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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Foreclosed but Not Forgotten
Groups help pets in need

Making a serious problem worse, record housing foreclosures are escalating the nation’s already sizable numbers of homeless and abandoned pets. Thankfully, some enterprising organizations and individuals are stepping up to lessen the burden on individuals as well as shelters.

For example, the not-for-profit No Paws Left Behind was created specifically to be the “voice” of pets affected by foreclosure; the website has a database of no-kill shelters and foster groups, searchable by zip code. Long-established sites such as Petfinder.com also help people locate shelters in their geographic area. Finally, at least two websites—Homewithpets.com  and Peoplewithpets.com—provide free searchable databases for pet-friendly rentals.

Not surprisingly, the housing crisis has also put an additional burden on animal shelters. To help them cope, national entities such as HSUS and American Humane have created grant programs that offer financial assistance to shelters and rescue organizations that are helping families keep and care for their pets.

On the other side of the equation, people who are in a position to help are stepping up too. Perhaps the most inspiring is Mimi Ausland, a 12-year-old from Bend, Ore., who created Free Kibble, a sponsor-supported online trivia game in which each answer scores 20 pieces of kibble for shelter animals. To date, she has donated well over 10 million pieces of kibble to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, and plans are in the works to add more shelters.

 

Culture: Reviews
Good Reads
Dog Years; Pack of Two; Dog Sense; Tell me Where it Hurts

Now it is summer and its long, warm days have arrived, we hope to catch up on our reading. To encourage you to do the same, we’ve compiled a roster of some of our favorites from the classic shelves, as well as some newer ones.

THE SCIENCE OF DOG
The formal study of dogs has accelerated over the past few years, with the happy result that reliable, research-based information is now more easily available to the general reader.

Man Meets Dog was first published fifty years ago, becoming a classic that every dog lover should read‹a slim, witty volume by the Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Konrad Lorenz. It was the first to delve into the canine mind and also launched the debate to what extend do its wolf ancestors affect modern dog behavior.

The Hidden Life of Dogs is a book made famous for the number of miles that Elizabeth Marshall Thomas clocked while tracking a Husky on his daily forays in her anthropological quest to answer, “What do dogs really want?” It is an enthralling account that brings a fresh understanding to the emotional lives of dogs.

Somewhere along the path of evolution two distinct animal species made the choice to “cooperate not to compete.” In The Animal Attraction Dr. Jonica Newby, an Australian veterinarian, poses the more fascinating question "If we didn¹t link up with dogs, where would we be today?" Her answers about our co-evolution are both surprising and wildly entertaining. 

In Dog Sense, animal behaviorist John Bradshaw outlines what we can expect from our co-pilots as well as what they need to live harmoniously with us. Ultimately, this is what makes the book so appealing. He does more than simply lay out interesting theories; he uses science to advocate for a better life for companion dogs. 

Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz is a fascinating journey into the dog’s rich sensory world, providing valuable insights into what it’s like to be a dog. If you think you know your dog, think again. Horowitz peels away the layers of pre-conceived notions and gets to the core of canine-ness to reveal that Canis familiaris is anything but familiar. 

Dog’s Best Friend by Mark Derr who writes about the “culture of the dog” like no one else‹he goes well beyond the in’s and out’s of breeding and training examining all aspects about what makes our relationship to dogs tick.

MEMOIRS & LITERATURE
Let’s Take the Long Way Home, a memoir by Gail Caldwell about her friendship with the late Caroline Knapp (Pack of Two); their dogs brought these two writers together, and a devoted friendship followed.

Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson. A fascinating memoir of the adventures of a Search and Rescue pup and how both she and her human partner mastered the course together.

In Dog Years, poet Mark Doty recounts how two dogs rescued and supported him during a time of deep grief. A tender, amusing and insightful reflection on the bond with have with animals.

The Proof is in the Poodle by Donna Kelleher, a holistic vet who has written a thoughtful and sensitive exploration of the ways we help out animals heal—physically, emotionally and spiritually. (2012,Two Harbors Press)

Garth Stein’s novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, is a beautifully crafted tale of the wonders and absurdities of human life as only a dog could describe them.

Rick Bass’s Colter: The True Story of the Best Dog I Ever Had is a gorgeously written memoir about a remarkable “brown” dog who possessed a genius for the hunt. It is also a powerful contemplation about the natural world and how a dog can unveil its secrets to us, if only we are wise enough to watch and listen. 

