Dog Is My Co-Pilot…Again?
BioArts, a California biotech company, will auction five opportunities to clone dogs on June 18. Bidding in the venture it calls Best Friends Again starts at $100,000 per dog. Last I heard, a South Korean scientist’s efforts to clone an Afghan Hound had been discredited. But, according to a New York Times story last week, BioArts’s chief executive has successfully cloned his late Border Collie-Husky three times already. (And that South Korean scientist, Hwang Woo Suk, is part of the team that did it.)
So apparently the how of cloning dogs as been answered. What I can't figure is the why.
What's in a name?
I lived in Los Gatos, Calif., for awhile in the late '90s. So I wanted to give a blog-shout out (a shlog?) to the mayor who temporarily renamed the town Los Perros for one day last week. Located in Silicon Valley, Los Gatos is one dog-friendly burg with a high dog-to-human ratio and excellent running trails for tandem jogs. In particular, I always appreciated how businesses and private homeowners put out fresh water for thirsty pups. Los Perros is a fitting tribute.
Dogs Comfort Homeless Mom
I hope the jerks who abandon their dogs with the lame excuse of "we're moving" read about 67-year-old Barbara Harvey and her Goldens. Despite being homeless and living in her car, she is absolutely devoted to her dogs. I think they will inspire her to do whatever it takes to find housing again.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Pill For Paunchy Pooches
Humans are always looking for the easy way to lose weight. Diet and exercise are just too much work! As someone who could stand to lose a few pounds and tone up herself, I'll admit I'd be tempted by a magic pill that would allow me to eat ice cream and watch TV instead of jogging and crunching carrots. But that would be my choice. Would it be appropriate to give my dog a drug to help him lose weight when I was the cause of him being fat in the first place?
The makers of Slentrol think it is! According to the ASPCA, not so much. You can also read more behind-the-scenes info from a scientific perspective on Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog. Thankfully, my five dogs are in excellent shape due to well, a good diet and plenty of exercise, so this is a nonissue for me. But I do see a lot of overweight dogs in the neighborhood, at the dog park and even at agility trials. Would the benefit of using this drug outweigh (no pun intended) its potential risks? Would it solve the problem over the long term?
Julia Kamysz Lane
To Meat or Not To Meat?
I am not a vegetarian, so a story about a culture where people eat dogs really challenges me. I'm horrified at the thought. But I eat beef. I eat pork. I don't eat horse meat. I'll eat chicken, but wouldn't touch crow. My lines seem totally arbitrary or, at least, culturally determined. I don't eat duck, rabbit or lamb -- for no really defensible reason other than some gut feeling. Who is to say that eating dogs should be off limits if eating animals, in general, is not?
So I'm wondering, can you love and work for animals and still eat them? I think about the work of Temple Grandin, who is not a vegetarian, but has done much to improve conditions for animals, particularly livestock. I'd like to hear from BARk readers about how you answer this central question. If you eat meat, have you considered it a conflict? If you are a vegetarian, has your relationship with a companion animal played a role in that decision?
Pets Trapped by Volcano in Chile
The fate of approximately 800 dogs and cats in southern Chile is still uncertain. The pets were abandoned when residents of Chaiten were forced to evacuate in the wake of a volcano on May 2. While an Associated Press story reports representatives from the Coalition for Ethical Control of Urban Fauna saying that food is on the way, the Emergency Bureau charged with delivering supplies has not confirmed these reports. Efforts to relocate the pets have so far been unsuccessful.
Hip Hop for Hounds
Give a listen to the recently announced winners of Hip Hop for Hounds. The contest, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, takes a musical genre that all-too-often celebrates dogfighting and infuses it with anti-cruelty lyrics. The results are not just positive messages, but messages that sound good.
A Little More Tattoo Attitude
Turtle in Tucson, Arizona, modeled her tattoo (upper left) on a doodle drawn by a coworker during a staff meeting. It doesn’t matter that the simple drawing of a Snoopy-style puppy with a flower and a butterfly doesn’t look a lot like its subject. (See the photo of Ellen, Turtle's Ridgeback/Boxer mix.) “She had many claims to fame, most notably riding across the country with my partner and I on our tandem bicycle,” Turtle wrote about Ellen in an email to us.
Yvette Stayduhar’s tattoo (upper right) was inspired by her two passions: dogs and her bakery. She and her husband own Ann Arbor Biscuit Co., an organic and all-natural pet treat bakery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her tattoo features a rescued Pit Bull puppy named Millie and a spatula and whisk. One of Stayduhar’s three dogs, Millie works at the shop everyday and is in training for her Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog certificates. (They also have two cats.)
“I wanted to send this photo along to show everyone the brighter side of Pit Bull tattoos,” Stayduhar wrote. “A happy, responsibly-raised and completely spoiled rotten Pit Bull emblazoned on my ankle.”
A realistic portrait of a four-year-old pug named Trinity with a custom bone is how Phil Caseria of New Britain, Connecticut, captured his furry friend (lower left).
Talk to the Paw
I've received a whole new batch of dog-inspired tattoos from BARk readers, which I’ll post today and tomorrow. Paw prints continue to be a central motif. Here are two very different approaches. The first a bold, reversed print, is from Trang Nguyen in Springfield, Virginia. Holly Carrell of Elizabeth, Colorado, pays tribute to three dogs in a laurelled paw. Shown in the photo, from left to right, the butterfly is for Georgia, the flower for Scarlett, and the lady bug for Emma. (Remember to click on the image for a better view.)
While we've discovered animal-inspired tattoos are definitely the rage, folks at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland have figured out how to harness the trend for good. During the month of May in the City of Roses, more than 50 area tattoo artists are donating 10 percent of the proceeds from animal-inspired tattoos to the DoveLewis Stray Animal & Wildlife Fund, which helps pay for treating injured critters with no guardians.
I asked Reed Coleman, a spokesperson for DoveLewis, if perhaps BARk’s March story on dog-themed tattoos was the inspiration for Tats for Cats … and Dogs. Nope. Apparently the counterculture fundraiser was the brainstorm of a DoveLewis receptionist back in late 2007. “But, your article did play a part,” Coleman says. “When we saw it we absolutely knew we were on the right track.”
Among DoveLewis’s suggestions for tattoo art is an EKG display of your dog’s heartbeat. I haven’t seen that yet. If you’re ready to wear your heart under your sleeve in the Portland area, may as well do some good at the same time. Check out the list of participating artists.