30 June 2008

Don't Allow Fireworks to Make Your Pet Anxious

Independence Day is a day for family get-togethers and fireworks. But Bob Schultheis, a natural resource engineering specialist with University of Missouri Extension, advises families to leave their pets at home when going to crowded summer events. Schultheis suggests the following safety tips for managing pets around crowds and fireworks:

* Many pets are not used to large crowds and a lot of noise. The noise and commotion can be extremely frightening. "If you are hosting a party or will have fireworks, have a safe quiet place to keep pets so they will not become frightened and hurt themselves. Fireworks, particularly, make pets very uncomfortable and agitated, and can hurt their very sensitive hearing,' said Schultheis.

* If you know your pet usually becomes scared by loud noises, like thunderstorms, Schultheis recommends putting the pet in the quietest room of the house, with soothing music playing, to help them alleviate any anxiety caused by exploding fireworks. "If you are home with your dog during a fireworks display or thunderstorm, do not try to comfort them. That tells them that they have reason to be frightened. Turn up the radio to help drown out the noise and put lots of lights on so that the flashes are less noticeable. Act normally, keeping your voice light and unconcerned," said Schultheis.

* Never tie dogs outside because it increases their anxiety, Schultheis said. "Don't leave your outdoor pets unattended, even in a fenced yard. The chaos may cause them to panic and hurt themselves trying to escape. A scared animal is not careful, and many are hit by cars when running wildly away from something they think is dangerous," said Schultheis.

* It is also a good idea to be sure your pets are wearing proper identification in case they do become lost during an event. Identification tags will help your pet find its way home. Microchips are the most reliable form of identification.

* "Don't take your pet to a fireworks event and then leave it alone in a parked car. They may develop hyperthermia (increased body temperature) which is usually fatal," said Schultheis. Dogs and cats cannot perspire and can only release heat by panting, drooling and through the pads in their feet. Cars reach unsafe temperature levels (120 degrees Fahrenheit) quickly. Young, elderly or obese pets, and those with a dark-colored coat, are particularly at risk of overheating.

* "Keep your dog or cat hydrated and cool. Make sure they have access to water for drinking. Use a wet towel under the animal, air conditioning, a kiddie pool, or a fan in front of a pan of ice to keep the animal cool," said Schultheis.

[Source: News-Leader.com]

27 June 2008

Greatest American Dog on CBS this July 10th

There's a new reality show called Greatest American Dog premiring July 10th at 8PM EST on CBS. I can't wait to see these dogs in action, including the cute skateboarding dog, Tillman, from the iPhone commercials!!

25 June 2008

Japanese 'Dogman' Robs Stores to Feed Pets

A Japanese animal-lover on welfare went to extremes to provide for his many pets by robbing convenience stores while wearing the mask of a dog, police said Monday.

Takaharu Kawata -- branded by Japanese media as "The Dogman" -- was caught on a surveillance camera wearing an oversized black-and-white canine mask while brandishing a knife. The 28-year-old was arrested in Osaka for hold-ups in which he allegedly stole a total of 587,000 yen (5,470 dollars) in cash, a police spokesman said.

Kawata "said he resorted to the robberies because he loves animals and was running out of money to feed his two dogs, five cats, five turtles, two snakes and an aquarium of tropical fish," the spokesman said. "He bought a knife after watching television and thinking how easy it was to do hold-ups just by wielding it," he said.

Kawata, who is unemployed and living on welfare, was arrested in March while he was attempting to rob a convenience store. He is suspected of having robbed two stores previously.

Despite receiving monthly benefits of 120,000 yen, Kawata said he did not have enough money to cover the basic necessities for him and his pets. He was reportedly without the mask when he was arrested, saying that his beagle -- which he apparently bought with stolen cash -- had ripped it up.

After his arrest, Kawata's pets were handed over to a pet shop, the police spokesman added, and the lease on his apartment was suspended. Kawata is in police custody pending charges and a court appearance.

