News: Guest Posts
June 23 2017
Dog's name and age: Scout, 10 years old
I first spotted Scout and his brother on a bike ride in South Texas; they were puppies abandoned in a ditch on the side of the road. I went back to look for them in my car after my ride and spotted Scout bravely exploring his surroundings while his brother was laying low. I figured I'd just drop them off at the local shelter. When I saw the condition they were in up close, I knew they wouldn't have a chance in the city shelter due to severe overcrowding our area was facing. I decided get them checked by a vet, get them healthy and find homes for them myself. Scout never made it out of my house. The name Scout just seemed like the right name for a bold puppy!
More on Scout:
Scout loves attention, chasing and barking at birds, being chased by his sister Gracie (a Great Pyr mix who is 11) and belly rubs. Scout has many tricks, but the best thing he does is come get me when Gracie doing something she's not supposed to!
What are Scouts's nicknames?
Bubba, Bubba Boy, Scooter, Barky Bark, and best of all, Sweet Pea because that's what he is.
News: Guest Posts
June 16 2017
Dog's name and age: Maggie, 14 years old
Originally from Minnesota, Maggie's previous person couldn't keep her, so she was given to the rescue group Washington State Setter Rescue. Living in Seattle at the time, Maggie's soon-to-be people and their beagle were excited to meet her so they scheculed a visit. Maggie, then known as "Mcgyver", and her foster mom came over for a meet and greet and it was love at first sight! Everyone in the family knew it was a perfect match.
Tasty treats, taking up the whole couch, and doing tricks like high-fives.
News: Guest Posts
June 9 2017
Dog's name and age: Lexi, 4 years Adoption Story: After deciding they absolutely needed to have a dog in their life, Lexi's people adopted her through a local rescue group. On the way home, they discussed names and they settled on Lexi as being the one they both loved. Lexi's Person Writes: Lexi is so precious, sweet and adorable that she makes my heart melt. I thank God for her every day that she's in my life. She is my child. My world. I love her so much.
Summer of Love Redux
June 5 2017
To help you tap into some good vibrations this summer, we chose “Journey” as our issue’s theme, trippin’ in both the metaphorical and the literal sense. To start off, we’ve packed this issue full of reasons for you and your dog to get out and about. We have 51 tips for exploring with your dogs, from “California to the New York Island.” We also give a special nod to Austin for its five-star dog friendliness, as well as to New Mexico’s Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, where guests relax while helping with the socialization of future assistance dogs.
If you’re thinking about wandering overseas, you’ll be inspired by a Belgian photographer work at Thailand’s Headrock Dogs Rescue, where he contributed his talents during a working “volunteer vacation.” For our literature coverage—what would summer be without lots of good reading material?—we travel with author Laura Schenone as she covers the stories and meets the people who started Greyhound rescue in Ireland and beyond. We dip into our archives to bring back Michelle Huneven’s essay, “Lala the Loot,” from our anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her story, about a charming little dog whose cuteness inspires others to snatch her, has a happy ending, so be prepared to smile. In another entry with a journey theme, Laurie Priest tells us how a kayak vacation to Baja California’s Sea of Cortez netted her a honey of a dog, along with an amazingly complicated return trip with the dog to her home in Massachusetts. Dana Shavin’s essay, “There Is Now Only This,” comes with another twist—how being dogless just doesn’t feel right. Finally, our “Backstory” features a man who traveled into outer space with the support of his pups, whom he considered to be his family.
On the department front, we learn why bite inhibition matters and how it develops; plus pro pointers on starting a rescue; and the history of the R.E.A.D. program, which is now in just about every country, and how it came to be. We look at another reason to consider getting a doggy-pack for our dog; how research into human color blindness was helped by a Poodle aptly named Retina; new treatments for arthritis; and we interview the star and writer of “Downward Dog,” a new TV comedy we hope hits it big.
+50 Ideas for Fun this Summer: Pondering a getaway this season? Bark editors offer up a tip for every state in the union.
The Dogs of Avalon. Introducing the amazing activists who are fighting to save Greyhounds worldwide. By Laura Schenone
Headrock Dogs Rescue: Photographic essay on international travel with a purpose.
Honey’s Story: A Journey of Many Blessings. A vacation in Mexico opens doors, and hearts, to a stray dog. By Laurie Priest.
