31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from all of us at Dog Clothes Horse. Here are a few tips to make sure your holiday stays fun and safe for two-leggers and four-leggers alike:

• Trick-or-treat candy is not for pets. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, and tinfoil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed.

• Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Pets may knock it over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned.

• Don't dress the dog in costume unless you know s/he loves it.

• If you do dress up your dog, make sure the costume isn't constricting, annoying or unsafe. Be careful not to obstruct his vision.

• Even the sweetest dogs can get snappy when they can't see what's going on around them.

• All but the most social dogs should be kept in a separate room during trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers in strange garb can be scary for a dog.

• Be careful your cat or dog doesn't dart out through the open door.

[Source: ASPCA.org]

Man's Dog Gets Card to Vote

An Albuquerque man said he was shocked to receive a voter registration card for his dog after he jokingly filled out a form at Wal-Mart.

Don Pizzolato said he filled out a voter registration form for his dog, Tuckup Koepke, with a phony birth date and Social Security number, the Albuquerque Journal reported Thursday. However, Pizzolato said he never expected the form to result in an actual voter registration for his dog. He received a card for the canine only weeks after filling out the form.

"I fully expected the form to be returned to me," Pizzolato said. He said he feared the situation was symptomatic of a larger problem that could lead to voter fraud.

"I just have one data point to go off of, but in my opinion, if it's this easy to thwart the system, I'm sure it's not an isolated case," he said. Pizzolato said Tuckup Koepke will not be voting in the upcoming election.

[Source: UPI.com]

30 October 2008

It's a Pelican-Eat-Dog World

This improbable picture was taken at an exotic bird farm in Germany and shows the extraordinary moment when a one-year-old pelican body-searched a dog in search for a missing meal. Captured by the owner of the bird farm, Roland Adam, they show how Petri the Pelican took exception to the theft of its meal.

"I was preparing foods for the birds in our outdoor kitchen, when I noticed Petri at my side looking for a snack," explained the 38-year-old. "I decided to feed her one of the chicks I had been preparing when Katijina raced in, caught the frozen bird mid-air and gobbled up Petri's dinner."

Confused and slightly irritated by missing out on the proffered snack, Petri decided to scour every inch of the Rhodesian ridgeback - named Katijina - for the discarded chick.

"It was hilarious," said Mr Adam. "We have so many animals on the farm that they are very tame and at ease with each other. Katijina is no different and she was more than happy to allow Petri to come in for closer inspection."

Me Adam's exotic bird farm is in Hoerstel near Osnabrueck and houses everything from ostriches to flamingos. "You see a lot of things on my farm but I have never seen anything like this before and I just had to get my camera to prove it was real," he said. "But I suppose when it came down to it, Katijina was just too quick."

[Source: Telegraph.co.uk]

29 October 2008

iPhone App to Take a Photo of Your Dog

The Apple store has come out with an iPhone application that is self described as "the greatest application for all the dog lovers".

Whenever you take picture of your dog, the most difficult part is to attract his attention. Bow Cam is the best solution for it. Launch the app, and once you are ready, touch the "BOW" button. The iPhone will bark and call the dog for you!

Yes, this app will bark for you in order to capture your dog's attention. And there are 10 different barks to choose from! Credit to the developer for originality.

[Source: MacRumors.com]

28 October 2008

Loose Poodle Delays Fights at Boston Airport

Cramped after a Saturday night flight from Detroit, Choochy the poodle broke free after her plane landed at Boston's Logan Airport and for the next 17 hours, the tiny white fugitive managed to elude nearly a dozen Massport employees and State Police, holding up runway traffic as she cavorted on the tarmac.

Gideon Lester, a passenger on a delayed US Airways flight to LaGuardia in New York, saw the event unfold. "I'm sitting on a plane at Logan waiting to take off. The runway had been closed because a stray dog, looks like a poodle, is running around the tarmac."

Her romp ended yesterday afternoon when she was finally coaxed into custody, but not before she managed to delay at least eight flights for about 20 minutes each, according to Phil Orlandella, a Massport spokesman, who said the pup "did create a little havoc."

The poodle "seemed to be having a good time," said Lester, artistic director of the American Repertory Theatre. "They looked like they were running cattle." His fellow passengers were mostly amused rather than annoyed by the runaway, he said, but were "a little incredulous that it would take so many men so many hours to catch this little dog."

"Obviously, she's hungry and she's afraid," Orlandella said earlier in the day as employees chased Choochy around the runways. A safe but tired Choochy was reunited with her family, who live in Revere. Orlandella would not release the name of her family.

[Source: Boston Globe]

27 October 2008

The Truth About Cat & Dog Owners

Cat people worship felines like pharaohs; dog people talk to hounds like people. New research shows that cat and dog people really are different -- in marital status, economic standing and education among other things.

"Our studies have shown that there are some interesting differences between cat owners and dog owners," says James Flanigan, head of marketing at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). "Our surveys show that single people are more attracted to cat ownership, while dog owners are married with children."

The AVMA conducts surveys of pet owners every five years, and publishes the results in the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook. In the 2007 edition, the image of a dog as a family pet is shown to be true: 67.0 percent of dog owners are married compared to 61.8 percent of cat owners, and 52.6 percent of dog owners are families of three or more, compared to 47.0 percent of cat owners.

As for what is America's favorite pet ... it depends on how you read the most recent pet demographic statistics. There are more cats, 81.7 million compared to 72.1 million dogs, but there are more dog owners, 43 million compared to 37.5 million cat owners. This is because cat owners are more likely to have more than one cat.

[Source: PR Newswire]

24 October 2008

"Marley & Me" Author Adopts Movie Star

John Grogan has a Hollywood star at his feet. No, it’s not Jennifer Aniston or Owen Wilson, the actors who play Grogan and his wife Jenny in the upcoming film version of Grogan’s bestselling book, “Marley & Me.”

The star is Woodson, a now 8-month-old Labrador Retriever puppy who was one of 24 dogs to play Marley in “Marley & Me,” which opens Dec. 25. Woodson lives with Grogan, his wife, and their three children – plus three cats, two chickens, and another Lab, 4-year-old Gracie – in the family’s suburban Philadelphia home.

The real Marley died in 2003 and is buried in Grogan’s backyard under several cherry trees and wild raspberry bushes. Grogan told USA Today that there is no headstone to mark the resting spot of one of publishing’s most famous canines. “I intentionally wanted him to blend into the landscape,” he says.

[Source: DogChannel.Com]

Fishermen Catch a Dog a Mile Out in North Sea

Two fishermen were left reeling in surprise when they caught a dog a mile out at sea. At first when they spotted the animal swimming against the tide they thought it was an otter, but when they realised that it was a dog the two lifted him on board.

Freddie, a 14-year-old cairn terrier, was later reunited with his owner - who revealed that he dislikes water so much that he hates taking a bath and avoids walking through puddles. He had become disorientated in the fog while on a walk with owner Jean Brigstock and had slipped into the water as the 73-year-old searched frantically for him. And instead of swimming back to shore at Amble, Northumberland, he had mistakenly struck out for the deeps of the North Sea.

Mrs. Brigstock said: 'It was a beautiful day, and I was taking him on his usual walk, but all of a sudden, a heavy sea fret set in quickly, and I couldn't see Freddie anymore. I looked for him for hours, and others helped. There was no sign of him, but I was convinced he would eventually turn up.'

She added: 'I was desperate. He's my companion and he's so important to me. I knew he hated water so I thought he'd head for the dunes rather than the sea. It really didn't enter my head that he would swim. He rarely goes through a puddle and has an aversion to baths.'

But Freddie was found three quarters of a mile out to sea after a long doggy paddle and was rescued by trawlermen Jimmy and Alan Thompson from Red Row, Northumberland. A lifeboat was launched to collect the dog because their trawler was not yet due to return to shore.

By chance, Mrs. Brigstock's daughter Wendy, who had taken over the search for Freddie, came across the wife of one of the fishermen, who told her they had found a dog.

Mrs. Brigstock adopted Freddie as her own three years ago after his previous owner, a friend, went into a nursing home and was no longer able to look after him. She said: 'He looked like a drowned rat when they found him. I'm so grateful to the two fishermen, the Coastguard and the inshore lifeboat men who took so much trouble to find him and take him to safety.'