[Source: Agence France-Presse]

24 June 2008

Meetings with a Mutt? More Pets Sharing Office Space

Dogs and cats and fish, oh my! More than 63 percent of American households own a pet today, which equates to 71.1 million homes and a whopping 382.2 million pets, according to a recent American Pet Products Manufacturers Association survey of pet owners. So are Fluffy and Fido just hanging out at home, or are they going to work with their human companions?

Pets, it seems, are showing up in the workplace more than ever, with 30 percent of employers allowing workers to bring pets to the office, according to a recent consumer survey commissioned by The HON company, a leading designer and manufacturer of office furniture. Of those who actually bring their pets to work, the majority of Americans bring dogs (24 percent), followed by fish (12 percent) and cats (8 percent).

Visitors to The Warehouse Office Furniture Mart, a Cincinnati-based contract furnishing dealership that sells HON office furniture, can expect to be greeted by a couple of unusual “customer service representatives” when they enter the showroom. Jake and Woody, Labrador Retrievers owned by the company’s president, Jack Keane, can be seen daily at the dealership.

Since 2000, Keane has encouraged employees to bring in any well-behaved pet to spend the day in the company of the dealership’s staff and customers. He even encourages customers to bring their dogs along when they visit the showroom.

The affable and quite mannerly pair – often referred to as the “star customer relations team” – spend their days tethered on long leads in the 15,000-square-foot showroom’s office area. This arrangement allows them plenty of interaction with dog-loving customers but keeps them out of the way of the handful of those a little more canine-wary.

“We’ve had at least 95 percent positive feedback on Jake and Woody’s daily presence,” Keane says of the boys. Keane’s business isn’t alone in cultivating a pet-friendly atmosphere. A recent search online at Simply Hired (www.simplyhired.com), an online job search engine, turned up 8,100 open jobs at pet-friendly companies, including natural candidates like PetSmart and IAMS Pet Food; but also big names such as Google, Amazon.com and even Dartmouth College.

There are other benefits to having pets in the office – millions of Americans believe pets on the job lower absenteeism and encourage workers to get along, according to responses from both the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association and HON surveys.

Keane feels having Jake and Woody in the showroom actually helps build top-of-mind awareness for his business, too. “People definitely remember our showroom,” he says. “It’s a great way to reach out to customers, especially dog lovers, and make ourselves stand out from the competition.”

[Source: ABC13]

23 June 2008

Bionic Pets? Scientists Says It's Possible

A handful of cutting edge veterinary medical teams are pushing the prosthetics envelope and creating artificial legs and paws that are a hi-tech step above the makeshift limbs or carts given to most animals. And more important, the progress improving the lives of lucky cats and dogs holds big promises for people.

One-year-old Nubbin seems unaware that he's a bit different from his four-legged pal. "I honestly don't know that he knows that he's only three-legged," says Nubbin's owner, Erika Edwards. The cute canine happens to be a patient at North Carolina State University, where engineers and veterinary surgeons are fine tuning a state-of-the-art approach to prosthetics - custom-designed metal implants that attach directly to an animal's own bones.

"We're getting much better and we can develop new types of implants much, much faster than we did in the past," says Ola Harryson, a biomedical engineer at North Carolina State University.

Here's how it works: a machine transforms CAT scan images into replicas of an animal's bones that are used to help design and customize the implant. During surgery, the implant is inserted into the end of remaining bone. Over time, new bone grows around the metal and creates a strong anchor and a prosthetic foot is attached.

"I think it could work very well in a number of species," says Dr. Denis Macellin-Little, a veterinary surgeon at North Carolina State University. And that includes people, but that's in the future.

Nubbin will be one of the first dogs to get the hi-tech implants in the next few months. The North Carolina team has had requests from pet owners around the world, including China, where a panda is missing a paw.

The group is also in contact with a number of military hospitals that are keeping close tabs on the progress in hopes returning soldiers will one day get the implants. It is estimated that nearly two million amputees are living in the United States, a number that is expected to jump dramatically in the next ten years in part because of the war in Iraq.

