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News: Editors
Dramatic Sea Rescue
Pup Found Swimming in the SF Bay by Windsurfers

This is a lost pup story for the record books. On Monday evening a black Lab-Pit mix was found swimming in choppy, chilly waters of the San Francisco Bay about 2 miles from the shore. Windsurfers had spotted her and were trying to get help to bring her to shore, when a Berkeley man, Adam Cohen, came to rescue. Seems that Cohen has a nonconventional commute vehicle, he uses a motorized rubber boat to take him to his office at the Presidio in San Francisco from his home in North Berkeley.

He was at the evening leg of his commute when he had noticed a group of windsurfers clustered together, with their sails down. He was concerned that something was wrong and went closer to see if he could help. What he found was that one of the surfers had pulled a pup from the water, unto his board, and was trying to get help from the coast guard by calling from a two-way radio. Cohen maneuvered his boat in closer and, after phoning his wife, took the dog with him. The surfer said, “She was way out there. It looked like she was trying to swim to Angel Island.” Cohen noted that “the dog was shaking and seemed disoriented.” He then took her home, put her on a pad and wrapped her in a blanket. A couple of hours later, she seemed to be recovering, Cohen said. She looked healthy, was wearing a collar but was not microchipped.

Cohen’s wife, Lisa Grodin, picks up the rest of the story in this report from the Berkeley Patch:

 “She just has the nicest, sweetest personality. She follows me everywhere.”

The couple is hoping to locate the dog’s owner but it they don’t “Grodin said she would like to adopt the puppy, though her husband thinks that having one dog is probably enough. They already live with a Lab mix named Zephyr, who seems disposed to peaceful co-existence with the new visitor ‘as long as she doesn’t get near his food bowl.”

So, if the dog's owner isn’t found, they will likely adopt her out “if we can find an adoption home that can be as loving as we would be,” Grodin said.

In the meantime, what do they call their new house guest?

“We’ve been calling her ‘Richard Parker,’ from The Life of Pi,” Grodin said, referring to the film about a boy stranded in a small boat at sea with a tiger named Richard Parker.

 

A remarkable story filled with a fleet of good Samaritans. Let’s hope the Cohen-Grodin family expand by one well-traveled new member. If not, I’m sure that all the publicity that this story has gathered will come up with the perfect home for her.

More news: This story keeps gettting better, we picked up this report about the windsurfers who valiantly rescued the dog:

This morning I had the opportunity to read the news story you wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. As one of the windsurfers that came to the aid of the labrador yesterday off of Treasure Island, I thought I would share some of the facts, and to identify to you the person that I believe to be the “true hero” in all of this.

He is one of windsurfing community, and a incredibly compassionate man. He is Ed Coyne, of San Rafael, CA.

Ed and I were windsurfing together about a mile north of Treasure Island when Ed noticed the labrador (mix) swimming aimlessly in the bay. As is evident in the photograph, the winds were up in the bay and there were substantial waves which were breaking periodically over the head of the dog.

Ed was determined to come to the aid of the dog, and to do everything possible to ensure that the dog would not drown.. He sailed near the dog and tried to garner her attention with commands of “Come here”. Nevertheless, the dog kept swimming towards Alcatraz. Ed sailed out ahead of the dog to get in her path and then single handedly Ed secured her by the nape of her neck to place the dog on his windsurfing board. Ed hailed other windsurfers who then joined him to assist.

As most of us carry VHF radios, I hailed the Coast Guard to report the situation and to request Coast Guard assistance. Shortly after placing the distress call on Channel 16 to the Coast Guard, Mr. Cohen and his friend were motoring back towards the East Bay and the flotilla of windsurfers then assembled to assist Ed Coyne and the dog waived their arms to indicate that assistance was needed. At that point, Ed Coyne coordinated the transfer of the dog to Mr. Cohen’s boat with a request that he take the dog to the Berkeley Humane Society to attempt to find its rightful owner.

This is a wonderful story with a happy ending.

