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Culture: Reviews
Book Review: Zen and the Art of Dog Walking

A quie t and moving ref lect ion on t he transformative relationship we have with our dogs. A walk around a country lake/ holds our attention/an abandoned pup is found by a young son/a family grows/ adventures begin/walking/reflections. Bo and his man/so much to discover. A delightful “cathartic” experience with photos that draw the reader in, inspiring our thoughts too. This is a special book that dog lovers will appreciate.

Culture: Reviews
Two Dogs and a Parrot

This small volume of “lessons” and ref lections is written by a Benedictine nun who loves and appreciates animals. In it, she illuminates the signif icance that dogs and other pets have had in her life. Each chapter begins with a story of what an animal did to inspire qualities such as acceptance, purpose, enjoyment, empathy and diversity (plus many others). Each vignette is followed by a consideration of the importance those qualities should have in our lives. Not surprisingly, the book is constructed much like a sermon, but one that’s offered with a very tender, and at times humorous, tone.

In her introduction, she relates how “spiritually profound” she finds the question of “what it means to be entrusted with nature, to live with a pet.” She also notes that there are two creation stories in Genesis. The more widely known suggests that humans were assigned “dominion” over other living creatures and nature. The other, she points out, tells us that animals were brought to Adam to be named; her take on this may differ from what many others have interpreted as having “power over them.”

The second creation story is actually older than the first, and Chittister construes it more generously—she feels that to name “is an act of relationship, not dominance.” She also makes the important point that if we look at a creation story as a relationship tale, it “inserts us into the animal world and animals into ours—with everything that implies about interdependence.” The book goes on to illustrate this perfectly. You don’t need to be spiritually inclined to find significance in it and to take inspiration from it.

Culture: Reviews
Book Review: Killing Trail

Foiling drug trafficking in Colorado’s high country keeps Deputy Mattie Lou Cobb and Robo, her K9 partner, on the run. But when Robo alerts to another, more ominous, scent—the remains of a teenage girl— the stakes get higher. The tightly plotted puzzle, which also involves a local vet, his daughter and a town’s dark secrets, scrolls out from there. Mizushima not only has a deft touch with dialogue, she’s also done her homework on the training and handling of law-enforcement dogs. This debut novel, with its bright, dedicated human and canine protagonists, is a promising first entry in what we hope becomes a series.

News: Editors
Something to Bark About
An Encore Performance by Crypton and William Wegman
New additions to the William Wegman Pet Collection by Crypton—throvers—blankets featuring the artist’s drawings; Wegman and Flo (right).

Randy Rubin, co-founder of Crypton, launched the company’s first line of pet products back in 2004 in an inspired collaboration with artist William Wegman. A dozen years later, Rubin and Wegman are at it again with a brand new line of canine home products by Crypton. 

Renowned for his whimsical photographic portraits of Weimaraners, Mr. Wegman is also famous for his work in a variety of media—photography, video, painting and as an author. For decades, while Wegman was creating art in New York, Crypton was at work in the heartland, revolutionizing commercial fabric with the introduction of a patented process that produces a virtually indestructible, stain and odor-resistant material appropriately named Crypton Super Fabric. They’ve also launched soft, luscious Crypton Home Fabric, using a new performance technology especially for residential interiors, offered by major furniture and home fabric brands in stores and showrooms from coast to coast.

 

Wegman provides the art and Crypton supplies the science with their permanent stain resistance properties—ensuring neither microbes or odors penetrate these dog beds. Crypton founder Randy Rubin (right).

 

The creative collaboration between the textile innovator and the downtown visual artist has proven hugely successful, with a visual style that is once recognizable and inspired. Combining the ultimate in function and aesthetics, the resulting beds, pillows and throws (christened Throvers) are elegant, bold and sturdy...fulfilling the must-have checklist for stylish dog lovers. The line is offered exclusively at crypton.com. 

Culture: Reviews
Book Review: Sire and Damn

We always welcome a new work from Susan Conant, one of the founding “dams” (along with Carol Lea Benjamin) of the dog mystery subgenre. A lover of all dogs, but with a special fondness for Malamutes, Conant has written another intriguing tale full of dogs, wit and keen insights into the foibles and follies of human behavior. Holly Winter’s good friend is getting married, and amid the hubbub and multitudes of visiting relatives, the bride’s dog is stolen. Not only that, a burglar is killed and a service dog might be next on the hit list. But as always, Holly and her fearless Rowdy not only solve the crime, they also prevent another from happening.

