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Painted Dogs
Will wild dogs by another name smell sweeter?

Not long ago I went to a networking event for writers where one of my younger colleagues asked me about my brand. My brand? I hadn’t really thought of myself as needing a label, and from the sound of it, I am very much mistaken. The savvy wordsmith handed me three distinct business cards—each reflecting a certain niche. And I could see the logic of her sell. In these tough times, image management may be a key to success for writers.

 

Writers aren’t the only creatures that can benefit from better branding. A new name may be key to saving endangered African wild dogs. According to Nicholas D. Kristof’s column in today’s New York Times, a conservationist in Zimbabwe is rebranding the misunderstood and unloved predators as “painted dogs.” The new name is just exotic and poetic enough it could improve the dogs’ conservation odds. With only a few thousand left in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and South Africa, let’s hope it works.

 

Oh, and before you go imagining your Catahoula Leopard Dog is related. Kristof explains that while dogs split from wolves in the last 30,000 years. Wild dogs shared a common ancestor with wolves about six million years ago.

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by retrieverman | April 20 2010 |

I've been calling them "painted wolves," because that is the direct translation of their scientific name. Lycaon is derivative of the Greek word for wolf, and pictus means painted in Latin.

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