Dog Is Her Co-Pilot…and Engine
Drivers and pedestrians can be forgiven for rubbernecking in San Diego, when long-time BARk reader Tamandra Michaels speeds by with a wide grin in a wheelchair pulled by an equally ecstatic-looking German Shepherd. Last week, the local CBS news profiled Michaels, a painter, who relies on a wheelchair due to paralysis caused by a birth defect, and her speed-loving assistance dog Borias. His full name is Borias von Herzensfreude, which roughly translates as "heart’s joy"--an emotion that's all too apparent as he sprints along pulling Michaels' chair—up to 20 miles per hour!
Give Your Dog A Bunny!
Does your dog chase bunnies or squirrels? Do you live in the Midwest or are you willing to drive there? Then check out the inaugural All-Breed Lure Coursing Trial! This unique event will be held on Saturday, August 2, 2008, from 10am to 3pm, and hosted by Lure Coursing Fanatics in Somers, WI (about an hour north of the Greater Chicago area).
Lure coursing appeals to your dog's instinctive urge to chase prey, so there's no need for special training. A white bag or "bunny" is attached to a line and rapidly jerked across a field, mimicking a real rabbit. It's great exercise for the dogs and fun to watch them stretch out and really move.
To see lure coursing in action, check out LCF owners' Cocker Spaniel, Tazer (pictured above), or my Pit Bull mix, Shelby (click on "Shelby Lure Coursing Video"), at LCF last summer. As you can see, the dogs absolutely love it!
All breeds and mixes are welcome. Entry fees are $10 for the first entry per dog and $5 for any additional entries for that dog. If you have three or more dogs entered, the first entry fee drops to $5 for the third and subsequent dogs.
For more info, please email Lauri Stromberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Charge It for Guide Dogs
Instead of accumulating credit to redeem at REI or racking up miles on Alaska Airlines, how about raising awareness and cash for guide dogs every time you use your VISA card? This week, Guide Dogs for the Blind announced a new platinum VISA that kicks .3% of all net retail transactions and $50 for every new account to this estimable organization. Get the details here.
Rescue Dog in the White House?
During an interview with Access Hollywood, Barack and Michelle Obama said they promised their daughters that win or lose the race for the White House, the family will be adopting a dog. Not ones to miss an important learning opportunity on the big stage, the Best Friends Animal Society is encouraging the maybe-future-First Family to adopt their new fur buddy from a shelter or rescue -- through a website (obamafamilydog.com) and a petition. Politics aside, you gotta love the idea of a once-surrendered, maybe neglected or even stray, mutt curled up with his or her forever family in the Lincoln bedroom. Now, that's the American Dream.
Commercial Breeder Closes Doors, Gives Key to Shelter
Commercial breeder Wallace Havens, who owns Puppy Haven Kennel, one of the nation's largest dog-breeding kennels, and the Wisconsin Humane Society have agreed to, surprisingly ... agree. Now retired, Havens has closed his breeding business and allowed the WHS to assume his business assets. Most dog lovers wouldn't consider dogs to be "business assets," but the deal includes his handing over more than 1,100 dogs to the WHS for spay/neuter and adoption.
That's right, more than 1,100 dogs. All of them have lived at the kennel their entire lives and have never been socialized or lived with people. The WHS has an extraordinary task before them. More importantly, this single-handedly is an impressive feat in the fight against puppy mills. Havens said he sold about 3,000 dogs a year. He was in business for 40 years. Do the math and the number of dogs he created (don't forget the intact dogs he sold that were purposely or accidentally bred) is astronomical.
According to the WHS press release, Margaret Stratton, president of the board of the Wisconsin Humane Society said, “Assuming the assets of this facility will allow us to provide wonderful homes for more than a thousand dogs. These dogs will soon enjoy the love and companionship of people who will treat them as members of their families. To our knowledge, this groundbreaking action is unique in the humane movement. This is consistent with the Wisconsin Humane Society’s mission to build a community where people value animals and treat them with respect and kindness. We are always working to educate people interested in obtaining a dog that they must consider the physical, social and emotional needs of the dog and find out as much as they can about the dog’s background.”
If you'd like to donate needed items or money to help the Havens dogs, please go to Wisconsin Humane Society and click on "Wish List." Or you can call (414) 431-6104 for more info.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Another dog saves the day!
This time from a kangaroo attack. Good job Mate.
Two Dogs Found Five Years Later!
Talk about inspiring! Rocco the Beagle (left) was reunited with his Bronx family after five long years. I thought that was a unique story until I read about the return of Bo the Collie (right) to his suburban Chicago family. He had been missing for five years, too! Both dogs safely returned home thanks to being microchipped. If you haven't already done so, please microchip your dog to ensure he always finds his way home.
Julia Kamysz Lane
What's That in Dog Years?
Hard as it is to imagine, people surrender older dogs (and cats) every day for a variety of reasons, most of which strain credibility. Often, these golden oldies are the last to be looked at, much less adopted. Getting innovative, shelters are now matchmaking between senior dogs and senior citizens, offering incentives and discounts to encourage older folks to add a little life to their years...and save a life as well. If you or someone you know falls into this category, check with your local shelter to see what they might have to offer. The Animal Welfare League (Warsaw, Ind.) program is one good example, as is Lee County's (Fla.) recent announcement. And a reader recently alerted us to another program, Young at Heart Pet Rescue in the Chicago area.
-Susan Tasaki, Bark
Check out the cover story in the New York Times Magazine today on pet pharma. A state-of-the-state on the booming pet-med industry (particularly in the area of behavior-modification) quickly becomes a thought-provoking analysis of animal minds. Setting aside the notion that more and more we rely on pills to cope with dog problems we create or fail to address through training, it’s fascinating to consider what it reveals when dogs and cats respond well to anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs developed for human brains.
Dogs in Cars
This story about a San Diego poodle who miraculously survived a rollover accident and hours weaving down a highway fails to mention if the dog had been restrained. I'm guessing not. This happy-ending incident provides more evidence of how a seat restraint or a secured crate protects canine passengers, in this case, by keeping them from wandering into traffic after an accident.