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I Love My Bad Dog Blog

One of my favorite me-and-my-dog blogs is Anaheed Alani’s I Love My Bad Dog Blog and not just because Piney's problems (pancreatitis, allergies, anxiety, aggression and on and on) make my worst days with my two pups sound like a trip to the spa, but because she’s funny, and open, and honest about the challenges, and you can tell she is devoted to her gorgeous AmStaff and would do any and everything for him—which is good because he honestly sounds like he may end up requiring all that and then some.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Power of Rescue Groups
A feel-good video makes the case

Beautiful pictures of rescue dogs who now live in loving homes make for a video with a high CQ (Cute Quotient.) And the fact that it is set to the Queen song “You’re My Best Friend” makes it captivating. I wasted an embarrassing amount of my precious writing time watching the entire video multiple times. I kept telling myself I had to know the video thoroughly before writing about it, but the truth is that I just liked watching it.

 

I love knowing that these are dogs who, though once without a family, are now cherished by the people who adopted them. Perhaps the best thing about the video is that it contains many before and after pictures. These pairs of photos allow you to see dogs in need of care and then see their well-groomed coats, healthy bodies and happy faces. My favorite pictures were of Dolly, Marco and Hotlips, but tons of others were charming, too.   Most of these dogs were fostered through Border Collie Rescue of Northern California, though that group was not involved in making the video. They currently have a playful, energetic dog named Mouse available for adoption to an active family. Check out his video on YouTube to see his story.   The video set to the Queen song video is thoroughly enjoyable and will make you feel good. It shows that rescue groups do terrific work getting so many great dogs into homes. And everyone familiar with rescue groups knows that they do it with small monetary budgets but with endless quantities of volunteer hours.
News: Guest Posts
Mark Your Calendars
Pedigree Dogs Exposed on BBC America, Dec. 10

If you missed "Pedigree Dogs Exposed" last year--BBC’s hard-hitting look at the devastating cost of breeding for the show ring in Great Britain--it’s back. Through interviews with scientists, vets, historians, activists and representatives from the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the documentary catalogs how many purebred dogs suffer severe illness, pain, discomfort, disability and deformities—including champions.

Difficult to watch at times, this thorough and unflinching documentary is a must-see for anyone concerned about the welfare of dogs—with plenty of lessons for us in the United States. In the meantime, you can read Beverly Cuddy’s story for Bark, The Cost of Perfection, about the documentary, online.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed premieres on BBC America Thursday, Dec. 10 at 8 and 11 p.m. ET/PT.

News: Guest Posts
Draw the Dog
A worthy web destination for dog lovers.

I love dogs—that’s obvious. And I love cartoons. I honestly believe these are two of the sublime pleasures in life. So the day I discovered Draw the Dog counts as a banner day. The website is a collection of cartoons drawn daily by ex-Disney animator Jim George. The old school drawings are animated, and appear on the screen as if they are being drawn in the moment. You see Buzz, a running dog; then, a leash appears in his mouth (oh no!); then, a forlorn, jogging-suited person scrambles after him—as the landscape of a park fills in around the ill-fated pair. Sigh. I’ve been there.

So has the real Buzz in Baton Rouge, La., on whom the cartoon is based. This is one of the other wonderful aspects of the site—most of the cartoons are based on the for-real adventures of actual pups. George invites guardians to send in their true stories as inspiration for images. (Details here.) If your story inspires a cartoon, your pooch will be credited appropriately for digging through the garbage, peeing in your lap, playing tug-of-war with the towel on your head. You’ll be so proud.

Check it out!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Fido Awards
Canine “Oscars” announced.

This past week, the winners of the Fido Awards were announced in London. These are international awards for canine movie stars. As expected the many dogs who played Marley in Marley and Me won in the category of Rom-Com Rover (for romantic comedy companionship) and Beverly Hills Chihuahua took home the award for Comedy Canine.

  This is the third year of the Fido Awards, honoring canine actors and their contribution to entertainment. Many great films this year starred canines deserving of recognition. Among the other films boasting Fido Award winners were The Young Victoria, Up and Paddy. Films honored with a nomination include The Proposal, Bolt, Hotel For Dogs and Inglourious Basterds.   Winners were determined by votes from a panel of British film critics. Fido Awards are yet another sign of the increasing recognition of the value of dogs in our lives.

 

News: Guest Posts
People’s (and Pups’) Choice
Victoria Stilwell coming to Bark in 2010.

Has canine supernanny Victoria Stilwell steered her shiny black convertible into your heart yet? She’s the dog trainer who brings positive strategies to some gnarly behavior challenges with effective aplomb on Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog. No television, you say? That’s not a problem anymore. Starting in February, Ms. Stilwell will write an exclusive column on training for every issue of Bark in 2010, beginning in February. In each column, she’ll answer a single question in depth.

