Check out Kate & Gin performing on Britain's Got Talent. Even Simon Cowell loves them!
30 May 2008
29 May 2008
At first it was single women. Then retiring baby-boomers. Now, Honda has sniffed out another growing demographic of potential car buyers in Japan: the dog-lover.
Japan's No.2 automaker is looking to win points with canine fans using a website that offers information on dog-friendly cafes and hotels, dimensions for its cars' cargo space for stashing cages, a rating system that ranks seat fabric for ease of removing dog hair, and much more. Visitors to the Japanese-language site, called "Honda Dog" (www.honda.co.jp/dog/), can also find out about events where they can test-drive Honda cars with their pups, or view a race in a section reserved for dog-accompanied guests.
"There's definitely a need there that wasn't being met," said Teruhiro Murai, an Internet marketer at Honda who came up with the idea seven years ago to fulfill his own needs as the owner of a golden retriever and miniature dachshund.
Thanks to a recent pet boom and a declining birthrate, Japanese now have more dogs and cats than they do children under 15. Detecting a trend, Honda came up with the W.O.W. concept car at the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show designed especially for dogs: detachable, easy-to-clean seats, wooden floors and a netted, built-in pup-crate in the dashboard.
The site, which can also be reached by clicking on the dog on Honda's Japan-based home page (www.honda.co.jp), gets 1.5 million page views a month. Internal surveys show that about 100 people decide to buy a Honda after visiting the site, Murai said. "It helps to show people exactly how our cars can be canine-friendly," said Tokio Isono, a fellow dog-lover and a chief engineer of Honda's cars.
The new Freed minivan, launched in Japan on Thursday, is a perfect example, he said. The vehicle has the lowest floor yet among Honda's minivans, at just 39 cm (15.35 inches) from the ground to the rear section, while the cargo space is just 48 cm off the ground. "It's low enough even for my dog, May," Isono said, commanding his short-legged, three-year-old corgi to jump in during a demonstration for reporters.
Dog-conscious car shopping also has legs outside Japan. Independent site dogcars.com, with readers clicking in from the United States to Russia and beyond, provides reviews and "paw" ratings for vehicles and pet gear such as backseat restraints and de-shedding combs.
Toyota Motor has also pricked up its ears, creating a rival site to Honda Dog last year in Japan. (http://toyota.jp/corolla/dog/) Still, the Japanese juggernaut may have some way to go to catch up with Honda's dog-friendliness: dogcars.com's first-ever "DogCar of the Year" award went to the 2007 Honda Element SUV for its easy-to-clean interior and anti-noseprint windows. "Thanks, Honda," raves an Element owner in a user comment. "You were trying to fill a surfer dude niche and you accidentally made the most rockin' dog-friendly vehicle ever!"
[Source: Reuters UK]
28 May 2008
Jaden is the "therapy dog" at the New Century Podiatry office at 18564 Route 11 run by Dr. James P. Pelletier. The 6-year-old miniature poodle has been working at the office for about two years. "It allows me to see patients who are upset or frightened," he said. "He has a calming effect."
"I've never seen a dog more dedicated to his master," said Janice A. Crabb, a patient from Black River. "He's so well-behaved. He comes to the door to greet me and then goes to find Dr. Pelletier."
When Dr. Pelletier works on patients' feet, Jaden takes his lap position and patiently waits for the procedure to conclude as patients pet him. Sometimes the dog is lulled to sleep. "It's unbelievable how many patients make their appointments around him," said Yolanda M. Pelletier, wife of Dr. Pelletier and New Century's office manager. "They say, 'I'll be back if Jaden is going to be here.'"
Many times, Jaden — named after Mrs. Pelletier's jade jewelry that he took a liking to as a puppy — isn't in the office because he makes rounds to area nursing homes with Dr. Pelletier. "All the nursing homes encouraged us to take Jaden because the patients really enjoy it," Dr. Pelletier said. "The patients in the nursing homes sometimes handle him kind of rough because of their coordination. But he lets them flip him and everything."
The Pelletiers' daughter, Samantha, 12, is responsible for Jaden's career track. She noticed the Web site of a not-for-profit Syracuse-based organization that advocates for therapy pets. That organization, Sunshine Friends Inc., has 160 volunteers who bring their pets to visit residents at about 45 facilities in Onondaga, Oswego, Cayuga and Cortland counties.