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Dogswell Withdraws Jerky Treats

Today we received notice that Dogswell "voluntarily" withdrew select jerky treat from the market. This is rather ironic because just a couple days ago we visited the Dogswell's booth at Superzoo, a huge pet trade show in Las Vegas, and asked them about their new marketing campaign "Live Free." When asked what that means, a salesperson told us that not only does it refer to their ingredients (i.e. the chickens are supposedly raised cage-free, even though they source the meat from China!), but also that their products are free of corn, soy and fillers, etc. Plus, it means dogs can live free of harmful, unnatural ingredients! Oh my. Obviously this "voluntary" (a misnomer if there ever was one) withdrawal belies that assertion. Note this is the same "antibiotic residue" problem that happened with the Chinese jerky that we reported on here.

 

This notice is from the Dogswell site.

Dear Fellow Pet Parent:

At Dogswell, our number one priority is the safety of our products and the health of our canine and feline customers. We strive to make and sell only the highest quality treats and food with added vitamins that provide great taste and functional benefits such as improved hip health, skin and coat health, and other benefits.

During routine testing of our products, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) discovered that a sample of our Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. It is important to note that this antibiotic is accepted for use in other countries (including the European Union), and there is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets or humans. Since we were notified by the NYSDAM the week of July 22nd, we have made the decision to voluntarily withdraw Chicken Breast and Duck Breast jerky under the Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty brands that are labeled with a “Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date. The vast majority of these products were distributed before March 1st of this year. No other products are affected.

Since January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing procedures to ensure that our chicken and duck products do not contain these or other unapproved antibiotics. All chicken and duck breast jerky products with a “Best Before” date of January 29, 2015 and later have been fully tested for and do not contain these antibiotics.

It is important that you know that all Dogswell and Catswell products remaining on the market are safe to feed as directed.

We have issued a press release to make our consumers like you aware of the situation. We also identified the stores that received the product, and contacted them to destroy any affected products in their possession (if any).

We are doing everything we can to resolve this situation quickly and ensure that our consumers like you can feel confident feeding Dogswell and Catswell products to their companions, as we do here.

To learn more about the affected product, we invite you to read our “frequently asked questions” below. If you would like to speak with someone live, you can call us at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com. If we are unable to get to your call or it is after hours, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

We thank you, our valued customers, for your understanding, and we hope to be able to regain your trust.

Yours,
Brad Armistead

Frequently Asked Questions
What products are being withdrawn by Dogswell and Catswell?
Dogswell and Catswell are voluntarily withdrawing Dogswell and Catswell brand jerky treats made with chicken or duck with a ”Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date.

Why are Dogswell and Catswell withdrawing these treats?
We were recently notified by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) that a batch of our Happy Hips Chicken Jerky treats contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. Therefore, the company decided to withdraw any chicken or duck jerky treats that have not been tested for this antibiotic.

Have there been any reports of pets getting sick from eating treats that contain this antibiotic?
There is no evidence that products containing trace amounts of this antibiotic pose a health risk for pets.

How can I tell if I have a product that is affected by the withdrawal?
First, you should check the name of the front of the package. If it says anything other than Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, it is not a part of this withdrawal.

If your package does say Chicken Breast or Duck Breast, you should turn the package over. In the bottom right hand corner of the package printed in black ink on the seam, you should find the words “Best Before”. After “Best Before” is a series of eight numbers, such as:

07262015 or 07/26/2015

This number would be translated to the date July 26, 2015 (07 for July, 26 for the day of the month, and 2015 for the year). The products affected by this withdrawal are for “Best Before” dates of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date (which would read as 01282015 or 01/28/2015). Any product with a “Best Before” date after that time has been tested for unapproved antibiotics and has been cleared.

If you find that you have a product that is affected, please call us for a full refund at 1-888-559-8833.

If you are having trouble determining if you have the product that was affected, or if you would like to speak with us directly about a full refund, please contact us directly at 1-888-559-8833 or email us at info@dogswell.com.