Lala the Loot: How a small dog charms many people who want to claim her for their own. By Michelle Huneven
There is Now Only This. Dogs can help shape our lives and give it greater meaning. By Dana Shavin
Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy DeForest This this dog-loving artist’s first full career retrospective. By Cameron Woo
It’s a Dog’s Life
ASSISTANCE DOGS: A trip to Sunrise Springs Spa Resort’s Puppy Enrichment Center.
By K.M. Burke
TRAVEL: Austin is a mighty dog-friendly place.
By Susan Tasaki
RESEARCH: Baby Face The allure of cute dogs.
By Jamie Hale, PhD
TELEVISION: Downward Dog
Interview with lead actress and show writer about their entertaining, must-watch hit program.
By Cameron Woo
RESEARCH: Eye to Eye
By Erica Goss
HEALTH: Pain Management New treatments for canine arthritis are on the horizon.
By Sarah Wooten, DVM
THERAPY DOGS: See Spot Read
Dog listeners do wonders for a child’s reading skills.
By Ernest L. Abel, PhD
RESCUE: Starting Your Own Dog Rescue: Six Golden Rules
BEHAVIOR: Bite Inhibition Matters
A soft mouth can be the difference between life and death for dogs.
By Karen B. London, PhD
The Dogs of Avalon: The Race to Save Animals in Peril; The Right Side
Endpiece: A Love Letter By H. Lovelyn Bettison
Guest Editorial: Greyhound Prison Program
In Lieu of Gifts: Wedding gifts for a greater purpose.
Summertime Reading Picks
Dog-Eared: La Rose
Kitchen Tricks: New treat making equipment + recipes.
Smiling Dogs: Readers’ Favorite and Always Irresistible
A Dog Needs a Pack by Heather McKinnon
News: Guest Posts
June 2 2017
Dog's name and age: Cassie, 3 years
Cassie, was waiting for a forever home at a rescue group in the Sacramento, CA area. Her soon-to-be people had made an appointment to meet another dog that day, but that dog had been adopted just before they arrived. Lucky for Cassie, they found her so friendly with other dogs and people with such a big heart it won them over!
Cassie loves meeting her friends at the Rescues United For Fun (RUFF) Meetup at either Pt. Isabel or Crissy Field, in California. It's this group that has given her the title of "social director" since she shares her love with all! Cassie willingly shares toys, food, and water since it's the interaction she enjoys the most.
She has a best friend and role model, Max, a golden retriever that she adores and plays tug of war with, and she admires her walking buddy, Duke, a labrador, and his human, Michelle. She also loves her neighbor, Mary. Cassie will run at breakneck speed 2 blocks to jump in the mail truck when she sees Jim, the mailman coming.
Cassie loves to go for rides in the car because there are always new people to meet when they stop. When she goes outside, she smells the flowers blooming on the back step before continuing on her way. Like most dogs, she loves digging in the sand and running on the beach. She likes meeting people on the street in San Francisco. And, nothing would make her happier than meeting you and your dog!
May 31 2017
On May 12, The Bark had the pleasure of hosting author W. Bruce Cameron for a special Q&A on Facebook. Cameron is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author with several books to his credit, including A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey. His newest book, A Dog’s Way Home (Forge Books), was released in early May, and Cameron shared his thoughts on his new work as well as on one of his favorite subjects: dogs.
Bark: Tell us about A Dog’s Way Home …
W. Bruce Cameron: A Dog’s Way Home is a story of utter devotion, of a bond between a person and a dog, a bond so powerful that the dog will do literally anything to be with her human family. Bella is a rescue and Lucas, a young man, is her whole world. When Bella is banned from the city in which they are living (she is a Pit mix) and relocated hundreds of miles away, she decides a mistake has been made and sets off on a multi-year trek through the Rocky Mountain wilderness to find Lucas.
Bark: Is it fair to say it’s a little different than your previous books?
W. Bruce Cameron: I’m told that A Dog’s Way Home is rapidly turning into a reader favorite. I think it has to do with the lack of fantastical elements! In the “A Dog’s Purpose” series, there is the reincarnating dog; in Emory’s Gift, there is a bear who may or may not be real. In the “Repo” series, a man has the voice of a ghost in his head. But A Dog’s Way Home is a very realistic story about a dog separated from her people who needs to find her way back to them. Could happen—in fact, DOES happen—all the time.
Bark: For us dog people, the fear of being separated from our dogs is always at the back of our minds, isn’t it?