Sea-dog Freddie, 14, is no worse for wear after his ordeal. He was taken to the vets but found to be unscathed. Mrs. Brigstock said: 'Freddie is back to his normal self. I'm not surprised he survived - he's a bit of a character really. The night he was rescued, he was a little bit under the weather. He was quite quiet and feeling sorry for himself. But the next morning he was ready for his breakfast.'

[Source: Daily Mail Online]

23 October 2008

From Russia With Love & Via Satellite - Putin's Dog

In case you missed it, last week the Associated Press wrote about how Russian officials tested the country's forthcoming satellite system on an unlikely subject--Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dog. But don't fret, animal activists aren't worried. We'll let the Associated Press take it from here:

Putin listened as his deputy, Sergei Ivanov, briefed him on the progress of the Global Navigation Satellite System. Then footage broadcast on Russian TV showed them try a collar containing satellite-guided positioning equipment on the prime minister's black Labrador Koni.

Ivanov said that the equipment goes on a standby mode when "the dog doesn't move, if it, say, lies down in a puddle."

Putin interrupted him jokingly: "My dog isn't a piglet, it doesn't lie in puddles. She wags her tail, she likes it," Putin said after watching Koni outside his collonaded residence on Moscow's western outskirts.

Fortunately for Putin's dog and many others, the satellite-guided tracking systems carry no known health risks, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

"While PETA is not familiar with the actual device that Prime Minister Putin used on his dog, if the collar is similar to those used in the U.S., which are not shock collars, it is probably harmless," PETA spokesman Michael McGraw said in an e-mailed response.

The GPS tracking devices in the U.S. use the Global Positioning System to determine the precise location of an animal, person or vehicle. When put on wild animals, usually in a collar, they allow scientists to study their behavior and migration patterns.

[Source: Los Angeles Times]

22 October 2008

Bikers Form Animal Rescue Crew

They met on the local hot rod scene. They looked like heavies, a band of Hells Angels, with nicknames equally tough: Mike Tattoo, Big Ant, Johnny O, Batso, Sal, Angel, Des. They meant no harm. Clad in leather, inked to the hilt in skulls and dragons, with images of bloodied barbed wire looped about their necks, they shared something else — a peculiar tenderness for animals, and the intensity needed to act on the animals’ behalf when people abuse them.

“I’m a vegetarian,” said Mike Tattoo (real name Mike Ostrosky), a former bodybuilding champion with a shaved head, great arms covered in art and a probing clarity in his blue eyes. “And Big Ant has in his backyard three guinea pigs, a couple of rabbits, birds, cats — and fish everywhere. But just because a person has tattoos, they wouldn’t come running with us.”

The group became a little larger over the course of about 15 years, with various animal-loving, tattooed bikers in the New York area joining the conversation. One member, Angel Nieves, a 47-year-old retired city police detective, grew up in the projects on West 125th Street and remembered taking in strays from the streets as a boy, as did many of his cohorts. He owns a tiny, white bichon frisé named Cris.

Having run in crowds where animal abuse was rampant, often involving pit bull fights, the men volunteered at shelters and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and they tried to solve cases of missing or abused animals that other organizations had neither the time nor the resources to address.

A man named Robert Missari pulled everything together. Mike Tattoo met Mr. Missari about 18 months ago at a hot rod convention called the Rumbler. Though Mr. Missari is not inked — he works in catering — he loves animals and broached the idea that the bikers should become more than just friends bound by a commitment to a common cause; he wanted them to become an organization. About a year ago, they took up the name Rescue Ink, and now work full time investigating cases of animal abuse.

Mr. Missari is the executive director and the dispatcher for this biker brotherhood, working from his office in Manhattan, where he spends some of his time phoning in leads to the men on the road (“Yo, we got a report of five pit bulls living in 55-gallon drums”). He gets up to 250 calls a day.

The men rescue pedigreed animals sold for a pittance to buy drugs, animals used for fighting and bait, and colonies of feral cats that angry neighbors have tried to shoot or poison. They have received calls from Australia (“Dingoes, I guess,” Angel said) and reports of a serial cat killer in Pennsylvania.

They hand cases of criminal activities to the police. “That’s not our specialty,” Mr. Missari said. “We specialize in getting the abuser away from the dog. We truly work with the abuser. We go to a house; if it’s really cold out, we see two dogs in the back, we build them a doghouse.”

