News: Guest Posts
Guilty Pleasure
Deck the Halls...fa-la-la, woof, meow

We can’t keep ourselves from loving this video—and we're not alone.

News: Guest Posts
One man’s plan to stop stray sex

I thought a woman hanging upside-down to raise awareness about puppy mill cruelty was edgy—until I met Joey Henry. With his plan to stage elaborate raids on fornicating cats and dogs, he’s my new gold standard for the wacky frontier of animal welfare activism.

  His strategy is simple to describe and probably a lot more challenging to execute: Stake out strays, wait and watch from a hidden location, and when the unwanted animals set about creating more unwanted animals, leap out and make a heck of a lot of noise, convincing the parties involved to knock it off.   Of course, Joey Henry knows one serious scare does not a celibate canine make. That’s why his cameraman will be nearby. The videos will be posted at HelpJoey.com, which launched last week. The aim is to use humor to spread the important spay/neuter message—and all the better for cats and dogs if that message goes viral.


Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Espresso Anyone?
How about a puppy?

Have you ever seen a sign in a store that says: “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a puppy”? This sign is getting more common where I live and many places online actually sell them. Of course, the idea is that parents will end up with a nightmare on their hands if they don’t follow through on their responsibility to monitor their children while shopping.

  A friend of mine is very offended by anyone joking about a puppy being given away to punish parents. I didn’t take it that way at all. I take it as a joke based on the fact that a child hyped up on a massive dose of caffeine would create a lot of work for a parent, as would a new puppy. Taking care of a puppy is a big responsibility and a huge time commitment. In my opinion, this sign acknowledges what a big deal it is to get a puppy and that it should not be taken lightly.   I always have to resist the urge to try to impersonate a child and then say to an employee of the store, “My parents are letting me wander around in here by myself. I’ll take that espresso now.”   Does this sign offend you or cause you to chuckle?


News: Guest Posts
My Dog Is Strange
That's what you're tweeting

When @the_bark tweeted my dog is strange—because, well, ours sure are—we were happy to discover we aren’t alone. There are lots of bubble-blowing, crazy-staring, cupboard-sleeping wonderfully odd pups out there. To find keep up with these canine eccentricities and to tweet into future conversations, follow us on Twitter, where we ponder weighty issues, such as our dog’s weird habits, most Thursdays. Right now, we’re focused on how dogs get their names.


Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of canine peculiarities from our readers:   AxleWeinberg @the_bark #mydogisstrange My dog sticks her entire nose and mouth in the water dish and blows bubbles.   pawsitivepaw @the_bark #mydogisstrange He hates to get wet, won’t go out in the rain, hates baths, etc., but he loves to play in the sprinklers.   AlecHosterman @the_bark #mydogisstrange My dog has to get her “potty pass” (a toy) if she wants to go outside    ScienceRat @the_bark #mydogisstrange My dog will eat french fries but won’t touch potato chips.    EllaBellaHound @the_bark #mydogisstrange Ella sleeps in a cupboard! Albeit a walk in wardrobe thingie.
  DiscoWonderPup  @the_bark #mydogisstrange What if you think your human is strange? ; )    siriusbstudio @the_bark #mydogisstrange Violet is weird because she likes to hang out in the bath tub. Unless it’s bath time.   geoggirl @the_bark #mydogisstrange Ginger likes to snore while staring at you with her eyes wide open...kinda freaky.    gingela5 @the_bark #mydogisstrange One of my dogs demands an apology when you sneeze/sniff. She will stare at you until you say “I’m Sorry...”    eddiemczee @the_bark #mydogisstrange Baron Von BisBark is strange because he likes cat food more than dog food.    Cowbelly @the_bark #mydogisstrange Fergie is strange because she stares at me all. the. time. #weird #alittlecreepy    emileefuss @the_bark #mydogisstrange Buddy is strange b/c he is obsessed with reflections, won’t walk in wet grass, and is afraid of other dogs’ poop.   thisisvandie @the_bark #mydogisstrange George is strange because if you hold him in the air and call his name he won’t stop running. 


News: Guest Posts
Ick, Ugh, Eeek!
Is it really fun to celebrate ugly dogs?