[Source: KARE11 Minneapolis]

20 June 2008

Go Green: Eco-Friendly Pet Options

Now the idea of going green has gone to the dogs. Pets can minimize negative impacts on the environment. Check out these Earth-friendly pet products.

Eco-Friendly Dog Beds: Worldwise's PoochPlanet and SmartyKat pet beds are made principally from recycled materials. The material that gives many PoochPlanet and SmartyKat beds their incredibly resilient and fluffy loft is EcoRest, a special fiberfill blend spun from post-consumer plastic beverage bottles. Many of the beds are filled with the equivalent of more than 50 recycled plastic bottles. Cover fabrics for many styles are also made with a blend of recycled materials. Worldwise, whose mission is to change the way America feels about the look, feel, price and performance of Earth-friendly products, has joined forces with national retailers to make the purchase of environmentally-friendly products a natural choice for the average American consumer.

Cat Toilet: The world's only self-flushing, self-washing cat box. The Cat Genie doesn't use traditional cat litter, which is strip mined, and doesn't leave you with litter to dispose of. Cat feces go in septic tank or sewage system, just like human waste. The product won best new cat product at the 2007 Global Pet Expo.

Doggie Septic Tank: Rather than disposing of pet waste in garbage, this picks up where your pet left off. You use a pet septic tank of sorts. The original in-ground pet waste disposal system keeps lawns and play areas clean and sanitary with the Doggie Dooley Toilet. Simply install in the ground; drop in dog waste; and occasionally add Digester Powder and water for continuous break down of waste. The environmentally-friendly Doggie Dooley Toilet is harmless to lawns, pets and shrubs, and has the capacity to handle the waste of one large or two small dogs. It works like a home septic system by using enzyme and bacteria action to turn waste into a ground absorbed liquid. It's ideal for most soil conditions except hard clay (works well in sandy soil too). It is molded of durable plastic, the Doggie Dooley Toilet features an open-bottom to create a waste leach field. Improperly disposed pet waste can wash into storm sewers by rain, thus carrying pollutants directly into our lakes and streams. Doggie Dooley offers an easy, sanitary method for yard cleanup.

Eco-Friendly Cat Litter: There are eco-friendly cat litters such as those made out of plant-based material such as corn, wheat, recycled newspapers or wood chips, which are friendlier on the environment than clay litter. Check out corn litter at www.gpcpet.com or green tea leaves/wood cat litter at www.nextgenpet.com.

Keep Pets Clean With Natural Pet-Care Products: Lather pets up with detergent, alcohol and pesticide-free grooming products and clean up their mess with products that are as gentle on Earth as they are on pets. These include hypoallergenic dog shampoo, stain and odor remover, dander remover, chew prevention aid, tearless puppy shampoo. Hartz Clean Earth line of products even includes biodegradable training pads (think biodegradable diapers).

Recyclable Or Sustainable Pet Toys: Toys made with organically grown cotton or natural dyes aren't only pesticide and chemical free, they also reduce pet allergies and are biodegradable. Find them at www.simplyfido.com There are great chew toys made from recycled rubber come from www.planetdog.com.

Cat Scratch Fever: As if there weren't enough things to admire about this product -- toy, bed, exerciser and training tool all in one -- the SuperScratcher serves the planet as well as it does cats and their owners. Made of nearly 100 percent recycled materials and certified organic catnip, it is long-lasting, safe and natural, and 100 percent recyclable.

Hemp Collars: Almost all pet collars are made of nylon, which is made from petroleum. Planet Dog's all-time best-selling collar is the Cozy Hemp Collar. Natural hemp gives strength and an attractive texture, and the fleece lining is cozy and soft. It's what you would wear if you were a dog. Hemp is one of nature's most durable fibers. It gets soft and stays strong, making it the perfect material for collars, leashes and harnesses. The Cozy Hemp Collars come in three sizes and three colors (green apple -- great for St. Patrick's Day, purple and orange). Medium and large collars have a stainless steel side-release buckle, and small collars have plastic. The leash handle comes in one size and the same three colors, and it is fleece-lined for comfort.