I just went to the store and saw your products there. Why is there so much Dogswell product on the shelf there if it has been withdrawn?
As of January, we have been using state-of-the-art testing on each batch of chicken and duck jerky to ensure that they do not contain these unapproved antibiotics. All of the products that you see on the shelf have passed testing and were approved to be sold.

Call us directly if you have any concerns or questions about DOGSWELL® products. We're here until 5:00 PM PST Mon-Fri  888-559-8833.

What does DOGSWELL do to make sure its products are safe?
Our manufacturing facilities are designed to prevent cross-contamination and all of our products are manufactured under strict sanitary conditions. We closely monitor these facilities, and also regularly visit them to ensure the quality and safety of our products. Our co-packing plants operate under HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), a system for managing food safety. Also, U.S. - based Third Party Food Safety Auditors make announced and unannounced visits to the audit all food safety and quality systems in which our facilities have always received high scores.

Where are your products manufactured?
Most DOGSWELL products are manufactured in the US. Some of our treats are manufactured in China, but we hold these facilities to the same stringent quality standards we maintain at our US facilities. DOGSWELL sources its ingredients based upon where we find top quality ingredients and a high quality supplier whose facilities and practices meet our safety testing standards.

Why are the jerky treats made in China?
China is a country where dark meat is more popular due to its inherent fat and flavor. DOGSWELL believes it is less wasteful to obtain our white meat in China where it is abundant, rather than sourcing it domestically, where white meat is less available and held at a premium. Not only do we care about your pet's health by sourcing only the healthiest meat available, we also practice sustainability by reducing as much waste as possible.

How do you test your products?
Every batch of DOGSWELL product is tested for melamine, bacteria and other contaminants.  All of our ingredients are carefully chosen and we conduct regular testing in U.S. facilities using APPA-approved methodology. Quality assurance is critically important and has been part of our standard operating procedure, and an integral part of our company, since day one. Please see below for a link to our test results.

How do you prevent salmonella from contaminating your jerky products?
The DOGSWELL® facility is specifically designed to prevent any cross contamination. Salmonella is one of the easiest contaminants to prevent. Salmonella is killed after 23 seconds at 160 degrees. We ensure that that all of our poultry jerky products are cooked at 160 degrees for ten hours. While some manufacturers choose a quicker “flash cooking process” to irradiate their products, DOGSWELL® has chosen the slow-cooking method to provide a clean, safe treat.

What is the Cage-Free Difference?
Cage-free chickens are kept in barns where they can roam, scratch and perch as they please. Our chickens eat a natural diet, have plenty of room to roam, and live and grow free of stress.

To view our Quality Assurance Brochure, please click here

News: Editors
A Heartwarming Homecoming
Reunion with a soldier and the dog who loves him

This is one of the best reunion videos of all time. A soldier returning home after six months, greeted by so much love. I wonder what people who don't believe dogs have emotions would say watching this! My dogs joined in when they heard her whimper, seeming to express their empathy. There is something so tender about this shared love and happiness.

My friend who showed it to me said she thought the dog was saying at the end, “Don't ever do that again! Promise!” What do you think? How did your dogs reaction when they heard it?

The video can be viewed here.

 

News: Editors
Be More Dog
Brilliant UK Ad Campaign

The UK mobile phone network O2 has lauched a new £10million campaign that encourages viewers to "embrace their inner dog" and shun their more cynical 'cat-like' side. Be sure to look  this video, and otheres are their site, and create your own "dog bomb" like this one or this one

Gary Booker, O2 marketing and consumer director, told the Guardian: "We're living in one of the most exciting eras as far as technology goes... but somehow we've got a little jaded by it all.

"'Be more dog' is all about encouraging Britain to embrace the new, have a go with the unknown and dabble in innovation.

"We're also gearing up for our 4G launch later this summer, so it's the perfect time to get the nation trying more and being a little bit more dog."

The campaign, which features the slogan "Life's a stick - go chase it", has been developed by ad agency VCCP.