The World’s Ugliest Dog Contest (Dog Lover’s Festival, Sonoma-Marin Fair, Petaluma, Calif., June 25) brings out the buzz kill in me. Sweet, unsuspecting pups “celebrated” for tufted hair, bucked or missing teeth, disproportionate bodies, wrinkles and bumps, baldness and protruding tongues—many of these exaggerations introduced by breeders in the first place and sometimes creating very real health challenges. It just feels like stories of “pig parties” (where frat members compete to bring the ugliest date to a party) or the flipside of beauty contests, which I don’t much like either.

  This is not to say that many of the other events at the Dog Lover’s Festival—such as tips for adopting a dog from the Sonoma Humane Society, Paws for Reading’s kids reading to dogs, and a Nose Work demonstration (see our story on K9 Nose Work)—aren’t worthy offerings.


Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Do you and your dog match?

Houston Pet Talk Magazine has recently announced one of my favorite contests—the human-pet lookalike. From June 1 to June 10, you can submit pictures for the chance to win cash. This contest includes pets of all kinds, but naturally my favorite are the dog-human couples.

  It is always so fun to see those pairs who actually live up to the saying that people and their pets start to look alike. It’s especially fun to see how people’s hair can resemble the fur of their dog—the red-headed girl and her Irish Setter, the man with dreads and his Puli, the boy with glossy black hair and his Rottweiler, and the Poodle who is with the grey-haired woman with a perm. Check out these amazing photos of matched sets.   Do you and your dog look like you were separated at birth? If so, what makes you look so similar?
News: Guest Posts
What Tickles Our Funny Bone
One Lab, two hands and a plate of cookies

Have a great weekend!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Ask Me About My Granddog
What’s your favorite dog-themed bumper sticker?
I was stuck in a little traffic yesterday, which could have been a major bummer except for the entertaining car in front of me. I had the good fortune to be behind one of those cars decorated from roof to hubcaps with bumper stickers, and many of them were dog-related. Naturally, they had Bark’s own “Dog is my co-pilot” prominently displayed on the actual bumper, suggesting it was one of the first acquired. Here are some of the others:   My windows aren’t dirty. That’s just my Corgi’s nose art Caution: This vehicle is infested with dog hair. Enter at your own risk The more people I meet, the more I like my dog. Ask me about my granddog Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? My Corgi would herd your honor student Your honor student is merely a pawn in my dog’s world domination plot wag more bark less I adhere to my Corgi’s radical ideology squirrel whisperer on board Your car would look like this too if you owned a Pembroke Welsh Corgi At one end of my leash sits a dog. At the other end stands a voter. STOP B.S.L. [Breed Specific Legislation] Caution: wiggle butt zone  

What canine-themed bumper stickers do you have on your car? What amusing ones have you seen on other cars? 

News: Guest Posts
Friday Funnies
And what big teeth you have...

A prehistoric take on dominance training from B.C. TGIF.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dog Drool
You gotta love it.

Yesterday, I was listening to one of the Harry Potter books on CD as a way to motivate myself to clean my house. (It’s a losing battle, but I remain ever hopeful!) Anyway, what really caught my attention were the scenes with Hagrid’s dog Fang. I found it so amusing that the author always has Fang choose to be near Harry and to drool all over him. Harry never seems too thrilled, but accepts it as part of life. I myself have been drooled on to excess by Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs, and the occasional elderly Golden Retriever.

When I was working full time with seeing dogs with behavioral issues, my clothes were often covered in dog hair and dog slobber by the end of the day, and I never really minded. I always felt so lucky to be spending my days with dogs that the fact that I was wearing the evidence of that happy occurrence was of no consequence to me. Of course, when I returned home at the end of the day, my own dog sniffed me like I had been unfaithful.

One day I picked up my dry cleaning and the owner of the shop came rushing out to the front of the shop in a hurry. As he slid up to the counter, he suddenly assumed a casual, unhurried air and said, “Say, I was just curious. What do you do for a living?” When I told him that I worked with dogs with serious behavior issues, he said, “Aaah, I see. Dogs.” I’ve always suspected that the employees had a pool going about what I did to get my clothes dirty in such an unusual way.

The dry cleaner was an ally in my battle against slobber. I wore black a lot, which worked out well since my own dog was black. After I’d worked with a Samoyed, a Yellow Lab, an American Eskimo or any other light-colored dog, I required a once-over with a lint brush before going out in public. Or not, if I didn’t feel like bothering. The mess is just part of living with, working with and loving dogs.

How do you deal with the drool, hair, and other related issues? Or, is it so irrelevant that you simply ignore it?