Act Against Dog Auctions
Last year, when a controversy was brewing over a new pet shop in the Chicago area, I was sickened by the naive comments of a dog owner. She had purchased her puppy from a pet store. Because her puppy was healthy and well tempered, she didn't understand -- and therefore, did not support -- criticism of pet shops. Her dog was fine, so what was the problem?
For every cute puppy for sale at a pet store, there are tens of thousands of adult dogs who live in commercial kennels. And I use the word "live" very loosely. A dog deserves more than just being "fed and bred." Two years ago, Mary O'Connor-Shaver attended a dog auction and saw firsthand the neglect and suffering of dogs at the hands of puppy mills.
There has been a long-standing controversy among dog rescue volunteers in regards to dog auctions. Some people believe that saving the life of even just one dog at auction is reason enough to go and bid. Others believe that this act, though compassionate, does nothing to increase awareness of the horrors of dog auctions and puts money in the pocket of the puppy millers.
If you want to help stop dog auctions, please go to Animal House and Ban Ohio Dog Auctions. We might not all agree on how best to shut down this deplorable industry, but increasing public awareness of the puppy mill dog's plight is a good first step.
Julia Kamysz Lane
New hope for shelter dogs
Ever wonder what you'd do with $3 million? Well, The Stanton Foundation has given that sum to the Animal Rescue League of Boston to fund a Center for Shelter Dogs -- with the exclusive goal of improving the welfare and placement odds for dogs in humane societies, animal control shelters and rescue groups. Among some of the goals of the new center will be developing a better awareness of the shelter environment and the disruptive effect of the stress of homelessness and rehoming on dog behavior; improving methods of evaluating and mitigating stress in the shelter environment; and improving strategies for matching dogs with prospective adopters. What a great idea!
A Selected Short by Merrill Markoe
Oh! Le crisis! Where's Lassie when you need her?
Let us say up front that we know there's nothing even remotely amusing about a heart attack. But, since this piece is a skit, not a documentary, from Merrill Markoe--one of our favorite writers--we're pointing you to it.
There was much laughing in the Bark office as we watched this short video, perhaps because each of us could easily imagine our own dogs in a similar situation. (By the way, If you love books as much as dogs, you'll find lots to enjoy on this Red Room site.)
Taking Care of Dog Business
The aphorism, "a picture's worth a thousand words," may be a cliche, but it's also true. For anyone who's ever read instructions on how to, for example, trim a dog's nails or give a dog a massage and was still confused, hang on! Help is on the way.
At Wonderhowto.com, you can choose among 365 dog-specific short videos (that's today...tomorrow, the number may be higher) and watch people who know what they're doing do something useful. The website describes itself as a "community-fueled search engine and directory for free how-to video," which means that there are many sources and points of view behind the clips, but we were pretty impressed with those we spot-checked. Seeing is sometimes believing!
Reward or Ransom For Lost Dog?
I'll never forget that horrible day when Jetta's new owner called to tell me that she was missing. We had fostered the beautiful German shepherd for a local rescue group and grown very attached to her. On the very day of the adoption, a friend came over to visit and left the front door open just long enough for Jetta to bolt. Thankfully, someone suggested I contact Sherlock Bones, an experienced pet detective, and he helped us take immediate action. Within hours, we got Jetta back safe and sound.
Since we were a nonprofit rescue group, Sherlock Bones didn't charge us for his services. I will always be grateful for his generosity. He told us that it was important to scrape together whatever we could to offer as a specific reward on our flyers because that got everybody -- even people who didn't like dogs -- keeping an eye out for her.
Apparently, Bert Clark of Canada received similar advice. The distraught dog lover offered a $15,000 reward for the safe return of his beloved chocolate Lab, Huckleberry. Clark scoffed at a reporter's suggestion that his reward was "excessive." (I think all of us who read Bark would agree!) Soon thereafter, he got his dog back, but questions remain as to whether Huckleberry was dogknapped and the reward was actually a ransom.
Lost in all of the drama over the reward money is the fact that the dog walker left Huckleberry alone outside a cafe while she went inside for "five minutes" to grab something to eat. If a dog were left in my charge -- and I made a living at it -- you better believe that pup would never leave my sight. Now that Huckleberry is safe, I wouldn't be surprised if Clark tells the dog walker to get lost.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Bored with the same old walks? Then you and your pup might like to try the Dog Powered Scooter and the Dog Powered Trike. They're similar to mushing, except the dogs are harnessed from behind the human driver so he can steer without worry. Architect Mark Schuette of Bend, Oregon, invented the dog scooter and trike as a way to spend more time with his dog and give him enough exercise. For a cool video demo with a Husky and a Rottie, click here.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Bad example of the week
When asked why she had 17 dogs, far in excess of Los Angeles’ zoning that permits three-dogs per address, Paris Hilton said: “They keep having babies, and I feel bad about giving them away.” Seems she's really as clueless as we suspected.
Woman Wants Ex's Dog To Be "Axed"
Last night, Anderson Cooper -- reporting live from New Orleans -- and his in-studio substitute, Erica Hill discussed a radio station publicity stunt that went awry. On Valentine's Day, listeners were invited to come down to the Atlanta-based radio station with something that either belonged to or was given to them by an ex and that they no longer wanted. It would then be destroyed in the parking lot with an ax. You'd assume that most people would bring the usual -- old love letters, photos, clothing, stuffed animals, etc. But one woman showed up with her ex-boyfriend's dog! You can see a video of this sweet shepherd mix on CNN. Thankfully, the Humane Society and caring callers intervened, so the dog found a loving home by the end of the day.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Dogs are in the picture
We don't usually go in for the celebrities and their dogs around here at Bark. But when I saw a photo of Christina Aguilera with her new baby in Hello!, it seemed worth a nod. The new family tableau includes mom, dad, baby, and three, count 'em, pups all nuzzled together. It may just be a photographer's notion but hopefully it's a sign that the dogs aren't about to become second-class citizens in this household, which happens all too often.
PETA No Fan of Best In Show
Animal-rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is no stranger to stirring up controversy. In the past, some dog owners have questioned PETA president Ingrid Newkirk's canine devotion as a fundraising ploy or worse.
So it comes as no surprise that PETA debuted a provocative ad campaign (one commercial compares purebred dog breeders to the Ku Klux Klan) during Westminster Kennel Club's annual show, the Superbowl of dog shows. You can watch all three commercials through You Tube or the New York Times.
What do you think of the new PETA commercials? Are they fair? Or too over the top?
Julia Kamysz Lane