Donald McCaig’s Eminent Dogs: Dangerous Men is a book about the fascinating world of sheepherding and Border Collies and how the history of these dogs is infused by character of the people who admire then and who “partner” with them. Part memoir, travelogue, and part investigation into one of the oldest alliances mankind has struck with canines.

Dog Walks Man, a collection of humorous and absorbing essays by John Zeaman, conveys how the routine act of dog-walking can connect us to the joys of the nature. 

Pack of Two: The Intricate Bond Between People and Dogs by Carolyn Knapp is the seminal book about, as its subtitle proclaims, the bond between people and dogs. A must read for all dog people—affirming that we aren’t alone in our dog-centricity. Knapp explored why dogs matter to us and concludes that we love them for themselves—for their very otherness and dogginess. 

My Dog Tulip by J.R. Ackerley. This book is a lovely, unsentimental and very moving biography of a dog, an Alsatian female named Tulip. Ackerley is charmed and fascinated by her and his descriptions about her behavior and habits are among the more tender “love” stories ever.

Lee Harrington’s Rex in the City is the modern day story about how a young couple learned about the challenges of adopting an abused, untrained dog and bringing him up in a small NYC apartment. The author shares both her pains and her joys of their life with a troubled dog. But readers will be reminded—in a delightful way—that love does indeed conquer all.

HANDS ON
When it comes to advice, we go to the experts.
In Speaking for Spot, Nancy Kay, DVM, provides a road map to help us navigate the complicated terrain of canine health care most effectively.

Patricia McConnell, PhD, CAAB, has written a shelf-load of books in which she decodes the mysteries of canine behavior. Two we particularly like are The Other End of the Leash, which focuses on why we behave as we do around our dogs and how it affects them, and (with Karen London, PhD), Love Has No Age Limit, a much-needed primer on adopting an adult dog.

If you’ve wondered vets do day-to-day, read veterinary surgeon Nick Trout’s Tell Me Where It Hurts and Love Is the Best Medicine and get clued in.

WHO DONE IT?
Finally, in the belief that sometimes, more is better, we put our paws together for three don’t-miss, dog-flavored mystery series.

David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter is a reluctant attorney whose real passions are dog rescue and his Golden Retriever, Tara. One Dog Night is the most recent entry.

In Spencer Quinn’s “Chet and Bernie” mysteries, narrated by Chet the dog, comments on the way dogs see the world ring true (and will make you smile). The fifth book, A Fist Full of Collars, is due out in September.

Our long-time favorite, Susan Conant, released a new “Holly Winter” mystery earlier this year, thank goodness; Brute Strength is number 19 in the series featuring the Malamute-loving dog writer and, of course, her favorite dogs. 

 

Dog's Life: Home & Garden
Living Green
Wise choices make your home healthier for you and your dog

Try this: Select a spot in your home and lie down on the floor. Is it the kitchen? Give the floor a little lick. Or the living room? Put your nose on the carpet and take a really deep breath. Then, wander into the bathroom and check out the porcelain “drinking fountain.” Okay, stop the experiment. You get the idea: this is your home from your dog’s point of view. You generally experience your surroundings from a five- or six-foot elevation, but your dog is much closer—and much more inclined to sample her surroundings.

While there isn’t one set definition for “green” or “eco” buildings, there are important general concepts to bear in mind: Energy efficiency, size (it matters), sustainability, use of recycled materials and low impact. Considering that the average US household is responsible for twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the average car, energy efficiency tops the list—aim for good insulation throughout your home, well-sealed heating and cooling ducts, windows and doors weather-stripped, and energy-efficient appliances and lighting. (More tips can be found at epa.gov.)

If you are remodeling or redecorating, use resource-smart building materials, which are safer for you and your dog as well as for the environment. And, before you purchase flooring material, or even paint for your walls, give some thought to the environmental consequences of your choices. Even small changes can have a big impact. Consider using traditional materials—beeswax polish and vinegar and lemon juice for cleaning, for example—zero to low-VOC paint (latex), finishes and adhesives; and non-aerosol products.

Follow suggestions laid out by green-building expert Jennifer Roberts in her book, Good Green Homes. When you are selecting home furnishings or building materials, ask yourself (or the retailer or product manufacturer) the following questions:

• Is it safe and healthy to use in my home?

