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Was Your Dog Naughty Or Nice?


Did your dog get a special gift for Christmas? My husband and I tend to spoil our four dogs all year long (that's our pit bull mix, Shelby, at left), so for Christmas, we stick to simple stocking stuffers like treats, tennis balls and a toy. According to the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Americans spent $48.7 billion on their pets in 2007. To put that into perspective, IRMA spokesman Peter Gill said, "That exceeds the gross domestic product of 120 nations."

If you went overboard with buying gifts for your dogs, please consider donating a few items to your local shelter. Many homeless dogs would enjoy treats, toys or just some attention. At this time of year, it seems like everyone is rushing around trying to do one more thing. If you have a few minutes, grab that extra carrier or package of treats and stop by the shelter. I promise it'll feel better than crossing every single item off your to-do list. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Julia Kamysz Lane

December 25, 2007 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Very Last Minute Gift Idea

OK, it won’t arrive in time for Christmas but it’s a groovy gift just the same: NPR Driveway Moments 5: All About Animals. With quirky tales of parrots, cats, hummingbirds, puppies, and more—including The Dog Who Loved to Suck on Toads and Turtle Holds On in Center of Vietnam’s Capital—this is a great gift for NPR-loving animal lovers.

If you’re at home wrapping, listen to the stories at NPR’s online archive—a gift for the giver. (Don’t miss the photos that supplement The Boy Who Ran Like A Deer.)

Lisa Wogan

December 24, 2007 in Cool stuff | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Holiday Bummer

I was depressed to read about a policeman shooting an off-leash dog in a Bedford-Stuyvesant park earlier this month. I heard about it through NYCdog—a New York City off-leash advocacy group. The dog, a three-year-old named Diamond, was running toward the cops “wagging her tail” when one of them shot her in the chest. After two days in critical care, Diamond is on the mend.

Based on the story as it was reported in the New York Post, I agree with advocates who say the cops overreacted. (Although I doubt they’ll be on the hook for this incident.) But I have a second—potentially less popular—takeaway: guardian responsibility. Dogs who romp off-leash must have excellent recall skills; shouting “she’s not going to hurt you” isn’t a substitute. There are lots of compelling reasons your dog needs to come when called, and, for city slickers, trigger-happy cops is just one more.

Lisa Wogan

December 24, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

T.G.I. Friday's In Doghouse

Earlier this month, Laura Greenberg and her family went to a suburban Chicago T.G.I. Friday's to celebrate the disabled teen's 17th birthday. A manager refused to seat them because of Laura's service dog Dawn. Company policy, claimed the manager, stated that as long as an able-bodied adult was along, the service dog could not come in. Clearly, someone needed a refresher on the American Disabilities Act. It's one thing for the manager to be ignorant, but to go to the trouble of making something up? Unbelievable!

The Greenbergs complained about the incident to T.G.I. Friday's and insisted on an apology. The restaurant went a step further and donated money to two important charities: 1) the Laura Greenberg Foundation (c/o Glenview State Bank, 800 N Waukegan Rd, Glenview, IL 60025), which was created soon after her brain injury in 1997 to help with medical expenses; and 2) Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit group that trains assistance dogs and matches them with disabled people.

Julia Kamysz Lane

December 22, 2007 in Current Affairs, Donations , Food, Health, Legislation, Social/fundraiser | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

More Fun With Names

As a follow up to Julia’s post about Veterinary Pet Insurance list of the top ten dog names, check out the 100 most popular dog names over at the newly redesigned Dogster.com. My husband wasn’t thrilled that his name—Charlie—is the fourth most popular male dog name, after Buddy, Max, and Jake. I think he should take it as a compliment. For the females, top names are Lucy, Daisy, Molly, and Bella.

Lisa Wogan

December 20, 2007 in Cool stuff | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Does Rabies Vaccine Last Seven Years?

Thanks to a grass-roots effort of dog lovers who raised much-needed funding, the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine is conducting the first long-term challenge studies on the canine rabies vaccine. Dr. Ronald Schultz, Chair of the Department of Pathobiological Sciences, is overseeing five- and seven-year challenge studies that will determine how long the rabies vaccine truly immunizes dogs. For more info or to learn how you can help your dog be healthier, go to the Rabies Challenge Fund.

Julia Kamysz Lane

December 17, 2007 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Health, Legislation, Science | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Santa says: Adopt, Don't Buy

Last week, my neighbor stopped by with a seven-week-old baby pug. A gift for her daughter, the squirmy, velvet bundle with the smushy face was irresistible. But I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, when she told me she bought him at a pet store. She’s a wonderful person and a loving mother with one rescued pug already at home.

I sometimes take for granted that folks in my circle know better. It was a reminder that an awareness of the awful realities of the puppy mills-pet stores complex is not as widespread as I thought.

I know I’m preaching to the choir on a Bark blog, but it lit a fire in my belly—especially during this season of ill-advised pet giving. In anticipation of Christmas, Last Chance for Animals has launched a full-court press to push adoption over purchase (if you must give an animal at all), and to encourage activism and outreach. In addition, Last Chance will protest puppy mills outside a Beverly Hills pet store on December 22. (By the way, earlier this week, The New York Times reported on the bust of a Bel-Air pet store—complete with a Paris Hilton cameo—for selling puppies from unlicensed pet mills.)

Lisa Wogan

December 15, 2007 in Humane | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Slain Soldier's Dog Goes Home

Until I read this story on CNN, I never pondered what happened to a military K-9 partner if the handler died. Since these dogs require an enormous amount of training, I would've guessed that they were assigned to a new handler and went back to work.

Of course, the bond between a dog and his person is priceless. Wouldn't a dog like Lex, who worked and lived with 20-year-old Marine Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee every day, need time to grieve? Is it fair to expect this 8-year-old German shepherd, who was wounded in the line of duty, to return to work? Lee's family didn't think so and pleaded for their right to adopt Lex. Nine months after their son was killed, Lee's parents will bring Lex home Dec. 21 to Quitman, Miss. I can't think of a better Christmas present for Lee's family and their son's devoted dog.

Julia Kamysz Lane

December 13, 2007 in Current Affairs, Legislation, media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Dogs Make History

For the first time, the military has placed therapy dogs in a combat zone. USA Today reports about VetDogs Boe and Budge (complete with heartwarming photos) on their way to join combat stress units in Tikrit and Mosul.

Lisa Wogan

December 13, 2007 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green Holiday Tip

Pc090139_3For the dog people on your gift list, why not wrap presents (whenever possible) in compostable pet-waste collection bags? I like Business Bags. Made of corn, they take only 45 days to biodegrade. Plus, they're a seasonally appropriate and environmentally correct green, and each bag is inscribed with the memorable message: "There's no business like dog business."

Lisa Wogan

December 10, 2007 in Cool stuff | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack