fortunately quick thinking and quick action helped Ebonyser survive. Do you know of a dog who lived through an odd incident?  

 

News: JoAnna Lou
Danger in the Driveway
Basketball hoops may contain deadly antifreeze

A friend recently e-mailed me about a German Shorthaired Pointer who died from ingesting antifreeze. Being animal lovers, the family had always been careful not to keep the toxic liquid around the house. 

Determined to find the source, they soon discovered that the antifreeze came from a portable basketball hoop in their driveway. Following the instruction manual, the previous owners had put antifreeze in the base to prevent the water, which weighs down the hoop, from freezing during the winter months. Small holes in the top of the base allowed some of the antifreeze to leak out.

I was shocked to learn about this potential danger, particularly since portable basketball hoops are so popular. There are several on my street alone, although I don’t know if they contain antifreeze or not. 

As an alternative to the mixture of water and antifreeze, the ASPCA recommends filling bases with sand. They also caution the use of so called non-toxic antifreeze, as these liquids have the potential to cause gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression, and death from respertory failure. 

I know I will be more mindful of basketball hoops when walking around the neighborhood and visiting friends.

News: Karen B. London
Animal Behavior Associates
I love this blog!

Joanna Lou’s recent blog about a conference of dog bloggers was timely, especially since she asked readers to identify their favorite dog blogs.

  There’s a blog I really love that I’m thrilled is now incluced in The Bark’s blogroll. Let me introduce to you the Animal Behavior Associates' Dog and Cat Behavior Blog, written by Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists Dan Estep, PhD and Suzanne Hetts, PhD, who were recently included in The Bark’s 100 Best and Brightest in the dog world.   The Animal Behavior Associates blog stands out from the many blogs out there because it consistently shares accurate, useful, scientifically-based information about dog behavior and behavior problems in dogs. It also has excellent information about cat behavior and cat behavior problems, and though I realize that may not be as relevant to all Bark readers, it will certainly be a welcome source of information to the many dog people who also have cats.   Check it out and prepare to enjoy reading and learning from it.

 

News: Guest Posts
Flower Finds A Home
A match for another Bark cover puppy

More good news for our Bark (April/May 2010) cover puppies, the third of four foster dogs, Flower, has landed a home in Davis, Calif. (Read our update on Ladybug and Candace. New photo of Candace’s adopted pack above.) Now only Edgar (far right on the cover) needs a home.

  For anyone who might consider adopting Edgar, who is reportedly lonely without his littermates, Ladybug’s adopter, Paige Davidge, has this to report about the new addition to her family: “Ladybug is so sweet. She is very loving. It has been such a great experience adopting a rescue dog. Ladybug goes to the vet on Friday. She has healed up nicely from her surgery. We couldn’t have timed getting Ladybug any better. We get to start puppy classes Wednesday. She loves to run in the backyard. We are so looking forward to spring. She will be quite confused by the time summer comes: One day it is nice and the next it is snowing. It is so typical for up here. She is doing well with her kennel. She listens really well. We love her so much. I will send more pictures later. I think she has already grown.”

 

News: Guest Posts
Painted Dogs
Will wild dogs by another name smell sweeter?

Not long ago I went to a networking event for writers where one of my younger colleagues asked me about my brand. My brand? I hadn’t really thought of myself as needing a label, and from the sound of it, I am very much mistaken. The savvy wordsmith handed me three distinct business cards—each reflecting a certain niche. And I could see the logic of her sell. In these tough times, image management may be a key to success for writers.

 

Writers aren’t the only creatures that can benefit from better branding. A new name may be key to saving endangered African wild dogs. According to Nicholas D. Kristof’s column in today’s New York Times, a conservationist in Zimbabwe is rebranding the misunderstood and unloved predators as “painted dogs.” The new name is just exotic and poetic enough it could improve the dogs’ conservation odds. With only a few thousand left in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa, let’s hope it works.

 

Oh, and before you go imagining your Catahoula Leopard Dog is related. Kristof explains that while dogs split from wolves in the last 30,000 years. Wild dogs shared a common ancestor with wolves about six million years ago.

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