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Claudia Kawczynska

Claudia Kawczynska is The Bark's co-founder and Editor-in-Chief.

News: Editors
Vicktory Dogs Reunion
Coming together at Best Friends

In 2008 Best Friends Animal Society took in 22 dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. On March 11, six of the dogs and their families came together again at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to mark five years of freedom. Vicktory dogs. Watch Cherry, Handsome Dan, Halle, Little Red, Mel, Oscar and their families in their joyous reunion.

News: Editors
Oversized Dogs and The Chinese Who Love Them

There is a really interesting article posted on The Atlantic  site today about the popularity of large dogs in China. As the author Damien Ma notes, “Most Americans will likely have a preconceived notion of the Chinese relationship with dogs. When a developing country can barely take care of all its own people, animal rights tend to sit very low on the totem pole. But the reality is much more complicated, especially with a burgeoning dog culture associated with the rise of young urban elites with disposable income. “

Ma then interviews an American filmmaker who is making a film Oversized Dogs: Chinese Dog Laws and the People Who Break Them. The director, who remains nameless for now, has been interviewing Chinese dog lovers who, similar to many dog lovers in other countries, find laws pertaining their pets onerous at worst, and turning many into scofflaws . But this isn’t a simple examination of a rising middle class pleasure in having dogs and their attachment to pets, it really does say more about how societal attitudes in China are evolving. As the director remarks: “From this, I realized that Chinese individuals casually break laws everyday, and this constitutes a very subtle and interesting side of dissent.” Read the whole interview and find out more about this Chinese “secret dog society” and what it might portend for the future of dogs in the world’s most populous country.

 

 

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Consumer Alert Bravo! Raw Food Chicken Blend
Minnesota Department of Agriculture issues alert

Minnesota Department of Agriculture issues “consumer advisory” for two brands of raw pet food

Samples tested positive for Salmonella bacteria

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid feeding or handling two separate brands of poultry-based raw pet food after the MDA laboratory found Salmonella bacteria in routine sample tests. The brand varieties include:

Bravo! Raw Food Diet 2 lb. Chicken Blend for Dogs and Cats manufactured by Bravo!, LLC, of Manchester, Connecticut. This is a frozen pet food product with the production code of 06/14/12, which is located on the white tag on the end of the package. This advisory is for the 2 lb. size of Bravo! Chicken Blend with the “best used by date” of 6/12/14 only. No other products, sizes, or production dates are involved. For further information, contact the company at 1-866-922-9222.

Turducken Canine Diet 8oz. Patties, manufactured by Steve’s Real Food, Inc., of Murray, Utah. This is a frozen pet food product with the “Use By” date code of 10/27/13 B209, which is located on the lower front panel of package. For further information, contact the company at 801-540-8481 or gary@stevesrealfood.com.

There are no reports of human or animal illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Consumers are asked to discard any of these products they may have.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the product, and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated products. People handling contaminated raw pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.

Pets with Salmonella infections may exhibit decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed this product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Human symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps and fever. Symptoms usually begin within 12 to 72 hours after exposure, but can begin up to a week after exposure. Salmonella infections usually resolve in 5-7 days, but approximately 20 percent of cases require hospitalization. In rare cases, Salmonella infection can lead to death, particularly in the elderly or those with weakened immune systems. Anyone who has become ill after handling this product should see their health care provider.

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Recall: Jones Naturals Chews Woofers Dog Treats
Possible Salmonella

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 6, 2013 Jones Natural Chews Co (877) 481-2663 or (815) 874-9500

JONES NATURAL CHEWS CO RECALLS WOOFERS DOG TREATS BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE SALMONELLA HEALTH RISK Jones Natural Chews Co of Rockford, IL is recalling 245 boxes of Woofers (beef patties) because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling dry pet food and/or treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by Colorado Department of Agriculture Feed Program which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria.