Recycle a Pet: Adopt -- don't buy -- one of the millions of pets in shelters that would jump at the chance to get out of the cage at the shelter and under the covers in your home! Go to www.petfinder.com for more info.

[Source: abcnews.com]

19 June 2008

Tori Spelling Mourns Beloved Pug Mimi LaRue

Tori Spelling's beloved dog Mimi LaRue died Tuesday of natural causes at the age of 11, the actress tells PEOPLE.

"She was a star and a true lady, and she will be missed greatly," says Spelling. "People everywhere knew her by name. I loved when fans wanted her over me. I felt proud!"

Mimi LaRue died at home surrounded by her family, including Spelling's husband Dean McDermott, 41, son Liam, 1, and newborn daughter Stella, 10 days old. "I'm devastated," said Spelling, who reveals her dog had suffered from medical problems relating to her hips and neck for years. "I'm convinced she waited around to make sure I had the daughter I always dreamt about before she left us."

Mimi LaRue was a frequent sight in her trademark pink dresses, both on the red carpet as well as on Spelling's reality shows, So noTORIous, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, and the new season of Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood.

"She was not just a dog but a fashion icon and legend amongst Hollywood dogs," Spelling says. "She received fan e-mail on a regular basis, and I often joked she got sent more designer clothes than me!"

Aside from being fashionably hip, Mimi LaRue was a true member of the family, rarely giving up a chance for a fine meal or simply relaxing in Spelling's lap. "She was a loving pet and a true diva to the end," says Spelling.

[Source: People]

18 June 2008

Portland's Next Top Dog Model Contest

They walk on all four's, wag their tales, occasionally bark and will soon be competing to become Portland's Next Top Dog Model. On Wednesday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hotel Monaco, 10 large and 10 small dog finalists will compete before a celebrity panel of judges to become Portland's Next Top Dog Model. One small and one large dog will be chosen as Portland's Next Top Dog Model. In its second year, Portland's Next Top Dog Model Contest benefits the Oregon Humane Society and is presented by LexiDog and the Hotel Monaco.

97.1 FM's Dr. Doug and Skippy will emcee the festivities and Portland LumberJax goalie and Community Relations Director Dallas Eliuk will be one of the celebrity judges. A lifelong animal lover and owner of a toy fox terrier, Eliuk will be judging the event for the second consecutive year.

"Dogs are one of the greatest gifts to man and the Humane Society is one of the greatest gifts to dogs," said Eliuk. "It's always an honor to be allowed to work with an organization that gives back to those that give so much to us."

All finalists receive a prize package worth over $100 and winners will each receive a prize pack worth over $750. The winning prize packs include: a year's supply of food, a deluxe photo shoot, grooming spa treatments, massage, teeth cleaning and much more.

[Source: Our Sports Central]

17 June 2008

Pet Health Insurance - Should You Get It?

Maintaining a healthy dog can be very expensive. Especially, if you take the dog to the vet 2 to 5 times a year. From shots to random injuries the cost can become expeditionary high. Although many people may think pet health insurance is an unnecessary expense, health insurance for your pet in the immediate can significantly save you money thereby helping you in times of emergency make decisions of life or death of your pet if serious health issue arise.

Veterinary cost are skyrocketing every day. Unlike regular insurance their is not a government assisted pet insurance program that can be used at a veterinary office. All visits have to be paid for upfront either routine or emergency. This can run into thousands of dollars.

Pet insurance is not as difficult to get as your may think. Just like personal health insurance, pet insurance for your dog has annual premiums and, of course a deductible. The deductible as well as the premium can range from policy to policy. But the rule of thumb is the premium price depends on the dog breed and type of policy. One positive though is if you have more than one pet, you can usually get a discount.

Deductibles typically range around $100 a year. There are many policies to choose from based on your dogs age, breed, lifestyle and prexisting conditions. Some plans cover most everything from annual checkups to vaccinations, spaying, neutering and any medications as well as sickness and, of course accidents. These policies, of course will be the most costly.

