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News: Guest Posts
National Dog Day
Celebrating canines, August 26

Thursday is National Dog Day, which was founded in 2004 to acknowledge all the dogs who “work selflessly each day to save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort.” Even if you’re naturally cranky like me and resent being told you need to show your appreciation on a particular day, it’s hard to argue with the fundamental idea that dogs give us a great deal and deserve our best in return.

  I’m willing to set aside my fundamental belief that dogs—just like mothers, fathers, grandparents, lovers, etc.—should enjoy special treats and praise daily to get behind the National Dog Day mission: supporting shelters and rescues, promoting adoption and saying no breed bans.   Among the celebration suggestions on the official National Dog Day website are parties, treats, a day lazing on a new bed (ugh!), and dressing up in patriotic attire (huh?). I think we can do better than that. How about committing ourselves to mastering some new tricks? Kicking off a more active regime? Volunteering for an animal welfare organization or making a donation? Launching a new strategy for helping animals? Reading a book about canine massage? Signing up for an organized activity, such as agility or Nose Work? With the right attitude, we can keep this from being another Valentine’s Day. Improving the health of our own dogs and reaching out to help dogs-in-need is a better investment than a box of chocolates or cut flowers (not that I’d refuse either).   Do you have plans for National Dog Day? Look for our National Dog Day poll this week on Bark’s Facebook page.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Stolen Dog
Son of deployed soldier is devastated

Sometimes you read a story that warms the cockles of your heart. Other times the overheating you feel stems more from rage or disgust. Such was my experience when I learned that a 10-year old boy’s new puppy had been stolen from his yard. Cameron’s Dad had given him the puppy, whose name is Caleb, before he deployed to Afghanistan. The meanies who took it did so on the actual day that he left for his yearlong deployment.

  The thieves came into the yard, supposedly to pet the dog, and then grabbed him and took him away in their car. Obviously, taking someone’s dog is a horrible thing to do, and under any circumstances people will be left upset and angry. But to have someone steal your dog the day your Dad leaves for a year is especially awful, and as a mother myself, the thought of such pain for my children is unbearable.   I hope that Cameron gets his dog back, that his Dad returns home safely, and that the thieves get what they deserve.  

 

News: Guest Posts
Baghdad’s Strays
Increasing numbers good news?

A disturbing piece of news caught my attention today: A recent campaign to kill some of the estimated 1.25 million strays (by shooting and poisoning) that roam Baghdad streets is seen as a sign that conditions in the city are improving.

  Sandy Smith at Huliq.com writes: “The dog control campaign is at once a part of local efforts to return Baghdad to normalcy seven years after the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and a sign that conditions in the city have improved significantly. With more local residents now moving around normally, open-air markets have revived in the city, providing stray dogs with a source of food. With food once again plentiful, the dogs are having bigger litters, thus causing the population surge.”   As many as 58,000 dogs were killed in three months. It boggles the mind. How can good news for the people be bad news, ultimately, for the dogs? I only hope conditions continue to improve so that more humane “population control” strategies can prevail in the future.

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Cash Found in Poop
Ever find anything interesting when scooping?

Last month, an honest professional pooper scooper gained media attention for returning money left behind by a client’s dog. Steve Wilson was working at Karen Linn's house and found $58 in bills entwined in a pile of poop. The DoodyCalls Pet Waste removal worker promptly cleaned the bills and returned them to Linn. She offered Wilson a reward, which he declined, so in honor of her adopted pup, Fozzie, Linn decided to auction the bills on eBay to benefit the Humane Society of the United States.

According to the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (APAWS), Wilson is the first pooper scooper to ever find and report cash in dog poop (at least the first to gain media attention anyway).

Ever since dogs entered my life, I find that I spend a lot of time looking at the ground. When you scoop poop on a regular basis you end up finding lots of random items this way. While walking the dogs one March, I once found a friend’s spare set of keys that had been unknowingly lost for months under the melting snow. 

As for the poop itself, I usually inspect my dogs’ since it can be a good indicator of health, and I often end up finding pieces of missing household items like sponges and socks. I have yet to find anything valuable, which is a good thing!

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve found when scooping dog poop?

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.  

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
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).

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
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?  

 

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