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Special Guest: Lee Harrington
Talk with the author and be entered for a chance to win a signed copy of Rex and the City

Welcome back to Bark’s off-leash area, a place for Bark readers, contributors and editors to can enjoy a free-form, real-time conversation all day. Today, we’ll be joined by Lee Harrington, Bark columnist and the author of the best-selling Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog (Villard, 2006), which was originally published as columns in Bark and is being re-released as a revised, expanded e-book with a new cover in August 2011. (Visit www.emharrington.com for updates.)

Lee is here to talk about her adventures with her late, great spaniel mix Wallace (aka Rex), her current spaniel mix Chloe (the centerpiece of Lee’s new series for Bark, The Chloe Chronicles) and her dog-inspired writing life. Recently for the Bark blog, Lee wrote about using sound healing and music to calm your dog (she’s a kirtan walla), attending a funeral with Chloe and a dastardly man who pretended to be a “dog person” on a first date. So she’s pretty game to tackle just about any topic.

One thing Lee could user reader help with is selecting a book cover for the reissue of Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog. What do you like most about dog book covers? What grabs your attention? And what have some of your favorites covers been? Plus, Lee will clue us in to her plans to help a rescue organization with her the new edition.

Lee will be online from 10 a.m. to noon PST today, so stop by during those hours for real-time Q&A. Three randomly selected participants in today’s open thread will each win a signed copy of Rex and the City: A Memoir of a Woman, a Man, and a Dysfunctional Dog—with the extra bonus that Chloe herself will be licking the envelopes. 

Please note: Your comments post live but obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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We’re Talking Dogs ... About Dogs, That Is
Join the conversation

Time to let the conversation off leash. This is your chance to talk dogs with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Unlike recent open threads, we aren’t featuring a special guest or a theme this week—although we’ll be popping by with some thoughts and questions of our own.

Because we know that some folks need an extra push to join the conversation, we’ll be selecting at random one open thread participant to receive a Dog Is My Co-Pilot T-shirt and a subscription. (If the winner is already a subscriber, he or she can extend his or her subscription or give it as a gift.) Be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.

Please note: When we titled our open thread "off leash," we didn’t mean out-of-control—just like at the dog park. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 

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We’re Talking Rescue and More
With special guest Christie Keith of Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Today, we’re focusing on rescue in anticipation of the Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon, an enormous cooperative adoption effort in the Bay Area this weekend.

Our special guest is Christie Keith, who is in charge of social media for the event. You’ll probably recognize Christie’s name—she’s an editor for PetConnection and writes an online pet-care column for the San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate. She’s also written several pieces for Bark on everything from nutrition and obesity to “no-kill nation.”

This open thread is a chance to gather and share new ideas for promoting your animal welfare cause, including building partnerships (something the folks at Maddie’s Fund do very well) and effectively using social media. We want to hear about your worthy shelter or rescue and how you are contributing—from launching your own breed rescue to dog wash fundraisers to big events like this weekend’s Adoptathon. What’s working? What’s not?

With our rescue and adoption theme in mind, we’ll be selecting at random, one open thread participant to donate 25 Bark subscriptions for the rescue or shelter of his or her choice, which could be used as a bonus for new adoptions or some other promotional effort. Be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.

Please note, Christie will be dropping in at different times over the course of the day—so she may not respond to a post immediately. If you don’t hear back, check in at the end of the day to see if she had a chance to reply.

Please note: We let you speak your piece on the open thread without editing but obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Join the Conversation for a Chance to Win 3 Great Books
Special feedback request: How can we make our website better?

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. We’ve had some wonderful expert guests during the past few weeks talking about veterinary care, service dogs, rescue and behavior but today Bark readers are center stage. You set the agenda—tell us what’s on your mind.

Well, mostly. We do have our own little agenda; we’re brainstorming ways to improve TheBark.com, and we want your feedback. So while you’re here, tell us: What can we do to make our website better? Members of the Bark team will be stopping in all day with this and related questions.

Plus, we have an extra special incentive today, one open thread participant will be selected at random to receive three excellent dog books handpicked by Bark editor Claudia Kawczynska. The worthy summer-read trifecta includes:

  • Dog Sense by John Bradshaw
  • Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
  • Dog Walks Man by John Zeaman

So let your voice be heard, and be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.

Please note: We let you speak your piece on the open thread without editing but obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Special Guest: Behaviorist Sophia Yin
How to behave so your dog behaves, preventing dog bites, and more

Once again we are super psyched to have a wonderful guest for our weekly open thread. Today, Sophia Yin, DVM, will be stopping in off-and-on to chat and answer questions. A frequent contributor to Bark, Sophia is the author of two textbooks: Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats and The Small Animal Veterinary Nerdbook, a best-selling textbook for veterinarians, as well as a book for dog owners, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves and her newest ebook, Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.

