Church Sign Dog Debate
No matter your religious persuasion, or lack thereof, dog lovers will likely find these dueling church signs to be pretty amusing. I didn't find this debunked on Snopes, but a graphic-artist friend of mine thinks someone was having fun with Photoshop.
Julia Kamysz Lane
Animal House. For Real.
When I read about the growing trend of pet-friendly dorms, I thought two things in quick succession. First, I would have really appreciated a furry ally during those cold and alienating years in upstate New York. Second, I barely took care of myself; how would a dog or a cat in my care have fared?
While I love evidence of greater acceptance for our pet-loving lifestyles, I hope it's good news for all those four-legged roomies.
'Bark' Obama for President?
This week, the Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsed Senator Barak Obama for president. This was the first presidential endorsement in the Fund's history, and a choice, Mike Markarian, HSLF president, said Democrat and Republican members did not take lightly.
I appreciate how the endorsement breaks down the candidates' records on animal protection.
Markarian describes Obama as “a solid supporter of animal protection," citing support for at least a dozen animal protection laws, including those to strengthen the penalties for animal cruelty and promote spaying and neutering at the state-level and support for efforts to combat animal fighting and increase funding for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act.
The endorsement calls Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden “a stalwart friend of animal welfare," who receives high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard. Among his leadership accomplishments are co-authoring legislation to ban the netting of dolphins by commercial tuna fishermen and as lead author on a bill prohibiting trophy hunting of captive exotic mammals.
While the Fund described Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain as "lukewarm" on animal protection, they had heated words for his running-mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Gov. Sarah Palin's (R-Alaska) retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation have led to an all-out war on Alaska's wolves and other creatures. Her record is so extreme that she has perhaps done more harm to animals than any other current governor in the United States.
p.s. While we're on the topic, check out the White House-dog house Ellen DeGeneres had made for Michelle Obama at the end of this YouTube clip.
Another Pet Food Recall
On Friday, Mars Veterinary announced a "precautionary" dry pet food recall due to concerns over potential salmonella contamination. As far as I can tell, no pets have been reported ill. Read the recall announcement with list of recalled products.
Stopping to Smell the Lupines
You probably know about the great work of scat dogs, which help biologists and ecologists by efficiently sniffing out "evidence" of endangered species such as wolves, grizzly bears and right whales. But have you heard of canine flower detectors? In a ground-breaking program, the Oregon Nature Conservancy teamed up with a Belgian Sheepdog named Rogue to track down Kincaid lupine. These dwindling native flowers support the Fender's blue, an endangered butterfly found only in that state's Willamette Valley. The canine surveys will be used as part of a conservation strategy.
German Shepherd Dials 911, Saves Owner
Given a chance, dogs are capable of mastering extraordinary skills. Buddy the German Shepherd called 911 when his owner, Joe Stalnaker of Phoenix, had a seizure. Help quickly arrived and thankfully, he survived.
Stalnaker adopted Buddy as a puppy from Paws With A Cause so he could be trained as a Seizure Response Dog. As a dog trainer, I'm always looking for fun, new things to teach my pack of five dogs or my students' dogs. But I'll leave dialing 911 to service dogs only! What tricks can your dog do? Or what trick would you like to teach your dog?
Julia Kamysz Lane
Rotties Survive 11 Days in Sewer
I know this was supposed to be a feel-good story, but for me, it brought up more concerns than warm fuzzies.
How did young Rottweilers Trixi and Boscoe end up stuck in a sewer pipe in the first place? Well, these two pups live on site at a construction company -- probably not the safest environment for any animal. Which brings up my next question: are they left there unsupervised to "guard" the property? Seems like it. Owner Tracy Lampignano said they assumed the dogs had been stolen when they went missing. If a dog is inside a home in a residential area, I imagine they are far less appealing to would-be dognappers.
Now I know some dog owners would roll their eyes at seeing my dogs slumbering (and slobbering) on my living room couch, but I had sincerely hoped that our society had moved beyond the "junkyard dog" mentality. Why couldn't Trixi and Boscoe go home with the company owners every night? It would certainly be safer and in my view, more humane.
At the height of the drama, Trixi was found first, but they couldn't find Boscoe. Lampignano told the local paper, "We didn't hear a sound but knew Boscoe had to be down there too. She was in heat and he was following her everywhere."
Yeah, that gasp you heard was from me. Trixi and Boscoe are almost one year old. Why aren't they spayed/neutered? Also -- and I hate to ask -- since they're so close in age, are they siblings? In which case, at least one of them needs to be spayed/neutered NOW.
On the upside, it was refreshing to read about Rottweilers in the paper without a single mention of BSL (Breed Specific Legislation). I just wish the story had been completely free of breed stereotypes.
Julia Kamysz Lane
An Epic Pup Rescue
I shadowed Fresno-based pet detective Kat Albrecht for the August 2006 issue of BARk. Albrecht is the founder of the Missing Pet Partnership and author of two books about her experiences and the science of finding lost pets. So I was thrilled when I learned earlier this year that she had moved her operation -- complete with several pet-detection dogs and two target cats -- to my neck of the woods to start Seattle Pet Hunters.
I ran into Albrecht this weekend at a walk to benefit PAWS (the Progressive Animal Welfare Society) in Lynnwood, and she told me about an epic, two-month effort to rescue Sophie, a skittish, 7-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog who had slipped her collar in June. We're talking stake-outs, hidden cameras, infrared lighting -- the works. Albrecht has posted an extensive diary and intriguing night video. Check it out.
I'm not ready to say goodbye to summer fun with the dogs. So I was thrilled to receive a link to the latest Buddy video a few days ago. Buddy is a serious surfer dude from Ventura, California, about whom I wrote in my book Unleashed. I send this out to all you home sapiens facied with the bummer of less fun in the sun with your pups. (If you view this at work--watch the volume.)