 

News: Editors
Coming to Your Town Soon—The Rising Animosity To Dogs (and Their People)
 dogs_on_leash

Being an unequivocal dog person, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the opposing sentiment—that not everybody loves dogs. But this point of view was made abundantly clear this past week as I caught up to the growing opposition to dogs in the San Francisco Bay Area, fueled by rants produced in local media. These claims suggest that the societal scales have tipped too far in favor of dogs and their human companions, and that dogs are pampered and over-indulged. Last week, the very popular call-in public radio show KQED’s “Forum” asked the question “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly?”—the program description didn’t mince words: The Bay Area is known for being a dog-loving region, but has our canine adoration reached an unhealthy level? Dogs now accompany us into grocery stores, cafes, and even offices, but some argue that we’re excessively spoiling our dogs at the expense of others. We discuss whether our region really has a dog-coddling problem. The hour-long program can be heard online.

The show featured a local dog rights and off-leash activist; a representative from the SF Department of Health; and a tech writer from Slate.com whose recent article “No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog” (with the tagline “It’s time to take America back”) inspired the program and blasts the untenable overindulgence of San Francisco dogs and their owners. Many examples of irresponsibility and misbehaving committed by dogs and people were cited—dogs damaging city parks, knocking over joggers while their owners remained unaware and unresponsive; attacking horses on trails, thoughtless, selfish dog owners who mislabel their pets as service dogs to gain unfettered access everywhere, aggressive dogs, untrained dogs, and unwanted invitations “to pet my dog.” The activist on the panel, and many of the dog-loving callers, also tried to add a more reasoned and balanced voice and pointed out all the enormous benefits that dogs bring to the community and individuals but recognized that a “few” bad apples do tend to spoil it for the many. The tech author of the Slate article, Farhad Manjoo, a father of a two-year-old boy and an avowed nondog person—argued that parents like himself “rein in” their children far more often than do dog owners. He fueled the heated discussion that veered to the “dogs are worse than children” comparison, and a debate on which Bay Area parent (canine or human) was more irresponsible. He goes on to lament:

But dog owners? They seem to suffer few qualms about their animals’ behavior. That’s why there are so many dogs running around at the park, jumping up on the bench beside you while you’re trying to read a book, the owner never asking if it’s OK with you. That’s why, when you’re at a café, the dog at the neighboring table feels free to curl up under your seat. That’s why there’s a dog at your office right at this moment and you’re having to pretend that he’s just the cutest.

Read the full article here.

It would be easy to dismiss these claims as the grumbling of a small but vocal anti-dog contingent, but to do so would be ignoring the fact that there do exist some serious issues with dogs in our community, such as uncontrollable dogs and their clueless guardians at parks, and dog walkers with far too many dogs, for examples. These public debates tend to exaggerate but who of us have not seen or been the victim of some incorrigible dog guardian’s behavior. Or witnessed the unsupervised “play” at parks that can cause harm to both dogs and people? As a community that has fought and lobbied to expand our rights and those of our dogs to have access to public and private space—it falls upon dog people to listen to these grievances, reach across the divide and understand the real problems that exist, and do our best to tone down the rancor and to find solutions. Wouldn’t it be a shame to backslide into the “old days” when dogs where an uncommon and unwelcome sight?

The Bay Area has always prided itself on being at the forefront of the “dog-friendly” trend, and, so, perhaps it is among the first communities to suffer the backlash of being “overly-permissive” to dogs. Reading the comments on Forum and Slate, it’s clear that dogs are not every person’s best friend. In fact, popular sentiment that dogs are out of control was running 3 to 1—not an encouraging sign. Is this a concern that is creeping into your community? Do you sense that dogs have worn out their welcome? What can dog people do to stem this outcry?

News: Editors
Dogs are asked to "Do it"!
And imitate novel human actions and store them in memory

Researchers have shown that dogs can indeed not only mimic human actions, but can retain actions in their memory. According to a new study by Claudia Fugazza and Adám Miklósi, from Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, this deferred imitation provides the first evidence of dogs' cognitive ability to both encode and recall actions. The research is published in Springer's journal Animal Cognition.