[Source: The New York Times]

Revealed: Most Unusual Dog & Cat Names

After years of tracking the most popular names for pets, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) set out to find the most unusual cat and dog names from among its more than 465,000 pets insured nationwide. VPI employees selected 50 unusual dog names and 50 unusual cat names, and then voted for the 10 most unusual names in each category. Check out these winners, listed in order, with the most unusual at the top. Now sit. And read.

1. Rush Limbark (enjoys listening to the conservative radio talk show host)
2. Sirius Lee Handsome
3. Rafikikadiki
4. Low Jack (a corgi mix with very short legs)
5. Meatwad
6. Peanut Wigglebutt (a dachshund puppy who shakes her tail so hard she falls over)
7. Scuddles Unterfuss
8. Sophie Touch & Pee (an excitable golden retriever with an unfortunate habit)
9. Admiral Toot
10. Spatula

1. Edward Scissorpaws (a playful paw leaves a scratch right under the owner's eye)
2. Sir Lix-a-lot
3. Optimus Prrrime
4. Buddah Pest
5. Snoop Kitty Kitty
6. Miss Fuzzbutt
7. 80 Bucks
8. Sparklemonkey
9. Rosie Posie Prozac (an ex-boyfriend spots neurotic tendencies)
10. Toot Uncommon (perfect for the Egyptian mau breed)

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

21 October 2008

Jessica Simpson Gets a Little Help with Fragrance Launch

Jessica Simpson attended the launch of her new fragrance “Fancy” at Dillard’s in Dallas, Texas on Saturday (October 18), but not alone. Her dog, Daisy, tagged along and looks enviably well-behaved!

[Source: The Celebrity Blog]

20 October 2008

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" Stars Urge Adoption

While rescue groups and shelters brace themselves for the expected "buyers demand" for Chihuahuas due to the Disney film "Beverly Hills Chihuahua", the stars of this movie are speaking out on behalf of the little dogs locked in puppy mills and pet stores.

Actresses Jamie Lee Curtis, Loretta Devine and Ali Hillis, are unabashed in their support of adopting rescued dogs. In Best Friends Animal Society's viral public service announcement they enthusiastically urge people to break the puppy mill cycle and adopt, rather than buy from pet stores supplied by puppy mills. Child stars Madeline Carroll and Sage Ryan Campbell also add their voices, and national TV news personality Jane Velez-Mitchell is the PSA's narrator. Even the dog star, Papi, who was himself rescued at a Moreno Valley shelter "speaks," imploring people to not "buy my family."

[Source: HappyNews.Com]

17 October 2008

Scientists Find World's Oldest Dog

An international team of scientists has just identified what they believe is the world's first known dog, which was a large and toothy canine that lived 31,700 years ago and subsisted on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, according to a new study.

Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs.

If Paleolithic dogs still existed as a breed today, they would surely win best in show for strength and biting ability. "In shape, the Paleolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but in size, however, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs," said Mietje Germonpré, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.

Isotopic analysis of the animals' bones found that the earliest dogs consumed horse, musk ox and reindeer, but not fish or seafood. Since the Aurignacians are believed to have hunted big game and fished at different times of the year, the researchers think the dogs might have enjoyed meaty handouts during certain seasons.

The earliest dogs likely earned their meals too. "I think it is possible that the dogs were used for tracking, hunting, and transport of game," she said.

[Source: The Discovery Channel]

Baby Monkey Gets His Own Guard Dog

A Chinese zoo has given an orphan monkey its own guard dog to stop it from being bullied by bigger primates.

Keepers at Jiaozuo City Zoo said the monkey was always being bullied and they had intervened to save his life several times. "So we put a dog in the monkey cage, hoping he can protect the orphan," a zoo spokesman told the China News Network.

The zoo said the dog, Sai Hu, does his job very well. "Whenever the baby monkey gets bullied, he dashes up and drives the others away. And the baby monkey is also very smart. Each time he smells danger he runs to jump on the dog's back and holds on tight.

"The alpha male monkey has been really unhappy since we sent in Sai Hu. He tried to organise several ambushes on the little monkey, but they all failed because of the dog," added the spokesman.