W. Bruce Cameron: I once had a dog—her name was Chinook—who was lost for seven days. She hopped the fence in a thunderstorm. She was eventually found by a farmer, who called in response to my newspaper ad. She was 50 MILES away.
Bark: What inspired you to write about this particular subject? Do you have a special interest in breed-ban laws and the work canines do with veterans? Is there a story behind the canine character being a Pit Bull?
W. Bruce Cameron: My dog Tucker gave me most of the ideas, or at least, that’s what he’s been telling people. I’m not a political agitator, but I just don’t believe Americans want their government telling them what kind of dogs they can own, especially when the law is about how dogs look, not how they behave. It is as ludicrous as arresting someone because he looks like a criminal.
I am proud of and grateful to our men and women in uniform—they have made great sacrifices for our country. Some have had experiences that left them with injuries, not all of which are physical. Dogs can be wonderful in helping veterans cope with and recover from trauma.
I have met many Pit Bulls and Pit mixes and generally find them to be among the most gentle and loving of breeds—though, let’s face it, the majority of dogs are gentle, loving and devoted.
Bark: Your books often involve a journey, sometimes of the heart, sometimes a physical journey. In A Dog’s Way Home, a 400-mile trek is at the center of the story. Can you talk about the role journeys play in your storytelling?
W. Bruce Cameron: My novels look at characters who evolve over time and distance. In this new book, Bella is an entirely different animal at the end of the trek than she was when she started out.
Bark: What message do you want people to take from your “A Dog’s Purpose” series?
W. Bruce Cameron: I guess it’s that dogs need us and we need them. That the ones we rescue, rescue us. That without us, they are lost creatures and they need our love, our help and our kindness.
News: Guest Posts
May 26 2017
Dog's name and age: Stanley, 1 year
After their fourteen-year-old dog Sparky died, they knew they would eventually want another dog. The name Stanley was decided upon, it was just a matter of finding him. The family was continually look at the Humane Society's website looking for their Stanley. One day this past summer the family went to the Humane Society to visit the available dogs. When they met this dear dog the family agreed that they found their Stanley!
Stanley loves going to work with his dad who helps transport elderly and underprivileged people to their doctor's appointments. Stanley loves riding in the van and his passengers get a kick out of it.
News: Guest Posts
May 19 2017
Dog's name and age: Huey, 6 years old
At the shelter when he was surrendered, Huey's person-to-be was instantly smitten with the one-year-old pup. She rocketed out the door to go home to talk to family about the potential adoption. Everyone agreed right away but by that time the shelter had closed. First thing the next morning, she raced back to the shelter to secure the adoption. She found another couple was at the shelter for the same reason. After a cordial, but spirited discussion, the shelter manager ruled in her favor. There were handshakes all around. Huey has had a huge impact on many people since then!
More about Huey:
Huey goes by the nicknames "Chick Magnet" and "Pumpkin".
He was named after a well known 80's band Huey Lewis and the News.
He's the middle dog in his family.
News: Guest Posts
May 12 2017
Dog's name and age: Mojo, 7 years Adoption Story: Mojo was found in New Orleans in the Faubourg Marigny area of town. A Dogs of the 9th Ward rescuer found him cut up and afraid and thankfully took him in. She nursed him back to health and when I saw his before and after shots, I cried. My husband after looking at the photos thought he had a lot of mojo (charisma) and the rest is history. He is the best snuggling dog ever. More Mojo: Mojo loves to catch sticks at his favorite beach and sun on the porch. He is so loyal and affectionate. He really lets you know how much he loves you with a slurpy kiss, lying on top of you while watching TV and just by always being by your side.
We discuss Patricia McConnell's new book, The Education of Will.
May 12 2017
In her new book, The Education of Will, animal behavior pro Patricia McConnell goes somewhat off script, or at least, off the script that her readers have been enthusiastically following over the course of more than a dozen books and booklets she’s authored/ coauthored over the years. In it, she explores the ways early trauma can affect a dog’s behavior, and most certainly affected her own.
Bark: Do you think you would have recognized your need for therapy if Willie hadn’t been such a troubled dog?