• Will it introduce irritants or off-gas potentially harmful chemicals?

• Will I need to use harsh chemicals to clean or maintain it?

• Is the harvesting or manufacturing process safe and healthy for workers?

• Is there a safe way to reuse, recycle or dispose of it when I’m done with it?
It is easy being green these days, and a little research will lead you to many good, environmentally sound alternatives. Your dog’s life, not to mention your own and your family’s, will be the better for it.

Green Flooring Materials
Many kinds of flooring materials can be considered green, including:

Wood
There are basically two types of wood: softwoods, which come from rapidly growing trees like pine and fir, and hardwoods, such as oak, maple, teak, etc. Be sure all wood is FSC certified and does not come from old-growth trees. Even better, use reclaimed/recycled wood. Wood flooring is easy to clean with simple products like vinegar and water. Only use zero- to low-VOC and plant-based sealants.

Bamboo
There are more than a thousand different species of this fast-growing woody grass. It is stronger than most hardwoods, and, like wood, can be sanded and refinished multiple times. (Luckily, the type used for flooring is not the kind pandas feed on.) After harvesting, it quickly regenerates. TIP: Even if it comes factory-finished, experts recommend resealing it to protect it from doggy water-bowl spills.

Linoleum
Made from linseed oil, a byproduct of flax (Oleum Lini). It is antibacterial, making it ideal in kitchens and bathrooms. It is also antistatic, so it repels dust and dirt. It comes in a wide range of colors, and even though it does offgas due to the oxidation of lineolic acid, it is less harmful than vinyl, and is considered to be more environmentally friendly.

Cork
From the outer bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber). The bark naturally sheds and regrows about once a decade, so harvesting does not harm the tree. Cork resists rot and mold and makes a great sound-absorber and insulator. It also adds an extra cushioning and “bounce” to the step, great for the long-standing cook and indoor ball-tossing!

Other good flooring materials to consider are concrete, brick, tile (ceramic, porcelain and glass), terrazzo and stone.

Avoid Vinyl!
Even though its low cost and wide variety of colors and patterns make it a popular flooring choice, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) continues to be the subject of considerable controversy. Its production releases an extraordinarily toxic chemical—dioxin—and many, including the Healthy Building Network, consider PVC to be one of the “most environmentally hazardous consumer materials produced.”

Does Green Building Cost More?
It doesn’t have to. Many green building features and products cost the same as, or even less than, their conventional counterparts. Other green features may cost more upfront but result in savings year after year. Energy-efficiency upgrades, for example, usually pay for themselves by lowering your monthly energy bill.

Here are two places to start your investigation. If you’re thinking of remodeling or other large-scale projects, visit greenbuilder.com. For tips on home care, see care2.com/healthyliving.

 

GLOSSARY
FSC Certified
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international organization whose certification process provides consumers with assurance that wood was harvested from well-managed forests and plantations. Be sure to look for the FSC label when purchasing wood. fscus.org

LEED Green Building Rating System
A national standard established by members of the US Green Building Council, it provides a framework for assessing building performance and sustainability. It is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. usgbc.org

Offgas
The release of vapors from a material; many materials in the home offgas formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). TIP: Interior plywood emits urea formaldehyde (a carcinogen)—use exterior-grade plywood instead.

Rapidly Renewable Resources
Don’t contribute to deforestation; instead, use products made from rapidly renewable resources that regenerate quicker than the demand for the products—bamboo and cork for example.

VOCs
Volatile organic compounds are a range of chemical substances that become airborne, or volatile, at room temperature. They are found in paint, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, glues, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents, dry-cleaned clothing, and even air fresheners. VOCs are a major source of indoor air pollution, exposure can cause symptoms ranging from nausea, eye irritation and headaches—just think of how your dog will feel being that much “nearer” to the source TIP: by choosing a zero to low-VOC water-based paint, you can really reduce, or even eliminate, this concern.

Safer Paint
Here’s a quick chemistry lesson. Not everything with “organic” in its name is actually good for us. When we walk into a newly painted room, the first thing we notice—besides the lovely color—is the smell, which comes largely from VOCs, chemicals added to paint to speed up drying time. Choose low- or zero-VOC paints; interior flat paint with VOC level of 50 grams per liter or less, and interior non-flat pain with 150 grams per liter or less. VOC content should be labeled on the packaging. Note: that low odor does not mean low VOC, some manufacturers use fragrance to mask the paint odor.

