Home
media reviews
Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Have a Fearful Dog?
Check out fearfuldogs.com

Whether you call them shy, cautious or just plain scared, there are a lot of dogs struggling to deal with this issue, and just as many people trying to help their dogs deal with and overcome their fears. A great website called fearfuldogs.com offers great information and lots of links to direct you to the help you need.

The site was started by a woman whose dog Sunny, pictured here, survived a hoarding situation before arriving at her loving home in 2005. It was developed to prevent others from struggling with the many frustrations of rehabilitating a fearful dog who was not blessed with the best start in life. Good information is your best tool for helping dogs who are afraid, and this site refers to only the best, most reputable and effective products and services that relate to helping our fearful canine pals.

Check it out and let us know what information and advice you found there has been most helpful to you and your dog!

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.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Dog Who Sparked an Animal Rights Movement
Slate.com explores the history of protecting animals in medical research.

Today, Slate.com begins a five-part history of animal rights in regards to laboratory testing. The series begins with the heartbreaking story of Pepper, a Dalmation who forever changed the way American science obtains and uses research animals. Pepper sparked a national movement in 1965, when she was stolen from her loving home in Pennsylvania and sold to a New York hospital for cardiology research.

It was extremely difficult to read the article’s descriptions of gruesome animal testing (the opening part in particular made my stomach turn). However, it’s amazing to learn about the humble Pennsylvania farm dog's impact. Many of the politicians and lobbyists involved in Pepper’s story went on to introduce and support the nation’s first animal welfare laws.

Slate.com will publish a new chapter in its series each day through the end of the week. The online magazine is also hosting discussions on their Facebook and Twitter pages that will be periodically visited by the author, Daniel Engber, who will respond to readers.

More than 40 years later, it’s horrifying that dogs continue to be stolen for medical research. While it’s technically illegal for stolen animals to be sold or used in research, it is legal for Class B Dealers to take stray animals from the street. HBO’s Dealing Dogs documents the modern illegal dog trade.

I’m not a proponent of animal testing, but it’s hard to deny that many of today’s medical advances are due in part to thousands of canine martyrs. Pepper herself was a part of a crucial development in cardiology research.

How do you feel about this controversial ethical debate?

News: Guest Posts
King of the Dogs
Must-watch Iggy Pop "dog" video!

If Iggy Pop had a dog, what would it be? As a fan of the shirtless punkster this is not a question I have ever asked myself—despite my passion for his rocking anthem, “I Want To Be Your Dog.” And so, I was surprised, not only to discover that he has a dog, but that—not unlike fellow lapdog-loving, tough-guy Mickey Rourke—he’s head-over-heels for a small fry, more precisely, a 12-pound Maltese named Lucky.

“He’s all dog,” Iggy Pop told Terry Gross in an interview earlier today. “He’s got a butch attitude. He’s fearless and very strong for his size, but he’s still 12 pounds.”

The revelation of his lil’ canine co-pilot came as part of the promotional tour for a new album, Préliminaires, which features a knock-it-out-of-the-dog-park original called, “King of the Dogs.” Before you read on, you have to watch the delightful Patrick Boivin-directed video.


This jazzy tune was inspired by the character of a little white dog named Fox in The Possibility of an Island, a novel by Michel Houellebecq. Iggy Pop is a fan of the novel and wrote the music for a documentary about Houellebecq’s effort to translate the book to film. “King of the Dogs” describes “how cool it is to be a dog and how much it beats human life.” When Gross asked the 62-year-old rocker what it is about dog life that captivates him, he answered:

“I enjoy watching all the things animals do that are just like the things I like to do, such as, I don’t like to wear shoes, I hate wearing clothes. I didn’t even take a shower before I came over to do this interview, why should I? … Sometimes I see animals and I wish I was them … because they are free and because they can be satisfied and happy. That’s not possible for a human…it’s fleeting, hard to achieve.”

