We’re about to usher in fall, our very favorite season, and are so relieved to bid farewell to summer’s hot, slow days. Like yours, no doubt, our dogs really do seem to perk up in the crisp autumn air. We have an especially content-rich issue for you. Among our new contributors is Sara Greenslit, DVM, who will be covering the integrative veterinary front; she leads off with an article on the “hot” topic of the gut and about its relationship to inflammatory bowel disease. Jessica Hekman, DVM, looks into the studies that examining the reliability of behavior-assessment tests, which many shelters use to make life-and-death decisions about a dog’s future. Martha Connors takes a look at current thinking on spay/neuter; while in terms of the big picture, it’s certainly the most effective way to reduce the number of homeless dogs, individual dog guardians now have other options and issues to consider.
Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Laurel Braitman, author of the highly recommended book Animal Madness; we talked about her investigations into commonalities in mental health issues among humans, canines and other species. Another first-time Bark contributor, Jessica Miller, looks at anxious-dog behavior and provides pointers on how to navigate life with a nervous pup, while Karen London addresses the commonly held belief that all fearful dogs have been abused (hint: not true).
Our happy cover dogs, Indie and Bogart, the Beagles, are poster pups for the successful rehoming of lab dogs, and for canine resiliency. They highlight our feature piece by Konnie LeMay reporting on the Beagle Freedom Project, a rescue group that works with the friendly, gentle dogs so commonly used as test subjects; many of the group’s charges, who have spent their lives in kennels, have never walked on grass or had any loving attention from a human. We welcome this opportunity to showcase the work being done by many humane groups in supporting legislation that allows for rehoming of lab companion animals.
It’s great to have acclaimed writer Susan Straight back in the magazine with her account of how an ordinary dog walk along the river turned into a too-close-for-comfort encounter with her dog’s canid cousins. Ben Spencer recalls a white-knuckle race to the vet ER with his bee-stung pup, and Ellen Cooney reveals a secret training technique she employed with her rescue dog (be sure to pick up her new novel, Mountaintop School for Dogs, one of our year’s-best lit picks).
We hope you enjoy this, our 79th issue, and stick around for many more. Explore all things dog, check out our new store, Barkgoods.com, and spread the word that The Bark is the best place to celebrate the world’s oldest friendship! On that front, we would like to thank all of our “fans” who pushed our Facebook page up to, and beyond 280,000—with your help, let’s see if that mark can be doubled by 2015!
Testing the Tests: Just how accurate are behavioral assessment tests? By Jessica Hekman, DVM
Life After the Lab: The Beagle Freedom Project helps ease retired lab Beagles into new lives. By Konnie LeMay
Spay & Neuter Quandary: Weighing the new options. By Martha Connors
Naturally Fearful: Not all “scaredy” dogs have been mistreated. By Karen B. London, PhD
The Hale Hound: Feeding your dog for life. By Kathryn Schneider
A Lesson From Pulp Fiction: Being a movie buff pays off when a pup is stung by a bee. By Ben Spencer
The Great Coyote Choir at the Santa Ana River: A surprising encounter with “other” canids. By Susan Straight
Maxine and the B-Word: Learning that life can be good. By Ellen Cooney
Howl: Letter to My Ex-Dog By Mike Foster
Jaime Wyeth: On View. By Susan Tasaki