For the final issue of 2014, we are tickled to have Hilary Swank (and her dogs, Rumi and Kai) on the cover. While it’s been our custom for all-dog covers, we’re going “All Star” here because we were inspired by Hilary’s co-producing a rescue extravaganza on Thanksgiving evening called Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Special. I talk with her about her rescue work and about how dogs have inspired her and what she is hoping for in this remarkable program. Be sure to tune into Fox from 8 to 10 that evening. We have been digging around for answers to questions that have long puzzled us. Have you ever wondered if gender factors into dog training—if women approach it differently than men? We did, so we asked our behavior specialist Karen London to look into it. Then there is the question of the why and when dogs became domesticated. While the definitive answer isn’t in yet, Jane Brackman reports researchers sing data gleaned from prehistoric burial sites to shed light on the millennia-old dog/human bond.
Then, there’s the sibling thing. When we’re looking at a passel of puppies, it’s so easy to think, Why not just take two? Jeff Stallings explores that question and we found his answer to be spot on.
Donna Jackel looks at the importance of shelter play groups, part of a recent program that gives dogs a chance to blossom and, one hopes, increases adoption rates. Another way of improving the lives of shelter dogs is covered by long-time columnist Lee Harrington, who focuses on her local shelter’s amazing Animal Reiki practitioner.
On the “dogs helping people” front, Amy Kantor, VMD, examines NYPD K-9 teams and the deep bonds police officers have with their canine partners, and contributing editor Rebecca Wallick follows a study that aims to answer the question, “Do sick children benefit from animal-assisted therapy?”
Rounding out this issue’s dog-pourri, Meghan Lewit shares a millennial’s perspective. And, Meghan Daum again graces us with her, “The Gift of a Great Dog,” and reminds us of the need to make room in our hearts. Kevin Roberts tells us what gets him jazzed about skijoring (thrilling at both ends of the bungee!), and we go up to the Arctic Circle with Leah McFail on a Husky-infused Lapland Workaway program. In the good-eats category, our “turkey-burger topper” recipe is nutritionally deconstructed, and we talk with esteemed cookbook editor (she was Julia Child’s editor) Judith Jones about home-cooking for herself and her pup. And, in what is likely a first for a dog magazine, we welcome our new comic book editor-at-large, Mark Peters, who recommends a well-drawn prizewinner written entirely in “dog.”
We know you’re busy making lists, and suggest you start at BarkGoods, our new store. We’ve gathered some of the best-designed, most useful products around, and we’re always expanding the offerings. Visit often and take advantage of our rewards program.
Finally, for a truly feel-good gift, pencil in time on your calendar for a visit to your local shelter: drop off toys or gently used collars and leashes, visit with the dogs, take one for a walk or, even better, foster. (Your dog might love a new playmate!)
We wish everyone a joyous and peace-filled season.
P.S. We are dedicating this issue to Dr. Sophia Yin, her work in positive reinforcement training affected the lives of untold thousands. Her generous and compassionate spirit is sorely missed. Please read tributes and recollections from those whose lives she touched.
Hilary Swank: Starring in All-Star Dog Special
Digging Up Bones: What can archeology tells us about the “connection” origins. By Jane Brackman, PhD
Men, Women and Dog Training: What’s gender have to do with it? By Karen B. London, PhD
Postscript: Grace Chon’s Zoey and Jasper.
Serious Play: Playgroups are enriching lives and reducing stress for dogs in shelters. By Donna Jackel
Growing Up: Millennials take on caring for another, furry, someone. By Meghan Lewit
Animal-Assisted Therapy: Do sick children benefit? By Rebecca Wallick
On The Job: NYPD’s K-9 teams are partnerships bound by loyalty. By Amy Kantor, VMD
The Arctic Circle, with Dogs: Volunteering with Huskies in Lapland. By Leah McFail
The Gift of a Great Dog: Recognizing the “one” but taking on another. By Meghan Daum