It’s a delightful moment in the interview when Gross sort of lets the comment hang out there—I suspect she’s not a capital-D dog person—she doesn’t offer her quick, encouraging “uh-huh” of recognition. But I totally get what Iggy is saying. And I’m guessing most of you reading this do too.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Pack Mentality?
New reality show features a family on a search for the perfect dog.

I don’t usually watch reality television, but when I heard about HGTV’s Leader of the Pack, I felt compelled to check it out. The show features the Reckseit family on a quest to find the perfect dog. They start out with eight rescues and vote off one per episode until they’re left with their new family member. The eliminated dogs are shown getting adopted by other people at the end of each episode.

Leader of the Pack has all antics you’d expect -- a family new to dogs suddenly living with eight of them, a clueless first night with overfeeding and accidents, and silly games to win immunity for favorite dogs. HGTV’s show isn’t perfect, and I do worry about pets being seen as disposible, but overall the show isn’t as bad as I expected, given the track record of reality television. 

Positive training and general care tips are dispersed throughout each episode, although I do think that they miss many potential learning opportunities. For instance, I wish that they flashed up a tip about crate training or ignoring bad behavior when the dogs were running amok around the house. They do have advice posted on the show’s website, but I would’ve liked to see more information built into the show.

So far my favorite part was the challenge for the kids to puppy-proof their bedrooms in order to earn a “puppy sleepover.” It was great to see the family turn a chore into a fun activity they could do together.

Leader of the Pack shows the importance of making the puppy picking process a family activity, as the Reckseits decide on criteria, reflect on which dog would be best for their situation and activity level, and learn about dog care. Although it would’ve been much better if they had done this preparation before letting the puppies into their home, I think that this reality show brings attention to important issues, such as the responsibility of pet ownership and the benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

Leader of the Pack airs on HGTV on Sundays, 8/7c.

News: Guest Posts
Valentino: Pug Lover
New documentary shines a little light on designer’s dogs.

Best job in the world? Pug-sitter for Valentino.

“I don’t care about the collection; my dogs are more important,” declares Valentino Garavani during one of his regular tantrums in Valentino: The Last Emperor, which opens today. (New York Times film critic Stephen Holden weighs in.) While the documentary is not a dog movie, Valentino’s pugs steal every scene in which they appear—snoozing in the designer’s bustling atelier, sprinting through the gardens of his French estate, modeling diamond-encrusted jewelry, peeing on photography equipment during a shoot, chillin' on a private jet. With just the bling nature gave them, Milton, Monty, Maude, Margot, Maggie and Molly outshine the film's jaw-dropping dresses and Hollywood beauties.

Still, I wish there’d been a little more on the silver-coated sweeties—such as an interview with the lucky guy who takes care of them (proficiently brushing their teeth among other duties) as they sniff through elegant quarters in Paris, Gstaad and Rome.

For all you Pugophiles out there, the movie is sponsoring a Most Fashionable Pug Contest.

News: Guest Posts
Hotel for Dogs Contest Winner
Paramount Pictures and Bark roll out the red carpet for the Dearborn Animal Shelter

Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, a nonprofit shelter in Dearborn, Mich., has won our Hotel for Dogs contest. In partnership with Bark, Paramount Pictures will host a free private screening at a local movie theater for the shelter and its choice of employees, volunteers and supporters.

“I am absolutely thrilled and very proud to have won,” says Elaine Greene, executive director of Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter. “Our volunteers and supporters are the best around and they truly care about the shelter. I know many of our volunteers spend their free time at the shelter or Friends activities. This is such a wonderful way to honor their dedication. And what a great way to meet new friends and tell our story: Anytime we have a chance to promote the adoptable animals of the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter, we are there.”

The shelter is located in Dearborn, west of Detroit, the hometown of Henry Ford. Formerly city-run with no adoption screening and cats and dogs sold for $5 each, the shelter has been stewarded by the private, nonprofit Friends since 1996. In little more than a decade, the shelter has instituted programs to find homes for 100 percent of adoptable animals and to vaccinate, spay/neuter and microchip every one. The shelter participates in dozens of community outreach programs every year including adoptions fairs, low-cost spay/neuter and a Recylc-a-Bullz program to help bully breed dogs.