[Source: Ananova]

16 October 2008

New Photo Book Celebrates Canine Couture

Halloween has gone to the dogs. In photographer Karen Ngo's delightful book, "Indognito: A Book of Canines in Costume" (Little, Brown, $19.99), a stable of pooches sit, stay and pose in a variety of unforgettable getups.

Ngo, with a background in New York fashion, has a whimsical approach to dressing the four-legged rather than the two-legged. A French bulldog in Elvis garb is more costume than couture; nevertheless he would be as good to go on the runway as he would be the Thompson Park dog run.

[Source: NY Daily News]

Triumph the Dog Makes Debate Appearance

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog made an appearance in last night’s Spin Alley following the presidential debate playing the role of the plunger-wielding, “Joe the Plumber.”

He took a quick break to answer questions from reporters before returning to mocking politicians and journalists working the room. We will have to wait for Late Night with Conan Thursday and Friday nights to see who got hit the hardest.

[Source: FOX News.com]

15 October 2008

Massachusetts Bans Pet Rental Companies

Did you catch last week's entry on the dog rental company, Flex Petz? One of our readers (Thanks, snickdog!) tipped us off to the fact that Flex Petz will not be opening in Boston as planned, because Massachusetts passed a bill in September banning pet rental companies because of "public health, public safety, consumer concerns, and ethical issues."

What do you think? Is paying a price for part-time pet ownership better than nothing, or is it ethically unsound?

[Source: The Boston Globe]

Chihuahua: Hollywood's New Top Dog

For hard proof this economy is going to the dogs, consider the box office, where a little bitch wearing Chanel has had the no. 1 movie in the country for two weekends in row. In the last 10 days, Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua, the tale of a pampered Angeleno pooch who ends up fending for herself in grittiest Mexico, has wagged all the way to a $52.5 million take, beating two-legged stars like Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio and Bill Murray.

When everything seems murky and complicated in the world, people are interested in checking their minds at the door," says Steve Mason, box-office analyst at FantasyMoguls.com. "So they're going to a movie about a dog in a purse."

Drew Barrymore is the voice of Chloe, a high-maintenance, pink booty-wearing Chihuahua with a hovering celebrity owner (Jamie Lee Curtis). When her careless dog-sitter (Piper Perabo) takers her to Mexico, Chloe is kidnapped by a dog-fighting ring. But in this pup's harrowing quest to return home to the Hills, she ends up finding her inner bark.

If that all sounds like a high-budget Taco Bell ad to you, you must be a cat person, because audiences have rated Beverly Hills Chihuahua an "A," according to Cinemascore, a company that exit-polls moviegoers. "People love this movie," says Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution. "When that happens, they become your marketing team." Thanks to good word of mouth, on the second weekend, more couples, as opposed to just families, chose to spend their date night with talking dogs.

A voice cast heavy on Latino talent has also helped make the movie a hit with Hispanics. George Lopez plays Papi, a Chihuahua-next-door with a crush on Chloe; Andy Garcia is Delgado, a German Shepherd with a shadowy past, and Edward James Olmos, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo, Luis Guzman and Cheech Marin voice other key roles.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua has more than just escapism going for it. As the tale of an over-indulged heroine learning to do without her day spa, it might appeal to moviegoers tightening their family budgets. "Sometimes a Chihuahua is not just a Chihuahua," says Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office analysis firm Media By Numbers. "The whole riches-to-rags story resonates well in this economic climate."

In a season when studios typically start unfurling their Oscar fare, the success of mindless chow like Beverly Hills Chihuahua may not bode well for more serious-minded films due in coming months. "Anything with a dark theme this fall, I'm questioning," says Mason. "People are rejecting war and politics as a subject."

Those needing even more canine catharsis will not have long to wait. Bolt, an animated movie about a doggie superhero, with Miley Cyrus and John Travolta in the voice cast, opens in November. In December there's Marley and Me, in which Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson learn life lessons from a neurotic Labrador. Because at the end of the day, moviegoer, there's no problem man's best friend can't lick.

[Source: TIME Magazine]

14 October 2008

Dogs Help Children Maintain A Healthy Weight

Overweight children could lose the pounds simply by owning a dog, Australian researchers have found.