Culture: Reviews
Book Review: Considerations for the City Dog

One would expect that a Boston-based, certified dog trainer’s first book would be about training a dog for city life, but McGrath’s is not a training guide. Instead, she explores bigger and broader subjects: how to be a responsible urban dog person and how to ensure that our relationships with our dogs are successful and fulfilling. She takes on subjects like breaches in dog-owner etiquette and other societal challenges that normally don’t come up in basic training class. We owe it to our dogs to read this resource-rich, highly informative handbook. As McCue-McGrath reminds us, we need to “know where they are coming from and what they need, and how to make their lives better,” which includes living in harmony with others in our communities.

Culture: Reviews
Book Review: The Drifter

Although this debut thriller isn’t about a dog per se, it does have a memorable and wellconceived canine character. Mingus, a large and rather ferocious dog, is hiding under a porch, awaiting his owner’s return when he is discovered by ex-marine Peter Ash. Ash is a war veteran plagued with his own devils who nonetheless works to help other vets and their families. Mingus lends his ample talents to assist Ash in his mission in this gripping, action-packed novel.

Culture: Reviews
Book Review: Sit! Stay! Speak!

This author has much to recommend her to Bark readers, including her decade-long work in animal rescue and this charming debut novel. Sit! Stay! Speak! introduces us to a troubled young woman, Addie Andrews, who relocates from Chicago to a small town in Arkansas after her fiancé tragically dies just before their wedding. She inherits her aunt’s house, which is sorely in need of her DIY skills. As she tries to find solace in restoration work, she is drawn out of her self-imposed seclusion when she finds a bedraggled Pit pup who needs her kindness and love even more. This is a touching and engaging book about friendships, family and the power of dogs to inspire changes in our lives.

Dog's Life: Humane
Vet Ranch to the Rescue
Compassion in Action

Vet Ranch is a place where homeless animals come to be cured of treatable injuries or diseases that would otherwise result in their euthanasia. The brainchild of Matt Carriker, DVM, it’s solidly positioned at the intersection of technology and old-fashioned compassion in action. The young vet (Class of ’08) videos the animals he and his associates help— from the time they’re brought in, through their treatment, until they’re completely healthy and ready to be adopted—then posts the videos on YouTube. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, the videos give rescue a face—and a wagging tail. Vet Ranch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and all donations go directly to the cost of treating at-risk animals. 

News: Editors
Shelter Hero: Lisa Prince Fishler
Capturing the Essence of Shelter Dogs in Pictures

Lisa Prince Fishler is an artist who has always connected deeply with animals. A professional photographer who lives in the Hudson Valley, N.Y., Lisa was inspired to volunteer her services by her rescue dog Iggy whom she calls her “soul dog.” Iggy introduced Lisa to the plight of medium and large shelter dogs, especially those labeled “Pit Bull,” who are sometimes overlooked or passed by due to tragic amounts of misinformation and mythology. 

One of the first organizations Lisa volunteered with was the Animal Farm Foundation, a group dedicated to securing equal opportunity for Pit Bull dogs in New York. Lisa was tasked with photographing dogs up for adoption—capturing their personalities, their individualism and endearing qualities in a single portrait. The challenge was to catch the eye (and heart) of potential adopters as they clicked through online galleries or caught sight of adoptable dogs in flyers or ads. Few shelters have the time, resources or talent pool to capture their animals to best effect.

It was through this work that Lisa discovered a clear way to combine her passions—animals, art and activism—to offer a solution. A natural collaborator, she wanted to cultivate a united community of artists who could shine a light on pets in need and be a voice for animals all over the world. Lisa soon discovered many people with the same passion, and thus, HeARTs Speak was born. 

Today, HeARTs Speak is home to nearly 600 professional artist members in 47 states and 19 countries, all providing their services pro bono to animal welfare organizations. In addition, HeARTs Speak is expanding the reach of its network to more shelters around the country via the Perfect Exposure Project, a comprehensive, 2-day photography and marketing workshop. The project equips shelter staff and volunteers with fresh marketing knowledge and creative inspiration, covering everything from photography techniques to bio writing and social media.

HeARTs Speak’s mission is to harness the power of creativity and collaboration in order to increase the number of animals saved through adoption. Lisa and her fellow artists are working hard to capture homeless animals in the best possible light and show the world the beauty, loyalty and unconditional love that exists in shelters across the globe.

For some tips on taking good shelter dog photographs, click here.

 

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