But if you can handle the yearly costs of a well dog just fine and want something just in case your dog becomes injured or sick, you can get a policy that will cover just these occasions.

Getting a new health insurance policy for your dog is similar to getting one for yourself - emergency coverage begins as soon as you sign up with your first payment and there is a 30 day waiting period for illness and other routine claims.

When considering health insurance for your dog, be aware that his age will affect the coverage. Most policies cover the dog starting at 6 weeks of age. On the other end, you may not be able to get coverage for your dog if he is more than 8 years old. Once your dog is covered, however, he will be able to retain coverage past 8 years of age.

[Source: American Chronicle]

16 June 2008

12,339 Pooches Break World Record

Dogs of all shapes and sizes gave a helping paw to smash the world record in South Shields yesterday. The Great North Dog Walk demolished its own Guinness World Record for the largest dog walk in the world, as a staggering 12,339 pooches pounded The Leas, representing 162 breeds.

Last year, 10,272 dogs took part, spread across 154 different breeds. A delighted Tony Carlisle, founder and organiser of the 3.5-mile walk, said: "I'm just so proud we've done it again. We're the biggest and best in the world. It was great to see the deputy mayor swelling with pride. It's fantastic for the borough – what an accolade to have for South Tyneside! The event is getting bigger and better. This really makes all the hard work everyone has put in worth it. It's like winning the lottery, only better."

This year, a further three world records were broken in the sub-categories.

Steve Wilkinson, 46, of Jarrow, broke his own record of 6m 12s with his dog Blue, for the fastest senior doggy mile. He reached the mile mark nine seconds faster than last year. The 2008 event saw a junior champion for the first time ever in the Under-16s World Trophy. Adam Wright, 15, from South Shields, reached the mile in 6min 4sec with his dog Lily. The senior record for the course was broken by Chris Tillbrook with his pet Cassie, when they crossed the finish line in 18m 34sec. The fastest woman was Vicky Thompson, who came in at 21min 12sec.

Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun John Anglin, officially started the walk. Before the ribbon was cut, he said: "This is a fabulous event. It's amazing to think that on the first walk there were just 13 dogs taking part. Last year there were over 10,000, which just shows you how far it has come. Over the years, the Americans have tried to beat us, but we've out-performed them every time. This event has a staggering 12 world records, and I hope we beat it again this year. This event is also so good because of the money it raises for dog charities, which also help people as well."

The event was sponsored by Butcher's, and raised money for several dog charities.

[Source: The Shields Gazette]

13 June 2008

Dog Fest in West Chester, OH

Dog Fest 2008 is taking place this weekend in West Chester, Ohio. Dog Fest originated in 1999 as a community event for West Chester where people could bring their dog or dogs for a day of fun with just a few events and booths, exhibitors and entertainers. Dog Fest, 2008 will draw over 12,000 people and their canine friends, 8 food vendors, 95+ booths, entertainment, demonstrations, contests, and food for the canines and their humans too!

Dog Fest is now hosted by the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), a no-kill, non-profit animal shelter in Butler County which houses dogs and cats until they are adopted into their own forever, loving home.

Dog Fest’s mission is to educate families about the existence of the many wonderful animal shelters and rescues in the greater Cincinnati area that take in stray and abandoned animals from the streets. They are housed, fed, and provided with veterinary care until loving homes can be found for them.

Many rescues exhibit at Dog Fest and dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages are adopted every year. Dog Fest also provides an opportunity for you and your dog to just come out and have fun, where your dog can participate in games, contests, and even a doggie parade!

[Source: Dog Fest]

12 June 2008

But Barking is Natural

Barking dogs are the focus of a new Albemarle County ordinance supervisors passed Wednesday evening.

The new rule states that if a person's dog barks longer than 30 minutes, a neighbor could take that resident to court. If a dog owner is found guilty once, they could face a maximum fine of $500. Guilt on three occasions could result in saying goodbye to Fido forever.

"Due to the neighbors constantly barking dogs, I can honestly say that legislation to control excessive dog barking is sorely needed," said Kathleen Dubovsky, who favors the ordinance.

Others say the new rules are a little over the top. "Does a dog barking at ten decibels count as excessive when my neighbors TV is drowning out the noise of that dog," asked resident James Barrett.

It's still not clear how the county would enforce the ordinance. Supervisors did remove part of the policy that would allow a dog to be killed if it were taken away. County officials will review the results of this ordinance in one year.

[Source: NBC 29]

11 June 2008

Koreans Keen to Export National Dog: the Jindo

South Korea's Jindo dog has stood tall against tigers, guarded the heavily armed border with the North and marched in the Olympics. Yet the Jindo is having a tough time battling poodles for trophies at dog shows abroad. The Jindo dog, largely unknown overseas, is South Korea's most popular indigenous breed. It has won legions of fans at home for its big heart and undying loyalty to its master.

South Korea wants to make the Jindo an international breed but the country that has devised successful strategies for sending its microchips, mobile phones and automobiles abroad has been largely ineffective in exporting its native dog. Its mission has been hampered by its own laws designating the Jindo as a cultural treasure, which make it difficult, and in many cases illegal, to export purebred dogs.

"Our indigenous breed was not recognised anywhere in the world except Korea. We felt that it was time that something was done about it," said Julie Soojung Lee, an official with Samsung who helped in the international marketing of the Jindo dog. Samsung worked with the government in a campaign that resulted in the Jindo being recognised by the Kennel Club, but it is not yet in competition at Crufts. The American Kennel Club has started the process to recognise the Jindo.

The Jindo is a medium sized, spitz-type dog with pointy upright ears and a raised, curly tail. The dog comes in a variety of colors with white and orange-tan being the most common. Once used for hunting and guard duties, the dog hails from the southwest island called Jindo. Owners say it is loyal to a fault, highly intelligent and brave. One leading breeder described the Jindo as "clean and dignified".

Over the years, the Jindo's bloodlines became tainted as it mixed with mutts on the island. To remedy this, South Korea recognised it as a national treasure in 1962 and set up breeding facilities to develop dogs that would set standards. The protection helped spark a Jindo revival but it also made it almost impossible to send purebred dogs overseas unless a breeder can navigate through a maze of bureaucracy.

"Adult Jindo dogs branded as national treasures must stay inside of Jindo Island," said Park Byung-jin, manager of the government-run Jindo Dog Research and Testing Centre that breeds the dog and serves as a gateway for government approval to send certified purebreds abroad.

Park Jong-hwa runs the Mosan Jindo Dog Research Centre just south of Seoul and said the dog may not yet be ready for the international stage. "The main problem with the Jindo is it's a one-man dog and lacks good social skills," said Park, who has been breeding Jindo dogs for about 45 years and who has nearly 170 of them living in a kennel attached to his home. Park has been trying to breed out some of the Jindo's anti-social characteristics and establish what he feels should be standards, which has put him at loggerheads with the government's facility on the island of Jindo.

Parks said the Jindo adapts well to its surroundings and can find its niche in a cramped Manhattan apartment or suburban home with a yard. "I have absolute confidence that the Jindo one day will enter the international show ring and compete against other leading canines in the world."

[Source: Reuters UK]

09 June 2008

Hot Enough for You?

As Ace and his good friend Joey can tell you, it has been pretty darned hot -- meaning it's time for a list of tips to help your dog cope with summertime heat.

For starters: Make sure your dog always has water, and never leave him in a parked car. Even with the windows cracked, even in the shade, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that temperatures inside cars can rise dramatically even on mild days. With outside temperatures as low as 72 degrees, researchers found that a car's interior temperature can heat up by an average of 40 degrees within an hour, with 80 percent of that increase in the first 30 minutes.

While people can roll down windows or turn on the air conditioner, pets cannot -- and they don't sweat like we do, either. Their sweat glands, which are on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, like pugs and bulldogs, young pets, old pets and pets with weight, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible to heat-related stress.

If you are going out, bring plenty of water along -- for you and your dog. If the dog is staying home, leave a little air conditioning on for him, and make sure when he is outside, he has a good supply of water and a shaded area.

Try to take your dog out to play in the cool of early morning or evening. And keep in mind that sidewalks and asphalt can really heat up. When walking your dog, steer clear of areas that may have been sprayed with insecticides or other chemicals and be alert for coolant or other automotive fluid leaking from your vehicle. Animals are attracted to the sweet taste, and ingesting just a small amount can be fatal, according to the ASPCA, whose complete list of summertime tips can be found here.

Signs of overheating in pets include excessive panting and drooling, mild weakness and an elevated body temperature. Keep a closer eye on your dog during these steamy days of summer.

[Source: baltimoresun.com]

Spot the Dog -- from Space

Boris the dog is so big he can be seen from SPACE. The three-year-old bull mastiff tips the scales at a whopping 14 STONE (196 lbs)- and was tracked lazing in his garden by a Google Earth satellite. His huge brown body can clearly be seen stretched out in his favourite position.

The massive mastiff lives with the Milner family who run the Tudor Grange Hotel in Bournemouth, Dorset. They were stunned when they zoomed in on their property online and saw the brown blob in the garden.

Fran Milner, 24, whose parents Bob and Carol run the hotel, said: "My brother-in-law was on the internet one day when he decided to look at a satellite picture of our hotel. He zoomed in a little way and noticed a big brown blob on the grass in front of the sundial. Then he realised it was Boris. He was in his favourite place. He loves lying there because it is a bit of a suntrap. We all had a look and couldn’t believe it. I knew he was big but didn’t think he was big enough to be seen from space."

The satellites used to take the Google Earth images operate at an orbit of between 300 and 450 miles up in space.

The Milners have owned Boris since he was eight-weeks-old. The average size of a bull mastiff is nine stone (126 lbs) but they suspected he would be on the large size as his dad was also enormous. Fran said the fact he regularly wolfs down a full English breakfast could have something to do with it too. He has also suffered problems with his cruciate ligaments which prevents him from walking long distances to exercise.

Fran said: "From the day we got him he just kept growing and growing. Luckily though he appears to have stopped and shouldn’t get any bigger."

She added: "Boris gets on brilliantly with our guests because he is so gentle and beautiful. They all want a picture with him - he’s probably the most photographed dog in Bournemouth."

[Source: The Sun]

06 June 2008

Take Your Dog to Work, Friday June 20

First celebrated in 1999, Take Your Dog To Work Day was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters and breed rescue clubs. This annual event encourages employers to experience the value of pets in their workplace for this one special day to promote pet adoptions.

On June 20, 2008, businesses, animal shelters and pet-care professionals from around the world will work together to better the lives of shelter dogs everywhere. Thousands of businesses will open their doors to employees’ pets on this day in celebration of the great companions dogs make. Pet Sitters International invites your business to Join us! as we celebrate a decade of working dogs!

We are asking every business--great and small--to become a true friend of the canine community by helping Pet Sitters International promote pet adoptions in a positive and proactive way! Explore the site to learn how you can participate, register your business and spread the word.

[Source: Take Your Dog to Work]

05 June 2008

NYC - Scoop Your Poop or Pay a Fine

Dressed in plain clothes and driving white hybrid Toyotas, Mr. Otibu and the 14 other agents in the Sanitation Department’s Canine Task Force fan out across the five boroughs each day to enforce the city’s “pooper scooper” law, which went into effect 30 years ago and became the model for other large cities.

The city’s 311 complaint line received about 3,000 complaints about dog waste last year, up from 2,100 in 2004, and so the Sanitation Department has added seven agents to the task force. In the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, they handed out 869 summonses, an increase of roughly 40 percent over the same period a year before.

