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Dog's Life: Humane
Running the Numbers
Guest Editorial
UC Davis studies health conditions in Golden Retrievers
We humans are terrific at measuring and recordkeeping— we even know the length of Noah’s ark, in cubits (300) no less. Technology abets this trait, as computers dutifully crunch our numbers, ad, well, infinitum. As a species, however, we are not so good at appraising information to extract its meaning. Confronted with new data, we tend to overemphasize and generalize, often less than critically....
Blog: Guest Posts
Hayden Bill Repeal Effort—Update
Budget cut could mean shelter animals lose life-saving time
As citizens of the Golden State know, the California budget takes a tortuous route to passage—even in the best of times. These aren’t those times, especially for animal partisans, since Governor Jerry Brown has recommended repeal of the state’s landmark shelter animal protection law, known as the Hayden Bill.   Repeal is sought to save a theoretical $23 million in state payments to local shelters...
Dog's Life: Humane
The Real Problem with Anthropomorphism
There’s a knothole in the fence near our front door, right about Collie-eye level. When we come home, our Border Collie, Genghis, is invariably at the knothole, trying to anticipate who’s arriving. (That part’s not surprising— anticipation is what BCs do, after all.) But it’s not his eye to the knothole—it’s his nose. Scientists have long warned against the imprecision and misimpressions of...
Blog: Guest Posts
Super Bowl Ads Review: Four Paws Down
Call me a cur-mudgeon, but I think that this year’s Super Bowl commercials featuring canines, well, went to the dogs. They were derivative at best, poorly conceived in the great midsection and downright cruel at their worst.   The obvious winner was the “Here, We Go” spot for Bud Light, featuring a scruffy little Terrier mix “rescue dog.” He tirelessly fetches beer at a party—by the bottle, the...
Blog: Guest Posts
California’s Governor Proposes Cutting Shelter “Hold” Period in Half
Ignorant, cynical ploy would do real harm
To paraphrase Billy Beane, as played by Brad Pitt in the popular movie Moneyball, “There’s the one percent, and the 99 percent, then there’s fifty feet of crap, and then there’re shelter animals.”   That reality is stark in California, where Governor Jerry Brown has proposed gutting the state’s landmark Hayden Bill, a 1998 law that requires at least a six-day ‘hold’ period before impounded...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Putting the Horse Before Descartes; The Bond
Temple University Press, 304 pp., 2011; $35.00; William Morrow, 448 pp., 2011; $26.99
When dealing with ethics and adults, one cannot teach — one can only remind,” says Professor Bernie Rollin in his new book, Putting the Horse before Descartes. In this book and HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s The Bond, two of the most influential “remind-ers” and animal welfare allies recount their battles for reform across the wide frontiers of controversy. Their victories are numerous, groundbreaking...
Dog's Life: Humane
In Praise of Senior Dogs
The benefits of adopting a more mature companion.
Texas Senior Dog
When I first saw Rooney at the Martinez, Calif., animal shelter, she was dazed, matted and unsteady— obviously on her last legs. Her breath could’ve fueled my car. As a dog rescuer, I kicked myself for agreeing to see her. What possible prospects could I offer this bedraggled old Border Collie, beyond a marginally better demise? Within two months (and minus several bad teeth), she was adopted—...
Dog Culture: Reviews
For the Love of Animals
Henry Holt & Co., 368 pp., 2008; $27.50
Shevelow
As chronicles of human progress, histories can illuminate and inspire— or they may show how little our species has changed across centuries. Literary scholar Kathryn Shevelow has it both ways in her lively recounting of the events and trends that culminated in the first English anti-cruelty law in 1822. Eighteenth-century England really was “hell for horses” and other beasts who had the...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Irreconcilable Differences: The Battle for the Heart and Soul of America’s Animal Shelters
Create Space, 210 pp., 2009; $13.95
Irreconcilable Differences
Nathan Winograd discomfits a lot of folks. By his steadfast devotion to no-kill principles and relentless advocacy, he has demonstrated that it is possible—and ethically imperative—to end shelter killing of healthy or treatable animals. Not just someday, either, but now. Many of those distressed thereby have built careers that acceded to expediencies, assuming most deaths were inevitable and the...
Dog Culture: Reviews
Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform
Da Capo Press, 212 pp., 2008; $25.95
Lost in the hubbub over the First Puppy’s privileged origins and his new owner’s subsequent donation to a humane organization is the fact that coveys of committed volunteers have always formed the backbone of the rescue movement. Their labors of love are performed on the “micro” level, far from institutional concerns that can cloud the lifesaving mission. Often impelled by life experiences,...

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