media reviews
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Helping Dogs via Facebook
DogTime helps shelter pets through social networking games.

If you’re a member of the online community, Facebook, chances are you know someone (or perhaps yourself!) who plays games such as Farmville. While these diversions have become known largely as major procrastination tools, DogTime Media has found a way to combine social networking games with the ability to help homeless animals.

Launched last year, DogTime’s apps, Save a Dog and Save a Cat, allow Facebook users to virtually foster pets. Users can search homeless animals at local shelters and choose two dogs and two cats to foster. 

Points are earned by virtually petting and walking the animals, and for inviting other Facebook users to co-foster your pets. For every 2,500 points earned, DogTime donates the financial equivalent of a cup of food to organizations like RescueGroups.org, a non-profit that provides free and low-cost technology services to animal shelters and rescue groups. 

To date almost 400,000 people have installed DogTime’s apps, which have generated over $36,000 in donations from DogTime and its sponsors, Hill’s Science Diet, Frontline and Fresh Step. 

Until now, I’ve resisted any time-sucking Facebook apps, but who can say no to playing a game for a good cause!


Dog's Life: Lifestyle
iPhone App for Haiti
Silver Lining Ideas helps animals with technology

Now you can help animals in Haiti by buying Silver Lining Ideas’ latest iPhone app, Lucky Day. 100 percent of profits will be donated to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which is coordinating with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to organize an emergency relief mission in Haiti. Deployed teams will be treating injured animals, administering vaccinations against rabies and leptospirosis, and distributing basic care.

Steve Cobb and Ruthanna Sweatman founded Silver Lining Ideas to use technology, such as iPhone applications, to raise money for animal rescue groups. Normally the company donates 25% of proceeds to rescue organizations, but all proceeds from the Lucky Day iPhone application will be donated.

Lucky Day puts a new spin on the classic Magic 8 Ball where users can shake their iPhone to make a wish or ask a question. Those who figure out how to enter Ka Ching the Panda’s secret room can win an iPod Touch or Apple iTunes gift cards. Hints will start on February 10th and a new one will be added each Wednesday until the prizes are won. 

Help animals by playing a game? A win-win for everyone.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Puppy Bowl VI
Let the games begin!

In my family, we joke that the Super Bowl is similar to a religious holiday. By that we mean that we honor traditions, spend time together as a family and eat large amounts of wonderful food. We stop short of considering it a spiritual experience, but we do love the party atmosphere and always hope for a great game.

  Since not everyone is a football fan, it’s nice to have alternatives when so much of the country is obsessed with the coin toss, the halftime show, the commercials, and, oh yeah, even the game itself.   Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl is a great option. (For you football fans, note that terms such as “option” are clearly on the brain this week. I don’t mean to, but lately, I say things like “safety,” “lateral,” “stats,” “snap,” “records,” “pocket,” “audible,” and, of course, “wildcat” and “spot” in contexts that make their usage questionable.) The project earned the American Humane Association’s “No animals were harmed” disclaimer to put at the end of their credits for the sixth year in a row.   This year’s action is on a mini-football field and in addition to dogs, there are cats, rabbits and hamsters. The bunnies are cheerleaders and the hamsters make their appearance in a blimp. Naturally, all of these animals are “Saints” so it’s surprising that no “Colts” appear in the show.   For great fun seeing dogs play around and be their adorable selves, check it out. It premieres on Animal Planet on February 7 from 3-5 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific time) and is scheduled for five repeat showings.    


News: Guest Posts
Shibu Cam, Returns
A little island of sweetness with no responsibility

I've been watching Shiba-TV. After a short grooming session, mom is off and the pups are sleeping. Ahhhh.

Why is this live-stream of a Shiba Inu and her pups so watchable? Who thinks it's watchable? you ask. Oh, only 100,000-plus people.

News: Guest Posts
On the Radio, Tonight
Learn more about case of cattle insecticide sold for dogs

In December 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency slapped Hunte Kennel Systems and Animal Care, Inc., of Goodman, Mo., with a $56,632 civil penalty for “repackaging, relabeling and selling an insecticide meant for use on cattle and hogs as a flea and tick treatment for dogs.” In a few hours (Jan. 2 at 10 p.m. EST on WOR 710), Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins talks about the case and offers advice on how to protect your pet from fraudulent products as well as fleas and ticks. You can call in with questions at 212-766-7100. If you live outside the tri-state or have other plans tonight, listen at your leisure via Tracie Hotchner’s Dog Talk & Cat Chat radio show podcast.

