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Julia Kamysz Lane

Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

News: Guest Posts
What If Your Dogs Outlive You?
Tragedy leaves four dogs grieving and homeless.

This past Labor Day, suburban Chicago couple Mike and Sue Kelm went for a motorcycle ride. Sue had been battling cancer and was scheduled for surgery later that week. She usually didn't ride with her husband, but it seemed like a nice way to enjoy some time together on a beautiful, warm day. Tragically, a car pulling out of a gas station hit and killed them, leaving behind their beloved pack of dogs. The Kelms did not have children of their own; their niece, Kim Mayer, said her aunt and uncle's four dogs--Lab mixes Anacortes, Tacoma and Everett, and Husky mix Cedonia--"were their children."

 

In the event of their death, it was the Kelms' wish that all four dogs be kept together. Unfortunately, none of their relatives or friends are in a position to do so and they are seeking help from the dog lover community. The dogs are currently in the care of Chicago Canine Club, a doggie daycare facility in Burr Ridge, IL. If you or someone you know would be interested in helping the Kelm pack stay together, please contact Kathy Deets at the Chicago Canine Club at (708) 542-8969 or Kathy@chicagocanineclub.com. Or contact Kim Mayer at (815) 272-4583 or mayerdnk72@hotmail.com.

 

I always tell my husband that we need to make plans for our five dogs and two cats should something ever happen to us. But we never do; we make excuses, saying that we're only in our 30s or assume that our family members will take in our zoo, so why bother with paperwork? I know we need to do it. What provisions have you made for your animals in case you can no longer care for them? What is your advice for people (like me!) who have not done the same? 

News: Guest Posts
Sept. 13 Is Worldwide Vick Protest Day
Protesters plan peaceful march to give voice to victims of dogfighting.

This Sunday, Sept. 13, dog lovers are expected to gather outside stadiums throughout the country to protest Michael Vick's reinstatement in the NFL. Chicago area participants will meet at Soldier's Field Gate 14 at 12 p.m. Nicole Milligan of Long Road Home Pit Bull Rescue has organized a protest outside Panther's Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Meet at 11 a.m. at the corner of Stonewall and Mint. Other cities include New York City, Des Moines and Philadelphia. Participants are asked to be polite and peaceful; no posters depicting vulgar or racist language are permitted. To find out if a protest will be held in your city or to help organize one, contact Dan Meagher at vickprotest@yahoo.com or Nicole Miligan at vickprotestclt@yahoo.com. 

News: Guest Posts
Must See (Dog) TV
Two adoptable dogs keep it real!

There's something to be said for truth in advertising! A volunteer with the SPCA in Canada appeared on a local news program to increase awareness of the shelter's adoptable dogs. She brought along two beautiful adoptable dogs, a male Shepherd mix and a female Pit Bull. They started out on their best behavior but grew a little impatient with the all-talk, no-action format! You gotta love it. Maybe there would be fewer returns of adopted pets if people really saw them act like well, dogs!

News: Guest Posts
Bar Owner Takes Stand Against Vick
Patrons are urged to join Eagles boycott.

Steve Coffman, who owns Slate’s Prime Time Grill & Sports Bar in Northern Idaho, told patrons he will no longer show Philadelphia Eagles games or sell Coors beer (an Eagles sponsor) until the team releases Michael Vick—even though Coors is his best-selling brew. NFL fan blogger Shane Bacon has more details. If you’re in the area, dog rescuers urge you to visit Slate’s and order a Budweiser in support of Coffman’s pro-Pittie stand. Not local? Show your support by sending $3 (the cost of one Bud) and a thank you note to Coffman at Slate’s Prime Time Grill & Sports Bar, 477272 Hwy. 95, Ponderay, ID 83852. The phone number is (208) 263-1381. 

 

News: Guest Posts
The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever
New Katrina film documents Herculean animal rescue efforts.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Those of us who lost so much on that day find it difficult to put our feelings into words. Filmmaker Tom McPhee gives voice to our turbulent thoughts and emotions with his moving documentary, "An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever." He estimates that half of the flood's victims chose to stay because of their pets. As someone who had the means to evacuate her four dogs and two cats, I can understand why many people risked their lives rather than leave their furry family members behind. You can see this film as part of the nationwide Rescue Party Tour (each screening benefits local animal charities) or purchase the DVD once the tour is over. It's an educational and inspiring look at the good that can come out of tragedy when people work together for animals.

News: Guest Posts
His Name’s Not Reggie
How you can help a soldier's dog in need.

If you have an inbox, then you’ve probably heard about Reggie. The fictional tale reminds us that military dog owners face difficult choices when called to war. Unless they can find a temporary home for their dog, the shelter is the only option.

Military Pets Foster Project matches soldiers with people willing to foster their pets while they’re away on duty. It’s impossible to thank a soldier for his/her many sacrifices, but imagine giving the gift of their dog or cat upon their return home. Charitable donations are also welcome.

News: Guest Posts
My Dog IS Smarter Than Your Honor Roll Student
A dog's mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit. But a new study has shown that the "average dog can count, reason and recognize words and gestures on par with a human two-year-old." I think the increasing popularity of dog sports and interactive games, such as the Tug-A-Jug and Nina Ottosson's puzzles demonstrate that we're doing a better job of exercising our dogs' minds as well as their bodies.

 

Back in the day, dogs were bred for a certain job and that kept them physically and mentally fit. Now most family pets live a life of luxury - eating the best food, sleeping on the softest bed - but don't use their brains after completing Obedience 101. I keep my dogs mentally active by participating in dog sports and teaching them tricks using the clicker. If you want some ideas, check out these great trick-training videos of Rounder the rescue Rhodesian Ridgeback. 

 

How do you encourage your dog to use his brain?

News: Guest Posts
Louisville Flood Victims Need Help!
Staff and volunteers struggled to save 550 animals from drowning.

Yesterday’s flash flood in Louisville, Kentucky, forced staff and volunteers to quickly evacuate 250 dogs and 300 cats from the Metro Animal Services shelter. Director Giles Meloche said the water rose so fast that it went from three inches to three feet in just 30 minutes. Sadly, despite their herculean efforts, one dog and 10 kittens drowned in their cages.

The flood survivors were transported to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Fair. They stayed overnight and are expected to be able to return to the shelter today. Volunteers are needed to help move the animals back into their kennels and clean up the shelter. If you’d like to volunteer, please email your name and expected date and time of arrival to animals@louisvilleky.gov.    

The shelter lost all of its food and supplies in the flood. If you’d like to donate money to help replace what was lost, you can do so online by clicking here. If you’d like to donate food or supplies, please bring them to the shelter, located at: Metro Animal Services, 3705 Manslick Road, Louisville, Ky 40215.

These poor dogs and cats have been through a lot and could really use a stable home. Please consider adopting one or if you can’t, spread the word to friends, family and neighbors.

News: Guest Posts
Rottie Waits for Family at Crash Site
A horrific car accident leads to a tearful reunion.

On July 1 in Tennessee, the Kelley family lost control of their car and slammed into a mountain. An ambulance took Joe and Michelle Kelley and their three children to a nearby hospital as their Rottweiler, Ella, watched. Scared and alone, she ran into the woods.

Thirteen days later, animal rescuer Kathy Wilkes-Myers drove past the crash scene and saw a skinny, tick-infested Rottie drinking from a puddle on the side of the road. Ella had patiently waited where she had last seen her family. Wilkes-Myers was astonished to discover little piles of personal items--such as toothbrushes and a comb--that Ella had collected. Within one such pile, she discovered a notepad from an insurance agent, giving her the clue--and contact information--she needed to find Ella’s family.

You can see the tearful reunion here. My favorite part is when Ella is excitedly whining and licking Joe Kelley and their young baby on his lap.

In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of keeping your dog secured in a crate or harness while driving. Another way to ensure your dog’s safety is to create three information cards. One should be posted on the crate, the second in your glove compartment and the third carried in your wallet or purse.

On the card, include a photo of your dog and contact information for you, your vet, and family or friends who would be willing to take your dog or help find him if he is loose. Otherwise, the authorities will call animal control to take your dog to the shelter. If you’ve been seriously injured, you will want someone notified who can claim your dog. Or, if they can’t capture or find him, someone who will be willing to search for him.
 

News: Guest Posts
Taco Bell’s Spokesdog Dies
Who's your favorite pitchpup?

Dogs are the perfect pitchpups. Consumers find them cute and compelling to watch, whether they’re hawking toilet paper or soda pop. Sadly, Taco Bell’s popular spokesdog, Gidget, recently passed away. The charming little Chihuahua was 15 years old. She starred in numerous print and television ads from 1997 to 2000 (beginning with her debut above.) Who's your favorite spokesdog?

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