In order to test if dogs possess the cognitive ability of deferred imitation, Fugazza and Miklósi worked with eight pet dogs who had been trained in the “Do as I do method” by their guardians. While dogs are good at relying on human communication cues and learn by watching humans (and other dogs), what this study set out to test was if dogs can perform imitatively not directly after seeing a human do it, but some time after seeing the action.

So they made the dogs wait for short intervals before they were allowed to copy the observed human action. An example of the action done by the human and then performed by the dog was ringing a bell or walking around an object like a bucket.

“The researchers observed whether the dogs were able to imitate human actions after delays ranging from 40 seconds to 10 minutes, during which time the dogs were distracted by being encouraged to take part in other activities. The researchers were looking for evidence of the dogs' ability to encode and recall the demonstrated action after an interval.”

Fugazza described how one of the tests was carried out: “The owner, Valentina, made her dog, Adila, stay and pay attention to her, always in the same starting position. Three randomly chosen objects were set down, each at the same distance from Adila. When Adila was in position, Valentina demonstrated an object-related action, like ringing a bell with her hand.

“Then Valentina and Adila took a break and went behind a screen that was used to hide the objects, so that Adila could not keep her mind on the demonstration by looking at the object. During the break, Valentina and Adila either played with a ball or practiced a different training activity, for example, Valentina asked Adila to lie down. Or they both relaxed on the lawn and Adila was free to do whatever she wanted—sniff around, bark at people passing by, and so on.

“When the break was over, Valentina walked with her dog back to the original starting position and gave the command 'Do it!'. In a control condition, the ‘Do it!’ command was given by someone other than the owner, who did not know what action had previously been demonstrated by the owner. After the 'Do it!' command, Adila typically performed the action that was previously demonstrated.”

It is remarkable that the dogs were able to do this. But the length of time varied—with an action familiar to the dog, delays were as long as ten minutes. If the action/task was novel and the the dogs had not be exposed to it before, they were still able to perform it after a delay of one minute.

“The authors conclude: "The ability to encode and recall an action after a delay implies that the dogs have a mental representation of the human demonstration. In addition, the ability to imitate a novel action after a delay without previous practice suggests the presence of a specific type of long-term memory in dogs. This would be so-called ‘declarative memory,’ which refers to memories which can be consciously recalled, such as facts or knowledge."

To view more demonstration on the "Do as I do" method, see this, and the following demonstrations.

 

 

Reference

Fugazza C & Miklósi A (2013). Deferred imitation and declarative memory in domestic dogs. Animal Cognition; DOI 10.1007/s10071-013-0656-5

 

 

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Early Dog Walker Dies at 81
Jim Buck preferred dogs to office work

Best known for his dog walking business that cared for up to 150 dogs a day, Jim Buck is considered the first professional dog walker in New York City. (In New York, they often refer to him as the first professional dog walker, but as a person who lives elsewhere, I can’t help but notice how often “first” and “first in New York” are used synonymously. For example, his obituary says, “Mr. Buck . . . is widely described as the first person to professionalize dog walking in New York City and, by extension, the United States.”)

Buck came from a wealthy family, but chose a path different than most. He dropped out of college and chose to walk dogs rather than work at an electronics company, as he did for a while. He said he preferred walking his own dogs and other people’s dogs to suiting up and going to the office.

He was a tall, thin man, often described with a comparison to slender breeds of dogs such as the sight hounds. He was also an original thinker, realizing that there was a business opportunity in providing dog walking services to people working long days in the city. His business, Jim Buck’s School for Dogs, employed dozens of people to help him walk client’s dogs. When he started, his was the only such business in New York City, though now there are huge numbers of them.

Among the stories about Buck and his business is the tale that he used to test potential employees by having them walk an Otterhound nicknamed both Oliver the Artful and Oliver the Awful. Oliver regularly entered phone booths and refused to come out. Buck wanted people who would solve the problem by gently coaxing him out rather than attempting to use force. He claims to have preferred to hire women because he thought they were generally more compassionate to dogs who misbehaved.