Samantha, who hopes to be a veterinarian, began teaching Jaden things such as to sit on command, not to bark and not to be startled by noises and people's reactions. Mrs. Pelletier said Samantha followed guidelines posted for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test, which is used as a screening tool at many medical facilities. The family hopes to take Jaden to Syracuse soon so he can take the Good Citizen test at the Syracuse chapter of the AKC.
[Source: Watertown Daily Times]
27 May 2008
It's tough to keep the bugs away, especially if your dog socializes with other dogs that may not be properly protected. Dr. Rob Trupp tells us these pests can cause all sorts of problems.
"Not all pets are going to have allergies from those but it is going to occur on some of them," veterinarian Dr. Rob Trupp said. "So they can also chew and scratch and itch themselves to where they will have other issues. They'll have skin problems. They'll have allergy problems. They'll have infections problems, hair loss."
And it gets worse. "Sometimes they're itching so badly, they may not even sleep because they're too busy chewing on themselves," Trupp said. Fleas can cause other problems, too. They can carry parasites like tapeworms.
The good news is there are plenty of things you can do. "There are different medications you can use. There are simple medications you can put on your pet," Trupp said. "They're very very safe. They're safe for the pets and they're safe for people too."
Dr. Trupp does warn that not all of these treatments work the same. Program, for example, only sterilizes the fleas. It doesn't kill the ones that are already hosting on your precious pet. But it does prevent them from laying eggs. Once a month, Frontline is also a preventative medicine. Capstar, on the other hand, kills the fleas on the pet at that time, but doesn't prevent new ones from coming on.
The best choice for your dog is a decision between you and your vet. Just make sure you're covering all your bases to keep your furry friend protected.
[Source: KTKA ABC 49 News]
22 May 2008
The owners of Bella say that she is at least 29 years old. Owner David Richardson, 76, said he got the mixed breed dog from an animal home about 26 years ago when she was at least three years old, making Bella’s age more than 200 years in canine years.
But the RSPCA said it does not have any records for Bella and the Guinness World Records said without the appropriate paperwork it could not be proved.
“I’m convinced she is the oldest dog in the world” said Mr Richardson, from Chesterfield.
Gareth Deaves, records manager from Guinness World Records, said “unless we can a doggy birth certificate or some really clear evidence from the RSPCA then we won’t be able to prove Bella’s age and we can’t list her as the oldest dog.” According to Mr Deaves, the most recent record for the oldest dog was held by Butch, a 28-year-old from America who died in 2003.
The oldest ever dog was Bluey, a sheepdog from Australia, who lived to 29.
A South Korean foundation led by disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk said Thursday it was working with a US firm which offers the world's only licensed commercial dog cloning service.
Sooam Biotech Research Foundation, led by Hwang, said in a statement it had teamed up with BioArts International in California. The California company Wednesday announced it would auction off the right for five dog owners to have their furry best friend cloned, with bidding in a worldwide online auction starting on June 18 beginning at 100,000 dollars.
BioArts says on its Best Friends Again website that it has been granted the sole worldwide licence for the cloning of dogs, cats and endangered species by Start Licensing. This includes technology developed at Britain's Roslin Institute which cloned Dolly the sheep, it says.
"BioArts is the only entity in the world with both the know-how and the legal right to practise commercial dog and cat cloning," it says.
"I know the association with Dr Hwang is going to be controversial," the New York Times quoted Lou Hawthorne, the chief executive of BioArts, as saying. "One of the contradictions of Dr Hwang is that he made mistakes on his human stem-cell research, and he's the first to admit that."
Hwang's claims that he had created the first human stem cells through cloning turned out to be bogus. He was stripped of all government honours and funds, including his title of "Supreme Scientist." He is on trial for fraud, embezzlement, ethical breaches and other charges, but has insisted in court that he could prove he created the first cloned human stem cells.
Hawthorne said Hwang's dog cloning work had been independently verified. "Our main concern is simply he's the best when it comes to dog cloning. And for that reason it behooves us to work with him."
On its website, BioArts showcases three of the four clones of Hawthorne's family dog "Missy" which died in 2002. Since then, Missy has been the subject of extensive cloning research. The remaining clone is kept at Sooam Biotech, which carried out the project to re-create Missy.
Hwang's colleagues at Seoul National University (SNU) created the world's first cloned dog, an Afghan hound named Snuppy, on a non-commercial basis in 2005. University researchers said Snuppy would become a father later this month following the first breeding of cloned canines. He is said to have impregnated two cloned bitches of the same breed through artificial insemination.