News: Guest Posts
Worth A Bookmark
I Love My Bad Dog Blog

One of my favorite me-and-my-dog blogs is Anaheed Alani’s I Love My Bad Dog Blog and not just because Piney's problems (pancreatitis, allergies, anxiety, aggression and on and on) make my worst days with my two pups sound like a trip to the spa, but because she’s funny, and open, and honest about the challenges, and you can tell she is devoted to her gorgeous AmStaff and would do any and everything for him—which is good because he honestly sounds like he may end up requiring all that and then some.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Power of Rescue Groups
A feel-good video makes the case

Beautiful pictures of rescue dogs who now live in loving homes make for a video with a high CQ (Cute Quotient.) And the fact that it is set to the Queen song “You’re My Best Friend” makes it captivating. I wasted an embarrassing amount of my precious writing time watching the entire video multiple times. I kept telling myself I had to know the video thoroughly before writing about it, but the truth is that I just liked watching it.


I love knowing that these are dogs who, though once without a family, are now cherished by the people who adopted them. Perhaps the best thing about the video is that it contains many before and after pictures. These pairs of photos allow you to see dogs in need of care and then see their well-groomed coats, healthy bodies and happy faces. My favorite pictures were of Dolly, Marco and Hotlips, but tons of others were charming, too.   Most of these dogs were fostered through Border Collie Rescue of Northern California, though that group was not involved in making the video. They currently have a playful, energetic dog named Mouse available for adoption to an active family. Check out his video on YouTube to see his story.   The video set to the Queen song video is thoroughly enjoyable and will make you feel good. It shows that rescue groups do terrific work getting so many great dogs into homes. And everyone familiar with rescue groups knows that they do it with small monetary budgets but with endless quantities of volunteer hours.
News: Guest Posts
Mark Your Calendars
Pedigree Dogs Exposed on BBC America, Dec. 10

If you missed "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" last year--BBC’s hard-hitting look at the devastating cost of breeding for the show ring in Great Britain--it’s back. Through interviews with scientists, vets, historians, activists and representatives from the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the documentary catalogs how many purebred dogs suffer severe illness, pain, discomfort, disability and deformities—including champions.

Difficult to watch at times, this thorough and unflinching documentary is a must-see for anyone concerned about the welfare of dogs—with plenty of lessons for us in the United States. In the meantime, you can read Beverly Cuddy’s story for Bark, The Cost of Perfection, about the documentary, online.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed premieres on BBC America Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 and 11 p.m. ET/PT.

News: Guest Posts
Draw the Dog
A worthy web destination for dog lovers.

I love dogs—that’s obvious. And I love cartoons. I honestly believe these are two of the sublime pleasures in life. So the day I discovered Draw the Dog counts as a banner day. The website is a collection of cartoons drawn daily by ex-Disney animator Jim George. The old school drawings are animated, and appear on the screen as if they are being drawn in the moment. You see Buzz, a running dog; then, a leash appears in his mouth (oh no!); then, a forlorn, jogging-suited person scrambles after him—as the landscape of a park fills in around the ill-fated pair. Sigh. I’ve been there.

So has the real Buzz in Baton Rouge, La., on whom the cartoon is based. This is one of the other wonderful aspects of the site—most of the cartoons are based on the for-real adventures of actual pups. George invites guardians to send in their true stories as inspiration for images. (Details here.) If your story inspires a cartoon, your pooch will be credited appropriately for digging through the garbage, peeing in your lap, playing tug-of-war with the towel on your head. You’ll be so proud.

Check it out!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Fido Awards
Canine “Oscars” announced.

This past week, the winners of the Fido Awards were announced in London. These are international awards for canine movie stars. As expected the many dogs who played Marley in Marley and Me won in the category of Rom-Com Rover (for romantic comedy companionship) and Beverly Hills Chihuahua took home the award for Comedy Canine.

  This is the third year of the Fido Awards, honoring canine actors and their contribution to entertainment. Many great films this year starred canines deserving of recognition. Among the other films boasting Fido Award winners were The Young Victoria, Up and Paddy. Films honored with a nomination include The Proposal, Bolt, Hotel For Dogs and Inglourious Basterds.   Winners were determined by votes from a panel of British film critics. Fido Awards are yet another sign of the increasing recognition of the value of dogs in our lives.