The Jones Natural Chews Woofers were distributed in AZ, CA, CO, PA, VA, and WI. They were shipped to distributors and retailers between November 1, 2012 and November 12, 2012 where they were available for purchase.

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) bulk 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008169, Lot 2962GPS-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 2892PAL-Best By 10/15/15

***Woofers in bulk 50 count box may be sold individually***

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008657, Lot 3102, Best By 11/05/15.

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 1 pack shrink-wrap, 50 count box, Item UPC 741956008183, Lot 2892BF-Best By 10/15/15, Lot 2962PWV-Best By 10/22/15, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15, and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.

Jones Natural Chews Co Woofers (beef patties) 2pack shrink-wrap, 25ct box, item UPC 741956008190, Lot 2962ASC-Best By 10/22/15 and Lot 3032ASL-Best By 10/29/15.

No illnesses have been reported to date. Consumers who have purchased any of these woofers are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-481-2663, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM, Central Standard Time.

Ed. Note: This notice came to our attention from Susan Thixton's excellent blog The Truth About Pet Food and not from the FDA.

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Recall Alert: Diggin' Your Dog Strippin' Chicks Pet Treats
Distributed in Colorado and Nevada Due to Possible Salmonella Hazard
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 7, 2013 - Diggin' Your Dog™ announced today that they are voluntarily withdrawin one lot of its Strippin' Chicks™ Pet Treats produced on 8-30-12 because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The sample was obtained in Colorado and the company has accounted for its distribution in Colorado of this lot.

No other Diggin' Your Dog™ products, lots, or production dates are affected.

The lot being voluntarily withdrawn is: Strippin' Chicks™ Pet Treats 5 oz Bag. Lot Code 250322 Use By Date: 2-23-14.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Animals with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some animals will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your animals have consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Diggin' Your Dog™ takes the matter of consumer protection and safety very seriously and strives to deliver only the safest products available.

Diggin' Your Dog™ is committed to providing the highest-quality pet treats possible to their customers. As a precautionary measure, Diggin' Your Dog™ will continue to produce all products in very small, handmade lot batches.

No Other Diggin' Your Dog™ products are affected by this voluntary withdrawal. Customers who have purchased this lot code are urged to stop feeding the product to their pet, remove the lot code from the packaging, and discard the contents.

A full refund, plus $1.00 to cover postage will be received by mailing the UPC and lot code to:
Diggin Your Dog, LLC, PO Box 17306 Reno, NV 89511. All refunds will be processed within ten business days (plus postage time).

Diggin' Your Dog™ values the efforts of all agencies dedicated to the safety of the industry and is committed to consumer safety at all levels.

For questions or more information, contact Diggin' Your Dog™.
By phone at 775-742-7295 Mon-Fri 8:30AM - 4:00PM Pacific Standard Time
Email us at info@dydusa.com.

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Recall: Steve’s Real Food Turducken Canine Recipe Patties
Recalled Because of Posssible Health Risk

Steve’s Real Food Recalls Turducken Canine Recipe Patties Because of Posssible Health Risk

March 7, 2013 - Steve’s Real Food of Murray, Utah is recalling its 5 lb. bags of Turducken Canine Diet – 8oz. Patties due to potential contamination of Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and have these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

The recalled Turducken Canine Diet – 8oz Patties in a 5 lb. bag were distributed from October 2012 to January 2013 in retail stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, California, Minnesota and Tennessee.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The potential for contamination was noted after a routine sampling of one 5 lb. bag by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Production of the product has been suspended while the company and the FDA continue their investigation as to the source of the problem.

The product comes in 5 lb. green and cream-colored biodegradable film bags with lot number 209-10-27-13 with an expiration date of October 27, 2013.

Consumers who have purchased 5 lb. bags of Steve’s Real Food Turducken Canine Recipe are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions should contact the company at 801-540-8481 or gary@stevesrealfood.com Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm MST.

 

 

News: Editors
Pet Sellers Lobby

Few, outside of the pet “industry,” have probably heard of the trade organization PIJAC—Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council.  Part of their mission is to “ensure the availability of pets,”  [in pet stores] because, as one of their members notes on a promotional video, “... without the sale of pets, there is no pet industry.” PIJAC is about to host their annual meeting in Napa, California in April. Looking through their conference agenda was an eye opener. It leads off with what is sure to be a lively, but rather one-sided, panel discussion. (I called around to various national humane organizations but it doesn’t look like they were invited to share their views.)

The Future of Pets in Pet Stores
With a plethora of dog and cat retail sale bans confronting the nation, what does the future hold for pet stores selling live animals? Will retailers be able to sell goldfish and hamsters in the future? How does the sale of live animals affect a retailer’s bottom line? If pet stores can no longer sell pets, will pet populations decline (and therefore the need for pet food and pet products)? Find out the answers in this lively panel discussion.

It was interesting looking through their list of attendees, the Hunte Corporation (one of the largest puppy producing/mill businesses), is represented, as too is the lobbyist Rick Berman, of Humane Watch, aptly named because it mostly targets, i.e. “watches” the HSUS (see this New York Times article about Berman).

One of the many ways you can combat the lobbying power that groups like the PIJAC weld, is by supporting stores who sponsor or host pet adoptions from local shelters and rescue groups. Or by supporting programs like the ASPCA’s “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign aimed at reducing the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies. You can also tell your elected representatives to support The Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, that was recently reintroduced by U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and David Vitter (R-La.), Reps. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Bill Young (R-Fl.) and Lois Capps (D-Calif.). This bill will provide a measure of protection to dogs sold online. It would require commercial breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public, sight unseen, to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, only breeders who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers are subject to federal oversight (what there is of it) but breeders who sell directly to consumers, whether via the Internet, newspaper classifieds, or other outlets, are exempt from any federal oversight due to a “retail pet store” exemption.

 

 

 

 

Culture: DogPatch
SpaGo Dog Mobile Grooming
Q&A with Miki Chan of SpaGo Dog

From a corporate office to a mobile dog-grooming van may seem like a demotion, but for Miki Chan, San Francisco Bay Area owner/operator of SpaGo Dog and former insuranceindustry underwriter, it was a huge step up. For 15+ years, Chan devoted her time to the demands of her job. Then one day, her supervisor, who previously had worked for AIG for 25 years and lost most of his net worth when it collapsed, advised her to do what she loved. Taking his advice to heart, she began to plan a way to return to her dog-grooming roots.

Chan had grown up with dogs, and when she was in college earning a degree in computer science with a minor in business, had a part-time job with a groomer, and loved it. So she went back to grooming school, got certified and worked for others to update her skills. Her financial background and marketing insights led her to believe that people would support a grooming salon that came to them. Plus, she didn’t like putting dogs in cages, as happens in most brick-andmortar operations. A mobile set-up would be quiet, personal, relaxing and clean—spa-like, you might say.

Chan finds working with dogs to be joyful, and is gratified that she’s been able to help them by sharing information with their owners on brushing, dental care, and health issues that the grooming process can reveal, such as lumps, skin tags, ear infections and so on.

Besides the sheer pleasure of working with dogs, she’s also glad that she no longer has to deal with office politics, plead for time off or spend endless hours for the benefit of corporate shareholders. We asked if she had any tips for others considering a career change, particularly self-employment, and she shared a few with us. Before jumping, Chan recommends that people be sure they can support their preferred lifestyle (whatever that might be) without their previous paycheck. She also points out that knowing your target audience is crucial, as are time-management and customer-service skills. And being knowledgeable about what you’re doing is key to building trust.

The insurance world’s loss has been the dog world’s gain, and we’d bet the planet’s happiness quotient has gone up a few points as well.

Do you find that people are comfortable with the concept of a mobile groomer?
New clients are often unsure about our service … lots of worries and lots of questions. But once we put them at ease about the process, the wall comes down and you see them relax, and they’re happy to hand over their dog.