21 May 2008
In one hand is a book. While the other hand gently pets a therapy dog. Students at Curtsinger Elementary School in Frisco are practicing reading out loud, but with a twist. Instead of reading to classmates, they're reading to dogs. "They can hear you and they listen," says Zachary Guerrero, a third grader. Listening is the key.
"It's given him a lot more confidence because when he reads with the dog, the dog doesn't correct him, where when he reads with me I tend to correct," says Donna Guerrero, Zachary's mother. "He's more excited to read."
Zachary says reading to the dogs is simply fun. He says he's reading more and wants to come spend time with the dogs. "You get to read to the dogs and they listen to you and you get to sit by them and they are very soft," he says.
Curtsinger began the new after school program this month. It was developed by teacher Diane Gossett, a therapy dog owner. Volunteers from Heart of Texas Therapy Dogs bring their certified dogs each Thursday.
"Fortunately the administrators in our school are also dog lovers and animal people, so they were open to the concept," Gossett says. It's a concept that's been used in schools and libraries across the country for a few years, but Gossett believes Curtsinger is the first school in this area to use the reading dogs.
"I do know the power that animals have with kiddos," says Principal J'Lynn Anderson. The program works to make reading out loud more comfortable for these children, who often struggle in front of their classmates. "You can see the confidence on the kiddos face, that unconditional love, there's not a threat there, there's no stress," Anderson says. "They're just enjoying reading their books with a pal."
Twelve students are in this pilot, five-week program. The changes, teachers and parents say, are clear. "We have seen children that don't normally talk a lot, open up," Gossett says. "We've seen self confidence increase."
"Just being with the dogs, it just makes him feel calm and excited," Donna Guerrero says. "And they don't judge him when he reads. They just listen." Parents like Guerrero hope the program will lead to the children reading more, not only to the dogs, but eventually in class and beyond. "We want to them to perform a certain way, but with the dogs they just accept them the way they are and so they encourage them to read more," she says.
Video: Reading To Dogs New Teaching Tool
[Source: WFAA.com Dallas-Fort Worth News]
20 May 2008
It has been said that the Cannes film festival is going to the dogs, something which will quite literally happen this Friday, as critics meet to award the best on screen performance by a canine: the Palm Dog. The kitsch award, which is twinned with its British counterpart, the Fidos, is backed by a string of renowned critics, including Charles Gant, James Christopher, and Derek Malcolm, all with their tongues firmly in their cheeks.
But Palm Dog founder Toby Rose insists the animals' contribution to celluloid deserves recognition. He says no other animal can captivate an audience like a dog, none is so trainable, and none is so willing to permit humans to project all their sickliest emotions onto them.
Whenever scriptwriters hit a narrative roadblock, he says, what better way to explain a character's motivation than to insert a handy monologue to a pet dog. Dogs can be used to tackle more controversial and serious issues, he points out, such as 1982's White Dog, which is based on a true story in which a US writer adopts a stray which has been trained to attack only black people.
However, they are generally used for comic effect, which can distract viewers from the quality of the film, said critic Charles Gant. "Was Frank the singing pug an important plot element in Men In Black II? No. But was he the best thing about the movie? Oh, yes," he said.
Last year, the Palm Dog was awarded jointly to Mid Road Gang, a Thai film about street dogs in Bangkok, and Persepolis, the Iranian animated film now receiving critical acclaim in the UK.
This year's contenders for the top prize, a brass-studded black leather collar, include the dog which licks Julianne Moore in the opening sequence of Fernando Meirelles' film Blindness; the pet of Michelle Williams' character in Wendy and Lucy, whose departure for the pound contributes to her emotional breakdown; and a vicious dog in Lake Tahoe by Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke.
Mr Rose said: "Dogs are crucial to films and yet they are totally overlooked. This year I'm very excited about the dog that kisses Julianne Moore."
19 May 2008
You know it is spring in Kanab when there are blossoms on the trees, water flowing in the streams and greyhounds roaming the streets, as they were this weekend.
More than 225 of the sleek racing dogs and their human companions descended on the southern Utah city to participate in the ninth annual Greyhound Gathering that ended Sunday. Beginning Friday, the greyhounds, and those who love them, participated in a parade, had nails trimmed and microchips implanted, raced against people and held auctions of items including greyhound sculptures, travel bags and even a bronze of a hound lying on an antique ink well.