The Hotel for Dogs screening comes during a tough time. “Shelter work can certainly be challenging on its own, but with the additional demands of an ailing economy, it can turn into more of a juggling act,” Greene says. “While the numbers of the homeless and strays have increased, the willingness of folks to adopt a new family member (cat or dog) has dwindled. And, as we rely on the generosity of our donors to support our work, we realize that they have felt the impact on their pocketbook, which has affected ours. At the same time, because the Friends are good stewards of our donated dollars and we will continue to provide good care and service to the animals, our supporters stay loyal to the cause.” 

The priority of the shelter is finding forever-homes for “100 percent of our adoptable animals,” but the Friends also strive to provide the best temporary shelter using new and updated sheltering protocols, such as, community cat housing. The Friends are also in the middle of a capital campaign to build a new shelter that will better meet the needs of the animals and the community.

The Dearborn Animal Shelter received eight nominations, out of 143, from supporters such as MaryAnn, who wrote in her nomination: “They took in my Charlie dog when he was underfed and underloved. They made sure he got the best forever-home possible (with me)! They are the best. They also are specialists in rescuing pit bulls, a breed often thrown away as mean and vicious.” Catherine wrote: “My life has changed since I’ve volunteered there. I have adopted three beautiful animals … one poodle, Lebowski, and two cats, Marigold and Sylvia.”

Many worthy shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations—78 in all—were entered into the contest by adoptive families, staff members and volunteers. Read the heart-felt nominations, and go direct to the source to learn more about each of these worthy organizations (listed below) and find out how you can help.

Adams County SPCA, Gettysburg, Penn.
Angels for Animals, Canfield, Ohio
Animal Ark, Hastings, Minn.
Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove, Calif.
Animal Haven, New York, N.Y.
Animal Humane Society, St. Paul, Minn.
Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC), Sarasota, Fla.
Animal Rescue Foundation, Mobile, Ala.
Animal Rescue Inc., New Freedom, Penn.
Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa 
Animal Rescue of Carroll, Carroll, Iowa
Animals in Distress, Coopersburg, Penn.
ARNI Foundation, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Beltrami Humane Society, Bemidji, Minn.
Benicia-Vallejo Humane Society, Vallejo, Calif.
Buck’s Peace Min-Pin Rescue, Md.
Buffalo Humane, Buffalo, N.Y.
Catawba County Animal Care and Control, Newton, N.C.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control, Charlotte, N.C.
Circle Tail Assistance Dogs, Pleasant Plain, Ohio
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, Irvine, Calif.
Coastal Maine Great Dane Rescue, Topsham, Maine
Coastal Pet Rescue, Savannah, Ga.
Colorado Animal Rescue Shelter, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Community Animal Rescue & Adoption, Jackson, Miss.
Dearborn Animal Shelter, Dearborn, Mich.
Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue, Reinholds, Penn.
Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Free to Live Animal Sanctuary, Edmond, Okla.
Furry Friends Rescue, Fremont, Calif.
Ginger’s Pet Rescue, Seattle, Washington
Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies, Golden, Colo.
Greyhound Pets of America, Florida, Southeast Coast Chapter
HART for Animals, Oakland, Md.
Hawaii Dog Foundation, Oahu, Hawaii
Hearing Dog Program, San Francisco, Calif.
Homeward Bound Pet Shelter, Decatur, Ill.
Hornell Animal Shelter, Hornell, N.Y.
Humane Society for Hamilton County, Noblesville, Ind.
Humane Society of Greater Akron, Peninsula, Ohio
Humane Society of Harrisburg, Harrisburg, Penn.
Humane Society of Missouri, St. Louis, Mo.
Humane Society of Pulaski County, Little Rock, Ark.
Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, Benton Harbor, Mich.
Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, Knoxville, Tenn.
Idyllwild Animal Rescue Friends, San Jacinto, Calif.
JLT Rescues, Easton, Penn.
Las Vegas Valley Humane Society, Las Vegas, Nev.
Little Victories Animal Rescue Group, Barboursville, W. Va. 
MacKenzie's Animal Sanctuary, Lake Odessa, Mich.
McPAWS, McCall, Idaho
Meals Fur Pets, Woodstock, Ga.
Michigan Humane Society, Detroit, Mich.
Montgomery Humane Society, Montgomery, Ala.
NorCal Aussie Rescue, Sacramento, Calif.
Norfolk Animal Care Center, Norfolk, Va.
Northwest Animal Companions, Boise, Idaho
Northwoods Humane Society, Wyoming, Minn.
PAWS Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
PAWS, Anna, Ill.
Russell Refuge, Rhinebeck, N.Y.
Pets in Distress, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Planned Pethood, Inc., Northwest Ohio/SE Michigan, Toledo, Ohio
Project POOCH (Positive Opportunities, Obvious Change with Hounds), Lake Oswego, Ore.
Rainbow Animal Rescue, Inc., Norfolk, Va.
Rice County Humane Society, Faribault, Minn.
Richmond SPCA, Richmond, Va.
Rocket Dog Rescue, San Francisco, Calif.
Santa Barbara Humane Society, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Save the Animals Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio
Second Chance Dobe Rescue, Clinton, Mich.
Sheltered Paws Dog Rescue, Cincinnati, Ohio
Shelter Helpers on Wheels, Lake Hiawatha, N.J.
Small Dog Rescue and Humane Society, Atlanta, Ga.
SNIPPP (Spay Neuter Intermountain Pets & Pet Placement), Burney, Calif.
SPCA of Wake County, Raleigh and Garner, N.C.
The Animal Welfare Society, Kennebunk, Maine
Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL), Washington, D.C.