In the meantime, already converted Stilwell fans can show their love by casting a vote for her brand of patient, peaceful intervention with a vote for It’s Me or the Dog, which has been nominated for a People’s Choice Award! (Last day of voting is December 8, 2009.)

News: Guest Posts
A Stroll Through the Dogosphere
What’s your favorite dog blog?

Do you check out blogrolls? For me, taking the time to explore blogger-recommended blogs is the Internet equivalent of wandering around a thriftshop—a time-destroying treasure hunt filled with loads of disappointments but enough surprises to make my trackpad-induced Carpel Tunnel Syndrome worth it. (Several hours at the Goodwill yesterday yielded a still-in-the-box Washington Mutual Teller Doll. I wonder what that’s worth on eBay?)

But I’m talking dog blogs here—and that's a pretty big bucket because many bloggers (the best, in my opinion) follow their dogs far afield. My favorites are mash-ups—dog-centric blogs that touch on behavior, nature, family, culture, politics and art. I like to learn something. I like being surprised and even shocked, and I love photos. Can someone at a behavior/science blog explain why I can spend so much time looking at photos of dogs?

As a result, I’ve added a few new entries to our list of blogs we love, including a couple by Bark regulars—Dogged by Christie Keith (author of Pet Food Confidential, The Bark, July 2009) and Dog Bytes by Mark Derr (author of Darwin’s Dogs, The Bark, February 2009).

Mark introduced us to a blog by Scottie Westfall called Retrieverman, which serves up a satisfying stew of politics, dogs and biology. Anyone who embeds a video of Sir David Attenborough and a sloth (pronounced soath by Sir David) earns an instant bookmark from me. For similar reasons, at least initially, I’ve bookmarked Smartdogs' Weblog (recommended on Retrieverman’s blogroll). The musings of a self-described “middle-aged dog trainer and gentleman farmer wannabe,” this blog is all about keeping your pup’s brain busy. It currently features a classic cartoon clip of Peabody adopting Sherman because “every dog should have a boy [or girl].” Another site I find myself stopping by is Coffee With A Canine, which offers up interviews with interesting people (mostly writers) centered around two of my favorite things.

During my recent ramble around the blogosphere, a few recent posts also caught my eye. Terrierman provided 10 tips for selecting a dog for his or her longevity, entitled “So You Want A Dog?” This is something I have never considered—adopting a particular dog because it has a chance of living longer. But the info is sound and makes you think.
 
Hidden cam photos of a gray fox posted on October 7 at Camera Trap Codger are definitely worth checking out. And this week's niche blog of the week? Dogs Don’t Look Both Ways, dedicated to stories, tips and information about dogs who have been hit by cars. Lots of casts and cones.

 

Well, now it's time to perambulate around the grass-and-hydrants universe. I’d love to hear about other sites to visit for by future cyber-wanderings.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dogs Doing Shakespeare?
It’s quite captivating!

Since Shakespeare’s time, a variety of actors have performed his plays, but dogs were usually relegated to the minor roles. Now, thanks to a new production, they finally play more than bit parts.

Professional human actors provide the voices for canines playing the starring roles in scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest works, and the result is an entertaining DVD. Shakespaws is beautifully done from the camera work and lighting to the costumes and sets. Both human and canine actors capture the emotions of pivotal scenes from Shakespeare’s greatest works. Othello and Desdemona were particularly well cast in my opinion, making their scene truly great, and brave director Seamus Mulcahy used what looks like an entire litter of Golden Retriever puppies for Sonnet 18, giving that scene incredible appeal.

The original idea for Shakespaws grew out of Mulcahy’s experience as a dog sitter in New York City. So many of the people requested that he leave the television on when he left that he decided to create something that dogs and people alike could enjoy.

Besides being a fun treat for dog lovers, this DVD would be great in an educational setting. Any teacher who shows a clip from the DVD to introduce students to famous passages by Shakespeare is bound to get more interest than in any other way. My six-year old son watched it with me, and I’m thrilled with how immensely he enjoyed his first exposure to the works of Shakespeare.

News: Guest Posts
Strokes for The Bark
Like canine pals, we respond to praise.

The Bark received a couple media treats recently and, well, we wagged our tails.  In the “Magazine Rack” column on MediaPost.com, William G. McGee found lots to love in our July/August 2009 issue. He writes, “…even those without a love for furry friends could find something compelling in these pages. Really.”

And it’s with a certain amount of pride we realized we made Asylum UK magazine’s list of The 15 Weirdest Magazines Still in Print as “the choice for hip young canines everywhere.”

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!

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