The maximum fine, $100, which has not changed since the law was passed, is likely to go up soon: A bill increasing it to $250 is awaiting Gov. David A. Paterson’s signature. A spokesman for the governor said on Wednesday that Mr. Paterson was reviewing the measure.

(The parks department, which issues the tickets in city parks, has discretion to fine $50 to $1,000.)

The most summonses have been issued in the Bronx, with 335 in the first 11 months of this fiscal year, compared with 215 in Brooklyn, 157 in Queens, 109 in Manhattan and 53 in Staten Island.

“The more people you put out there, the more summonses you get,” said Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, who wrote his first ticket as a sanitation enforcement agent in 1973 to a couple who didn’t curb their dog. Curbing dogs, or making them go in the gutter as opposed to the sidewalk, was the law at the time. (It is still on the books, but rarely enforced.) “We put more people on it. But still it’s not always easy to catch someone.”

To issue a summons, the agent must witness the dog doing its business and the owner walking away. With about a half-million dogs spread across the city’s 305 square miles and an offense that can take less than 30 seconds, the odds are against the agents. Most agents find only one or two so-called K-9 violations in progress each day. (The task force also issues $200 fines for dogs that are off-leash, and for throwing household trash in city garbage cans.)

[Source: The New York Times]

04 June 2008

Canada's Search for Beneful Best Friends

Toronto-based Spider Marketing has launched a campaign for Nestle's Beneful and Purina brands aimed at engaging Canadians with this idea: show us the bond you have with your pet. It's called Canada's Search for Beneful Best Friends.

The campaign, which runs until August 15, kicked off with the launch of www.benefulbestfriends.ca, in which consumers are invited to upload pics of themselves with their dogs to win cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500. Weekly draws for digital cameras are woven into the initiative, and users are encouraged to vote for their favourite entries.

Online presence includes banners on Sympatico/MSN in June and July, driving users to www.purina.ca and www.walmart.ca. TV spots will air on CMT and the W network in June. The brand will also participate in the upcoming Woofstock event in Toronto on June 7 and 8.

Nestle Purina PetCare's senior strategist for Beneful and Purina One Sharen Hills says the campaign is intended to "creatively introduce the Beneful brand to dog owners... The program is the first of its kind on the brand and involves user-generated content, which is exploding right now."

Spider Marketing partner Christine Ross says celebrating the long-standing relationship between dog and owner will "ultimately drive brand awareness. Our creative approach tries to engage the consumer at every level and is designed to communicate the brand's credentials while adding to Purina's pet owner database nationally."

[Source: Media in Canada]

03 June 2008

Pets Are Baby Boomers Too

Better preventative care, medicine, vitamins and food are making pets live longer, but leading to one costly side effect: higher medical bills, the Washington Post reports. Think of them as baby boomers on four legs. They're older and fatter - just like the country at large. About 44% of the country's dogs are older than 6, compared with 32% in 1987, according to the Post. And 45% of U.S. pets are overweight or obese, according to the Assn. for Pet Obesity Prevention.

But also like humans, they are racking up larger medical bills. According to the American Veterinary Medical Assn., spending on veterinary medicine doubled to $24.5 million in the last decade, the Post reports. So pet owners are now opting for expensive surgeries and preventative procedures - such as with the dog above, who was getting hip replacement surgery - when in the past a vet would resort to euthanasia.

"Many of the pet owners are baby boomers no longer burdened with the cost of raising children and are willing to use whatever disposable income they have to increase the quality of life of their furry - or scaly - companions," the Post's Nancy Trejos writes.

"Certainly we have seen an increasing level of sophistication in the last five or 10 years. As we see the bond between pet owners and their pets grow, they are demanding more sophistication," said Ron DeHaven, an officer of the AVMA. "It rivals human medicine."

One suggestion for those looking to limit pet bills: avoid purebred dogs, which usually have more health problems than your run-of-the-mill mutt.

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

02 June 2008

Their First 'Baby' Was a Dog; How Will It Handle the Real Deal?

Some interesting info on training your pet to deal with your family's new arrival.