During Saturday's parade, many of the the dogs were dressed in human finery, ranging from sombreros to costumes of Canadian Mounties, vying for best costume honors. During the three-day event, the dogs and their owners also celebrated "yappy" hour and dinner at Best Friends Animal Society, five miles north of Kanab, and attended workshops on how to train and socialize the hounds.
Proceeds from the auctions, which Presto said are expected to raise $20,000, goes to support Almost Home for Hounds, a kennel at Colorado State University that helps greyhounds find human families through 10 adoption groups across the country.
Heather Weir, a veterinarian who runs the kennel and teaches animal surgery at CSU, attended the weekend gathering in Kanab after delivering 20 dogs for adoption in California. She said the kennel cares for 50 to 60 greyhounds at a time and that money raised in the event's annual auctions is instrumental in operating the facility that opened in 2005. "We couldn't do it without help from this gathering," said Weir.
While incidents of greyhounds being abused are fewer, Weir said, incidents of malnutrition, untreated injuries and dogs being killed when they can no longer race continue. That is why events like the Greyhound Gathering are important for bringing the plight of the racing dogs to the public's attention. "This is a lot of fun," Weir said. "It's nice to see people enjoying their dogs."
[Source: The Salt Lake Tribune]
14 May 2008
13 May 2008
One special puppy definitely stood out from his brothers and sisters when it was born last week with bright green fur. Animal experts said the puppy would not stay green forever.
The Louisiana SPCA said light-colored puppies are occasionally born with some discoloration after some fluids are mixed during the birthing process. Animal experts said the puppy's green exterior should fade in about two to four weeks. The puppy was expected to eventually sport white or tan fur.
[Source: Central Florida News]
12 May 2008
Chihuahua owners can fork out almost £90,000 on pampering their pooches during the lifetime of the diminutive dogs. The cost of owning the world's smallest breed of dog, a favourite with celebrites like Paris Hilton, Britnety Spears and Sharon Osbourne, far exceeds its larger cousins – a statistic that tells us much about the Chihuahua's owners.
According to research carried out by the pet insurers esure, Chihuahua owners are twice as likely as keepers of other breeds to buy fresh meat, vegetables and gravy for their pets. They also have a weakness for spoiling their dogs by giving them jeweled collars, designer doggie outfits or personalised beds.
The total bill, including vet costs, food, grooming, kennels and insurance came to £6,081-per-year, working out at £88,691 during a Chihuahua's 13-year lifespan. The average spent on other types of breed was £31,000, the equivalent of £2,388 a year.
"Today's household pets are treated more like members of the family and this new attitude is reflected in the amount owners spend on their pet's life style," said Mike Pickard, the head of pet insurance at esure. One fifth of owners faced a larger financial challenge because they owned more than one dog.
The greyhound was the second most expensive breed with a lifetime bill of £82,797 followed by the mastiff, which costs £81,619. The boxer was fourth at £49,896 while the English setter was just behind at £49,548. The research found that vets fees, food and kennels were the most expensive outgoings in that order.
08 May 2008
05 May 2008
01 May 2008
Scientists have found that Man's best friend is also good for his children too, for young kids who live with a dog may get an immune-system boost against asthma and other allergies. Joachim Heinrich of the Institute of Epidemiology at the Heimholtz Centre in Munich, Germany, led an investigation into more than 3,000 children, whose health was closely monitored from birth to the age of six.
Blood tests showed that, in households with dogs, children were less at risk from becoming sensitised to pollens and inhaled allergens - the triggers for asthma and wheezing, allergic rhinitis and eczema - than counterparts in dog-less homes.
Heinrich believes that early exposure to germs brought into the house on dog fur could stimulate maturation of the immune system. In other words, the body's defences do not go into allergic overdrive when they are suddenly exposed to dust house mites, pollens and other triggers.
Oddly, though, the benefit seen in the children's antibodies did not show through in terms of symptoms, the study found. Children with a dog were as susceptible to asthma and the other problems as counterparts without the pets.
"It is not crystal clear why this is so," Heinrich told AFP, saying it could be that the protective benefit may show up when the children in the study are a little older. Further assessments will be made when they reach the age of 10. The paper appears in the European Respiratory Journal, published by the European Respiratory Society (ERS). Further work is needed to understand why dogs appear to deliver this protection before a recommendation can be made to get a canine companion, said Heinrich.