 

News: Guest Posts
App Review: Dog Budget App
Keep track of your doggy dollars

Your pup may not beg you for an allowance each week, but his needs are just as costly as your own. Dog food, grooming appointments, toys, veterinary visits and treats tend to add up over time. The basic expenses for a dog in the U.S. average more than $1,500 per year, according to a 2011–2012 pet owner survey by the American Pet Products Association. And that’s just the absolute basics with no organized activities or training, special care or other unexpected costs.

That's real money, as the say, and worth budgeting. The Dog Budget app helps dog owners keep track of spending and stick to a budget.

For 99 cents, this simple-to-use app enables you to document every item you purchase for your dog by date and a set of pre-determined categories Dog budget “alerts” warn you when you’re teetering over a monthly spending limit. There’s also a pie chart feature that illustrates where you’re spending.

   

While there are a plethora of general budgeting apps available in the iTunes App Store that do virtually the same thing, they don't feature special categories for dog owners. Dog Budget is a fairly barebones app, but the peace of mind that you’re staying within budget when it comes to your pup is probably worth a dollar.

The app is developed by Andrew Winn, an independent developer based out of the United Kingdom, and is currently only available for the iPhone/iPad.

Culture: Reviews
Bark Likes This: Cycle Dog

We are always on the lookout for cool new gear for our active and oh-so-stylish pups, so our ears perked up when Cycle Dog's Metal Latch-Lock Bottle Opener Collar arrived in the mail.

Handmade in Portland, OR, Cycle Dog collects flat bike inner tubes from local bike shops, then repurposes this otherwise unrecyclable material into collars, leashes, belts and more. The inner tube construction obviously means Cycle Dog collars are earth-friendly, but it also means they are soft, durable, and completely funk-resistant - perfect for the active dog who can't help but jump into the stagnant end of the pond.

One of the very cool features of the collar is the Metal Latch-Lock Buckle. The solid, quick release metal buckle is strength tested at over 500lbs, so zero worries about the pup busting free. Then there's the Pup-Top Bottle Opener / Leash Attachment - a clever and useful reinterpretation of the leash ring. The folks at Cycle Dog obviously know that there's not much nicer than sharing a cold one with your best pal.

Also, for the cyclists amongst us, be sure to check out Cycle Dog's Tube Drop program and help keep your old inner tubes out of landfills. 

www.cycledog.com

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
New Pet Poison App
Lifesaving information available 24/7

Imagine coming home and finding a chewed up bottle of your medication with no pills left in it or a houseplant that has clearly been used as a chew toy, or a bottle of cleaning solution that spilled when it was knocked off the counter. How do you determine if this is just a small inconvenience for you, a life-threatening emergency for your dog, or something in between? The new Pet Poison Help app by Pet Poison Helpline can be a great first step. You can use it to reference the specific substance and find out how toxic it is, the symptoms your dog is likely to experience, and what to do. It may suggest that you induce vomiting, encourage eating or drinking, or that you take your dog to an emergency clinic immediately.

Though there are other apps that provide information about pets and poisons, this one is the most comprehensive. It covers over 250 toxins and spans a wide variety of potentially poisonous substances including pesticides, plants, foods and cleaners. You can search by toxin, within categories, or check substances based on whether they are toxic to dogs, cats or both.

Pet Poison Help is a reliable resource from which people can get accurate information and it has a direct dial feature to the Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center that is available 24/7. According to Ahna Brutlag, a veterinarian with an M.S. in toxicology, and the co-creator of the Pet Poison Help app, the consumption of human medications accounts for the largest number of calls to their helpline, but many other toxic substances are consumed by dogs and other pets each year. If you place a call to the Pet Poison Helpline, you can share vital information with a veterinarian about your dog’s age, breed, size and what was eaten, and find out what your next step needs to be to provide the best care for your dog.

The new app is easy to use, full of pictures, and loaded with live-saving information. Pet Poison Help has been available for just a few weeks, and already nearly 2000 people have downloaded it. Have you had a chance to check it out yet?

Culture: Reviews
Eco Dog Planet’s Doggie Waste Bags
Bark Likes This

Sometimes the most impactful innovations are those made to simple, every day acts — like picking up your dog’s waste. We were introduced to Eco Dog Planet’s Doggie Waste Bags at last month’s Global Pet Expo where they debuted their eco-friendly poop bags made from tapioca. The light but sturdy bags are manufactured from the starch of tapioca plants, a sustainable non-GMO crop that helps support small farmers in Indonesia. The material easily decomposes in soil or landfills when exposed to micro-organisms. Renewable resources, community farming — a great back story for sure, but how does the product … perform? Very well we’ve found. The bags have a slightly thicker feel to them than other starch bags we’ve tested, and a toothy surface that helps buffer the tactile experience. Plus, they don’t fall apart in your pocket after a few weeks as some other starch bags do. Bark loves Eco Dog Planet’s Doggie Waste Bags! A pack of 60 bags sells for $9.99 at ecodogplanet.com

Click here for a chance to win a box of bags.

News: Guest Posts
iPhone Game Focuses on Rescuing Pets
Developed with the Humane Society to raise awareness

Teach kids the importance of caring for, and adopting, a shelter pet with this free iPhone game, developed in association with the Humane Society of the United States. In Fluff Friends Rescue,  players retrieve lost pets in the woods, bring them back for a veterinary checkup and a bath, and then place them in a pen to be adopted. It's a time management game that requires players to multitask in order to complete goals and find permanent homes for the animals, but it’s also a great way to open a discussion about the essential role of animal shelters and, more generally, the problems of pet overpopulation with your children.

To make it challenging, Fluff Friends Rescue doesn't start you off with all of the elements you need to run a functioning shelter. As you rescue each pet, you earn money and unlock other features of the game, such as stations to add to your rescue facility and toys to give the animals, and that helps the vitality of your rescue center, as well as the adoptability of your animals.

The game plays a lot like the popular Facebook game, Farmville, and is free to play, which means you'll have to dole out some cash for certain in-app content. You can disable this feature so your child doesn’t accidentally charge your credit card for in-game items, but this will make it difficult to advance further in the game without “grinding”—a mechanism utilized by games in this genre that requires players to do repetitive tasks to rack up points before they can move on to the next task.

As an added bonus, players can purchase special items endorsed by the Humane Society and the net proceeds will be given directly to the organization. The app was developed in conjunction with MindJolt’s Social Gaming Network, a game company that specializes in Facebook and mobile games. You can download Fluff Friends Rescue for free in the iTunes App Store, or play it on Facebook.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Best picks of domestic design
Home Works: Smart Solutions
Biscuit Tin, Dachshund USA wall clock, Ringware Dog Bowls, People Towels

Ringware Dog Bowls
The perfect solution for long-eared dogs, or others who need a slight “boost” off the floor. These ceramic bowls from Bauer Pottery combine classic design with contemporary appeal and come in two sizes: small (4" high, 4" wide at the top) and large (4.5" high, 5.5" wide at the top). Available in a rainbow of festive colors. $30/$38 Bauerpottery.com

Doxie Ticker 
This dashing Dachshund USA wall clock from Naked Décor is sure to brighten any room with its rustic charm. The orange, hand-silkscreened clock (made in the US) is 13" wide and 8" high. $49.95 Nakeddecor.com

Biscuit Tin
Just in time for holiday giving—a biscuit tin from NapaStyle, with a full-on vintage vibe: nostalgic artwork, timeworn distressing, sturdy handles and an aluminum gasket lid. Fill it full of homemade biscuits for your own pooch or as a thoughtful gift for another. $39 Napastyle.com

People Towels for Pet Lovers
Sustainable alternatives to the paper version, People Towels are made of 100 percent certified organic, fair-trade cotton and printed with eco-friendly dyes. Plus, $1 of every order of the 4 Legged Friends Gift Set (with its own little eco-sack) is donated to the HSUS. $15.99 Peopletowels.com

Culture: Reviews
Kurgo Newport Seat Cover
Bark Likes This
Kurgo Seat Cover

Who said you have to sacrifice style for functionality? Definitely not Kurgo. Kurgo’s sturdy Newport Seat Covers are everything you and your pooch need to travel in clean, comfortable style.

The easy-to-install covers keep your original car seats in perfect condition, while extra storage pockets help to organize all those other travel must-haves. Did we mention that the covers are waterproof and machine washable? Coastside romps here we come! Available for bucket or bench seats, price $40-$50.

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