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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
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.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
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.

News: Guest Posts
Fab Four Update
Two of our April cover dogs go home

Have you been wondering about the fate of the quartet of delectable foster puppies on the cover of The Bark (Apr/May 2010)? We checked in with Julie Duarte, who has been fostering the pups in northern California, to see what’s haps with Flower, Candace, Ladybug and Edgar. Here’s the news from Julie:

 

Ladybug’s new owners absolutely adore her! When they came down, in between snowstorms, to pick her up, they brought a baby receiving blanket that was one of their two sons’ when they were first brought home from the hospital. I was so touched by that. She has adapted to her new home very well, and their old Labrador even likes her. They make a pack of three, Ladybug, a Lab and a Mini-Schnauzer—plus, of course, two boys, Taylor and Alexander.

 

Candace is being picked up tomorrow to go to her new home. So today she will get her bath, toenails trimmed, puppy starter pack and records all together. Her new family is taking a month off work to acclimate Candace to her new surroundings.

 

The two remaining pups, Flower and Edgar are still patiently awaiting adoption by their own wonderful families. Meanwhile, they are entertained on the property here with the German Shorthaired and Wirehaired Pointers, goats and horses.

 

I had a very nice family come to visit one of my older Terrier-mix females from a high-kill shelter, in fact the same shelter the pups are from. Rugby is a very sweet, laid-back one-year-old female with a mostly short coat. They decided they did not want to deal with her hair ... and asked if they could adopt Flower instead. I declined, because I told them it is about acceptance with owning dogs: If it’s not the hair you are worried about, it will be she drooled on you, came in the house with muddy feet, or, oh my gosh, gets sick on the living room floor!

 

I need to adopt dogs to families that are really intending to give these pups unconditional love and a home for the rest of their lives. I did not feel their goals met my expectations. That is OK. We will keep interviewing; there are some terrific homes out there for these well-behaved, beautiful puppies!

 

 

Interested in providing a great home for Flower or Edgar? Contact Julie Duarte at gsprescue@aol.com.

News: Guest Posts
Get Your Puppy Fix
And learn about Best Friends’ new care center

Best Friends Animal Society in southern Utah celebrated the grand opening of Val’s Puppy Care Center on March 25, 2010. Congratulations Best Friends and all you lucky puppies! (Oh, also check out the "cute puppy pile-up"--so sweet, your teeth will hurt.)

News: Guest Posts
Tater Tot Home Safe
About 100 people searched for car-wreck runaway

Isn’t it a little weird that in the CBS 42 report on the heartwarming story of Tater Tot’s reunion with her family—the six-year-old Golden Lab who was found days after escaping from a car in a rollover accident in New Hampshire—the reporter never once tell us the condition of the human driver, even after showing a gnarly photo of the smashed-in car? (Watch the video here.) I’m thrilled for Tater (who injured two of her legs), her buddy Buddy and owner John Dale—but I think the human is worth a nod as well. According to the Manchester Union Leader, the driver Trish Dale suffered a concussion and a broken nose but was well enough to celebrate Tater Tot’s rescue.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Legally Reducing Dog Attacks
Britain proposes mandatory microchips and liability insurance

Earlier this month, the British government announced a proposal that would require people to buy microchips and liability insurance for their pups. With dog attack lawsuits on the rise, the British government hopes that microchips will help match dangerous dogs to the people responsible for them and that insurance will ensure that victims can be compensated.

People who oppose the new proposal say that the requirement would be the equivalent of a “dog tax,” punishing responsible pet lovers and reducing the number of families for homeless pups. Others are worried about breed discrimination, with insurance premiums skyrocketing for bully breeds.

I’m all for mandatory microchipping, since it’s relatively inexpensive and helps bring lost pets home, but liability insurance can get pricey, particularly for those with multiple dogs. I’d hate to think that responsible pet lovers would be forced to cut back on other expenses, like buying quality food, to afford monthly insurance premiums. 

Microchips and insurance may make it easier to identify irresponsible people, but it’s misguided to think it’s going to reduce the danger of aggressive dogs. That can only be achieved through education.

What do you think about mandatory microchipping and liability insurance?

News: Guest Posts
Not Really Free to a Good Home
Beware puppy rescue scams

A reader recently sent me a link to Mitch Lipka’s “Consumer Ally” blog warning about scams involving “free” and/or rescued puppies in pre-pay scams. I’ve known about “shipping” cons, like the one recently reported by the Oregon attorney general, where an advertiser offering a free-to-a-good-home dog requires money be wired to cover shipping costs. Of course, when the mark shows up to collect his or her new buddy, there is no dog. What I didn’t realize is that some scammers pose as the good guys. According to an ASPCA primer on puppy scams and cons, sometimes puppy mills set up a fake rescue and sanctuary to exploit the good will of adopters by charging as much as $1,000 in “adoption fees” for a puppies. We can all serve to be on notice. Buyer and rescuer beware!

News: Guest Posts
Kate Gosselin Wants Dogs Back
But not until the weather warms up

If you apply to adopt a dog from a shelter or breed rescue, there's one surefire way to ensure your paperwork is tossed in the trash: you gave up a previous dog because he proved "inconvenient." In the case of reality TV star Kate Gosselin, she has decided she wants her dogs back. Her ex-husband, Jon, gave away German shepherds Shoka and Nala to their trainer during the celebrity couple’s messy divorce proceedings late last year.

Kate now claims she wouldn’t give up on two difficult kids, so she’s giving the dogs another chance. But she didn’t want them in the first place. What changed her mind? I’d like to believe that she is trying to teach her kids that dogs are a lifetime commitment, but the cynic in me thinks she’s looking for some feel-good publicity.

I’m angry that the dogs’ breeder sold them to the Gosselins in the first place. No responsible breeder would allow two littermates to go to the same home because the pups are more likely to bond to each other than to their humans. Second, with eight kids ranging in age from 5 to 9 years, how could the Gosselins possibly give the two puppies the attention, training and structure they needed? Jon Gosselin himself told People magazine that their eight kids would "climb on them, pull their tails, bite at them [and] drag them."

Do you think Shoka and Nala should return to the Gosselin family?

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