We’re especially happy to have Sophia here this week because it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and she’s been diligent in raising awareness about dog bite prevention.

If you have other stories, questions or comments on your mind, this is your opportunity to put it out there for the rest of the Bark community as well. Welcome all newcomers: The open thread is a little like the dog park—get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Special Guest: Veterinarian Nancy Kay

We’ve moved our open thread to Friday this week, so we can feature special guest Dr. Nancy Kay, a veterinarian, regular Bark contributor, and author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life. Nancy will be stopping by our open thread this afternoon. (If you can’t be here then, feel free to leave a question for Nancy and check back, or join the real-time conversation on any subject that suits your fancy in the meantime.)
 
Nancy is eager to talk about the veterinarian-client relationship, sharing hard-won insight into everything from saving money on your vet bills to setting reasonable expectations of your vet to getting the most out of check-ups and much more. While she can speak generally to health issues, she won’t be giving specific medical advice or making diagnoses.
 
A staff internist at VCA Animal Care Center, a 24-hour emergency/specialty care center in Rohnert Park, Calif., Nancy was selected by the American Animal Hospital Association to receive the 2009 Hill’s Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award and she was also the recipient of the 2011 Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award.
 
Newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

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Julia Kamysz Lane Joins the Conversation
She’s a pro on sports, rescue, multi-critter households and more

It’s open thread time again, when Bark readers chat in real-time about whatever is on their minds with each other and Bark writers and editors. There’s no agenda.

  This week we’re pleased to have long-time contributing editor Julia Kamysz Lane stopping by off and on during the day. Julia lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Brian, four rescue dogs—Shelby, Darby, Jolie and Ginger Peach—and two rescue cats, Cricket and Bruiser Bear. Her dogs have collectively earned more than 70 performance titles and participate in agility, rally, scent detection, trick training and more. Active in rescue and a professional trainer, Julia co-founded New Orleans German Shepherd Rescue in the early 2000s. She has written about everything from dock diving and agility (even an agility pig!) to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and breed prejudice—subjects she knows firsthand—and plenty in between. So there’s plenty she can chime in about.   In time for summer roadtrip season, we week we’ll be selecting one participant at random to receive a Dog Is My Co-Pilot bumpersticker, so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.   Newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 
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Special Guest: Beth Finke

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. We’ve been enjoying the free-form exchange of ideas on the open thread, but we’re making one tweak. We’ve decided to invite a special guest to each open thread. Sometimes, we’ll feature a regular Bark contributor, so you can drill down on specific topics, such as training, behavior, rescue, activism, animal law and more. Other times, we’ll invite folks we admire to join the conversation.

  This afternoon, regular Bark contributor Beth Finke will be dropping by. An NPR commentator, Beth Finke is an award-winning author, teacher and journalist. She also happens to be blind. Her memoir, Long Time, No See was named one of the ChicagoTribune’s favorite nonfiction books for 2003. Her memoir about her bond with her Seeing Eye Dog, Hanni and Beth: Safe & Sound, won an ASPCA/Henry Bergh children’s book award. She writes about her experiences with a Seeing Eye dog and service dogs, in general, as well as issues around the Americans with Disabilities Act for the Bark and on the Safe & Sound blog. She’ll be checking in all afternoon to mingle and answer questions.   Housekeeping: This week we’ll be selecting one participant at random to receive a Dog Is My Co-Pilot bumpersticker, so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.   For newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 

 

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It’s Your Turn, Again

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with other Bark readers and our editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Last week, the conversation ranged far and wide. We touched on serious topics, such as attachment issues related to fostering dogs and combating animal abuse, and learned what Bark readers and staff are doing for fun with their dogs, including Treibball and Nosework. Why not join the conversation?

 

This week we’ll be selecting one participant at random to receive a one-year subscription (or one-year extension) to Bark, so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win.   For newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We close the thread at 4 p.m. PST. 

 

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Let’s Talk
Off Leash Open Thread

Welcome back to Off Leash, Bark’s Wednesday open thread, your chance to catch up with Bark readers, editors and contributors during a real-time chat. Last week, we talked about strategies for vet-nervous pups, problems with a negligent neighbor, buying treats on a budget, preparing a dog for a new baby, and much more. We’re back open to hear more of what’s on your mind—from the latest dog news, to your behavior questions, favorite products, or just a story you want to share.

  Keep in mind, each week we select a participant at random to receive a Bark goodie bag (so be sure to include your email when you register to comment, so we can contact you if you win). Last week’s winner was Laurelin Sitterly, a humane educator from Providence, R.I. and proud adopter of a one-and-a-half year old Beagle/Dachshund mix named Sadie.   For newcomers, the open thread is a little like the dog park: Get out there and run, sniff around and play nice. Obscene, abusive, offensive or commercial comments will be taken down. We open officially at 9 a.m. and close the thread at 4 p.m. PST.

 

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