 

News: Guest Posts
Big Yellow Sweetheart
Spend Valentine’s Eve with Martha

At Bark, we’re fans of Martha, kid-lit heroine and newest PBS idol. What’s not to love? The nervy yellow mutt with a nonexistent waistline and alphabet soup on the brain blabs up a steady diet of funny, gaffe-rich communications (which, starting last fall, were translated from the small page to the small screen in “Martha Speaks”). While the stories are geared for children ages 4 to 7, with the goal of increasing oral vocabulary, you don’t have to be a kid to appreciate the verbal richness of this spirited dog.

Check out our interview with Martha creator, Susan Meddaugh (Bark, Sept/Oct 2008), wherein we uncover a few secrets, including how soup unleashed Martha’s gabfest.

If you haven’t tuned in to this canine wordsmith, Friday is a perfect day to share the love with a Valentine’s Day-inspired episode titled “Martha and the Thief of Hearts,” which will be the second of two episodes airing February 13. (Check your local PBS listings.)

 

News: Guest Posts
I Am Shep
Hotel for Dogs species quiz

Maybe not breaking news but fun. After seeing Hotel for Dogs, I took the Quibblo quiz to answer the burning question: If I was a dog in the movie, which one would I be? Well, turns out I'm Shep--the awfully cute, type-A Border Collie. I can live with that. If you have a son, daughter, niece or nephew or know some other young fans of the film, check it out. If you have a favorite rescue group or shelter you think deserves a private theater screening of the film, there is still time to nominate them for the prize.

News: Guest Posts
Indie Gem: Wendy and Lucy

Next week, when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announces the Oscar short list, it’s likely the lovely, affecting Wendy and Lucy will not be included. That’s Hollywood’s loss. This sensitive and restrained portrayal of the human-animal bond, starring Michelle Williams, cuts right to the heart of it. Reviewing the film for Bark (Nov/Dec 2008), Heather Huntington wrote: “Wendy and Lucy provides a fine, powerful and emotional experience.”

We say take in all 80-moody minutes in a theater. The girl and her dog roll into Seattle, San Diego, Philadelphia, and Boston theaters next week, and then San Francisco, Berkeley (Bark’s HQ), San Jose, St. Louis and Chicago the following week. Find the complete release schedule here.

 

Pages