Patricia McConnell: There is no question that my reaction to Willie’s behavior forced me to recognize that, although I had worked hard in therapy years before, I still had a long way to go to resolve the baggage from my past. I am eternally grateful to him for that. Willie’s fears and reactivity brought out many of my own, and at one point, I realized that I either had to find him another home or dig deeper to resolve the fear and shame I had buried for decades. As a form of therapy and self-awareness, one of the things I did to recover was to write about things that had happened to me. It was only after reading the works of others—including After Silence by Nancy Venable Raine, Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, and Daring Greatly by Brené Brown —that I began to think about turning my writing into a memoir. I felt that if my story could help one person as much as those books helped me, it would be worth the five years it took me to complete it.
Bk: You write about the “chilling” anger that Willie expressed, but there are some who would dispute that a dog can feel true anger. What makes you certain that’s what Willie was displaying?
PM: Anger is an extremely primitive emotion, and is regulated in the brain and body of all mammals by the same anatomy and physiology found in humans. As I say in For the Love of a Dog, neurobiologist Dr. John Ratey calls anger “the second universal emotion.” Scientists who work with a vast range of mammalian species, from primates to mice, rarely hesitate to describe individual mammals as being angry. In addition, facial expressions of fear and anger are similar in people and dogs. Fearful faces have widened eyes, often with dilated pupils, and the corners of the mouth are retracted. Angry faces have narrowed, “cold” eyes, and the corners of the mouth are pushed inward. That’s the face that Willie displayed on occasion, looking exactly like the human faces of anger studied by psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman.
Of course, we can’t know that dogs experience the emotions of fear and anger as we do. We have a more connections between the pre-frontal cortex and our amygdala and hippocampus, which no doubt allow us to mediate emotion with reason. But in people and dogs, the feeling of being afraid or angry is probably more similar than different, because it has the same inherent function—to protect us from danger.
But, it is indeed possible for a dog to be angry, even though I would argue that centuries of domestication have made that a relatively rare event. What’s important is to not confound what people call “aggression” with anger. Aggression is an action, not an emotion, and most behavior that is labeled as aggressive is indeed based on fear. My dog Willie was both a bundle of fear and one of those uncommon dogs who appeared to be overcome with rage in certain situations. That was part of why it took so long and so much work to turn him around.
Bk: You note that excessive sniffing might indicate future aggressive tendencies. Have any studies been done on this?
PM: I know of no study that has investigated a relationship between vigorous sniffing behavior and intraspecific aggression, but that would be a fantastic topic for a dissertation. I’ve seen correlations between obsessive sniffing and dog-dog aggression cases in my office for more than 15 years, and have also heard other trainers and behaviorists refer to it. Maybe this will inspire someone to do the research.
Bk: You also mention the enteric nervous system, what some have called the “brain in the gut.” Could there have been a connection between Willie’s digestion troubles and his behavioral problems?
PM: Absolutely! This is another issue that begs for more research. Many trainers and behaviorists have seen correlations between behavioral problems related to fear or reactivity and an unsettled gut.
Bk: Do you think we burden dogs with our own expectations?
PM: I do worry about our current expectations of dogs. Not just as individuals who we want to fill so many varied social roles, but also as individuals whose behavior is supposed to be, well, almost perfect. I remember the day when a parent’s response to child being bitten was, “What did you do to that dog? Didn’t I tell you not to bother her when she’s eating?” I’m not saying we should go back to the “good old days,” because they weren’t always so good—not for us or for dogs. And I love so much of the current focus on both science and soul in training, exemplified by what we read in Bark magazine. But I do worry that we are imposing expectations on dogs that are as much a burden as an opportunity.
Bk: As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we will be asking dog-world luminaries to comment on what they consider to be the biggest advancements/changes they’ve witnessed in dogdom during the past two decades. What’s your take?
PM: First, let me say what a joy and an honor it’s been to contribute to The Bark magazine throughout the years! I think the success of the magazine is the perfect reflection of how our relationship with dogs has become richer and more nuanced than it was in the past. It’s also a symbol of what I think is perhaps the most important difference in dogdom: the acknowledgment that canine behavior and our relationship with dogs are important and legitimate research topics.
When I defended my dissertation in 1988, one of my committee members said, “Well done. I didn’t know anyone could actually do any decent science that involved dogs.” And look at where we are now! Our relationship with dogs is one of the world’s most miraculous and also one of the most interesting, and we can learn from it for decades and decades to come. Thank you, Bark, for helping make dogs, and dog behavior, the focus of both art and science.
Well done indeed!
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