It was a different era, and Buck dressed well, as was typical at that time. He wore through his fancy shoes every two weeks, employing the services of a cobbler to repair his shoes regularly. He could easily afford his expensive clothes and shoes because his income as a dog walker was around five times that of the average American and he made more through his business than he ever did at his office job.

Jim Buck retired about 10 years ago and died at the age of 81 on July 4, 2013.

News: Editors
Beehive Detection Dog

Bazz, wearing his new bee-proof working gear, is Australia’s first apiary dog. Beekeeper Josh Kennett devised this suit so that his Lab, and working partner, Bazz could help sniff out a virulent bee disease, the American foulbrood.

Dogs can’t get near a hive of bees without being aggressively chased away. So Kennett got the idea to train Bazz from his American counterparts but in the U.S. the colder temperatures negate the need for protection.

“Their winters are far colder than ours, with snow over the top of beehives. We don't have that situation here in South Australia.

“So I’ve tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung.”

He also said that he tried a variety of prototypes because he wanted a suit that “doesn’t restrict him too much,” so had to do a lot of trial and error, especially with the head part.

After a long training period that was started by a professional detection dog trainer, and refined by Kennett to get Bazz used to the suit and to the hives, the beekeeper team is now ready to go

“We’ve now proven the concept, he can find the infected hives.

“To fully cover a dog up and expect it to do the same thing, it takes time to change how he behaves and to get used to that suit.”

 

Source: ABC Australia

 

 

News: Editors
Spanish Town Mails Back Poop

Just what does it take to get people to pick up their dog’s poop? In Brunete, a town in Spain, they has come up with a fairly ingenious way of cracking down on non-poop-picking-up dog owners. Not only did their strategy work but a media campaign was developed for free by advertising agency McCann, and it went on to win the “Sol de Plata” award at a recent Ibero-American Advertising Festival.

So just what did they do?

Community volunteers strolled the town’s streets looking for offending dog owners, those who totally ignored the poop and did not scoop. They came up to the owner and struck up a casual conversation to discover the name of the dog.

“With the name of the dog and the breed it was possible to identify the owner from the registered pet database held in the town hall,” explained a spokesman from the council.

Here’s the really clever part.

The volunteers then scooped up the excrement and packaged it in a box branded with town hall insignia and marked ‘Lost Property’ and delivered by courier to the pet owners home.

In all, 147 “express poop” deliveries were made during the course of the week in February and the town with 10,000 residents has since reported a 70 per cent drop in the amount of dog mess found in its streets.

The year before a similar attempt to tackle the issue saw offending dog owners chased by a remote controlled dog mess on wheels with the label “Don’t leave me—pick me up.”

Does your community have a creative solution to poop offenders?

 

News: Guest Posts
James Gandolfini: Brilliant Actor & Dog-lover
Tough guy persona melted away with dogs
James Gandolfini & Duke

By now, most everyone is aware of the sudden death of 51-year-old actor James Gandolfini. The actor died on Wednesday of a heart attack while vacationing in Italy. His death came as a shock to his many fans and admirers, and we count ourselves among them. Like millions of others, we looked forward to sharing Sunday evenings with The Sopranos. Gandolfini’s nuanced portrayal of Tony Soprano, the violent yet charismatic crime boss in HBO’s critically acclaimed show was nothing short of brilliant. His performance connected with the audience in ways not seen before, and thus his passing seems particularly sad, and personal. Still, I doubt few of his fans will miss him more than his dog. In addition to being a loving husband and father, Gandolfini possessed a deep affection for dogs. He was an admirable advocate for Pit Bulls, believing them to be a misunderstood breed. His own pooch, a rescue dog named Duke, remained an important part of his life. The slew of photos found online of Gandolfini and Duke walking together, getting coffee, and driving around attests to their bond. Gandolfini’s last film will stand as a legacy of his passion for canines: Animal Rescue, a crime drama slated to come out in 2014, stars Gandolfini (with Tom Hardy) and revolves around a lost Pit Bull pup. We offer our condolences to his family and friends, celebrate his illustrious career and admire his contributions to the animal world.

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