What’s a typical grooming session like?
The dogs are usually calm and relaxed. There are no other dogs to disturb them and they are not in a cage. I can sense they feel comfortable, as they can see their home right outside our van. While I’m grooming, I usually talk to the dogs about current issues or sing some song that’s stuck in my head. Yesterday, it was Call Me Maybe.

When it comes to nail trimming, black nails can be really difficult. What do you advise?
If the nails haven’t been trimmed for a while—two months or more—the quick may have grown closer to the tip, so trim slowly and take off just a bit at a time. Look for a black dot on the underneath of the nail; that’s where the quick ends. (See hqbullies.com for an excellent diagram of a dog’s nail.) And if you’re too anxious, have your vet or a groomer do it. (Editor’s note: Miki also puts the dogs up on a table; as groomer Robyn Michaels observed in our Summer 2012 issue, tables are enormously helpful, because being even a foot off the floor shifts dogs to a different mindset.)

What kinds of things do you see most often?
I see a lot of dogs each month and it seems to me that they have more lumps and skin tags than normal. I can’t speculate what’s causing it, but most of the clients I speak to about it have put flea products on their dogs for years.

News: Editors
Buried Treasure

The missing socks caper has been solved. This morning I was catching up on Spring weeding, when I spied a strange blue object peeking out from under the wet soil. Much to my delight it turned out to be one, of the many, socks that have gone missing recently. This one actually disappeared earlier in the morning as I was dressing for the dog walk—but came up minus one “Falke” hiking sock (a sturdy brand from Germany).  I thought that the culprit could be our little Charlie who, for a while, would sneak off with a sock and hide it in dog-bed cushions, or, at times, would simply sleep cuddled up with one. How sweet is that? So I looked in all the usual spots but came up with nada. Taking his finds outside and burying them is a new feat for my precious Terrier. Hopefully further weeding will unearth more socks, and, who knows, what else.

Beyond bones and balls, have your dogs ever buried stolen treasures? Would love to hear your stories! The photo, by the way, is a re-enactment that Charlie enjoyed posing for especially since I rewarded him by letting him carry the purloined sock back into the house.

 

 

News: Editors
Please Don't Treat My Dog

If you go to dog parks, I am sure you have run into this problem—people who give your dog treats without first asking your permission. I had a run-in this morning over such an offering.

The park that we go to is around 25 acres, with ridges and swales, easy for a dog to be nearby but be hidden from your view. Being able to spot my dogs even though they are off sniffing or playing with others, is important to me. What I don’t like is for well-intentioned humans to provide “incentives,” in the forms of treats, as I am trying to call to my dogs and instill reliable recalls. This morning that is exactly what happened, with the same person who has been “treating” Kit for some time now. This time I was close enough to her to ask her politely to please not treat my dog. Her reaction? She blew up at me, and wouldn’t let me finish explaining how important it is for Kit not to run to her when she sees her (or even hears her dogs), knowing that she will get a treat, and that only enforces a behavior (running off sometimes at a great distance) that I am trying hard to redirect. The “treater” seemed insulted that I brought this up. 

A long time ago, when I was new to the whole dog-walking scene—years before I helped to establish the off leash area we were at this morning—I was one of those “treat” ladies. I loved that dogs seem to respond to me … and my homemade liver treats! Who doesn’t enjoy having a group of dogs sitting around you, waiting politely for a reward? But even then, I would first ask permission.  I realize that I overplayed that a bit and realize now that there is a whole host of reasons not to feed someone else’s dog including how it might impact training, health, diet, etc.

Obviously there are exceptions as well. When we first got our under-socialized, fearful pups from a Southern shelter, I would ask others at the park to treat them, even providing them with treats. This helped ease the pups’ fear of humans. It also quickly made them into little roly-polies, so I would substitute kibble for treats and kept track of how many they got as “treats,” subtracted that from their regular meals.

To treat or not to treat other dogs—let me hear what you think.

 

 

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