A team of scientists believes the battle of the bulge can be won not only with fresh fruit or strenuous exercise but with simple, playful activity with a four-legged friend. Young children who play with a family dog have been found to be up to 50 per cent less likely to be overweight or obese than those who do not have one.

The researchers, from Melbourne's Deakin University, interviewed families of 1,100 children aged between 5 and 12 and discovered that those who owned a dog were in the best shape, even if they did not take it for regular walks. "Even playing incidentally with the dog helps children keep the weight off," said head researcher Associate Professor Jo Salmon. "We've always known that physical activity is the key to maintaining a healthy weight - but the results are likely to be the same if children own pets," she said.

"For parents who are trying to get their kids off the computer and switching off the TV and getting out and playing, having a pet might be a really good strategy for doing that."

[Source: Daily Mail UK]

10 October 2008

Shedd Aquarium Rescues Dogs & Teaches Them To Fetch Like...Dolphins.

Trainers at Chicago's Shed Aquarium were left with no animals to supervise after the Shedd's Oceanarium pavilion closed for refurbishing this year, sending the facility's whales, dolphins, sea otters and sea lions out of town. So the staff decided to create a show for six dogs they found in area animal rescue centers, demonstrating how marine mammal training techniques can be equally effective in training house pets.

Dogs are stars of "Pet Training the Shedd Way" Video. "Pet Training the Shedd Way" opens Friday and will continue at least until early summer 2009, when the Oceanarium reopens. "We wanted to do something that was fun and high energy," said Ken Ramirez, the Shedd's animal training chief. "We also want people to consider adopting their next pet from an animal shelter. The 20-minute program is designed to show how good training techniques can transform even the sorriest of mutts into refined, polite, playful and lovable pets.

Three dogs in the show had been left at area dog pounds because owners could no longer afford to keep them. A city dog catcher found Widget, a 7-month-old West Highland white terrier mix, wandering in Chicago with no collar. Olivia, a year-old dog who is mostly German shepherd, was found beaten and fearful of humans. And a strapping 70-pound, year-old American bulldog mix named Nico was found tied to a stake in a building, emaciated and filthy.

In their new lives as performers, the dogs do tricks, play with handlers and demonstrate new talents like ferreting out contraband. To teach them, the Shedd used training methods it helped pioneer. "A lot of animal training used to be based on coercion, force and punishment . . . with owners establishing themselves as the alpha members of the group, yanking on leashes and tightening collars to dispense discipline," Ramirez said. "You can't put collars and leashes on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, so trainers had to develop a new training regimen, positive reinforcement."

Soon Ramirez and fellow trainers began to demonstrate the marine mammal training regimen, getting the dogs to demonstrate everything from standard commands such as "sit" and "lie down" to more complex behaviors, such as learning to climb into travel cages or dance to salsa music with a trainer.

Taking a starring role was Nico, who nearly starved to death but is now buff and leading-man handsome. He showed how he has learned to serve as a detection dog by sniffing a variety of carrying cases and locating contraband.

Ramirez said he would like the show to be a permanent aquarium offering, but that might not possible. "If it does close next summer, the dogs will be adopted," he said. "Just about everybody who works here is angling to adopt one of them."

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

09 October 2008

E-Mail Scam Targets Families Missing Pets

An exclusive Target 7 Consumer Investigation uncovers an e-mail scam targeting pet owners who have lost their pet.

Caitlin Lease said, "I just miss him and I hope somebody finds him. If you have him, just turn him in, because I miss him so much." Lease and her mother Victoria have been missing their dog River for five weeks now. "This is his yard," Victoria Lease said. "This is the where he played and this is the infamous gate, if this is how he got out."

The miniature Australian Shepherd was a huge part of the Lease family. Then one day Victoria returned home to find River missing. "Did somebody take him? Did he run off? Did he go looking for me?" Lease said. "All the what ifs."

Victoria turned to the internet to try to get those questions answered. She posted an ad on the community Web site Craigslist and quickly got a reply from someone claiming to be a veterinarian who found and sold River. The more she read, the more frustration she felt. In order to get her dog back, the e-mail instructed her to cash a certified check and send the money back.

"When you're that desperate to get your dog back, then you'll try anything and it just disgusts me it's so sad," Lease said.

Dr. Faith Flower, an Albuquerque veterinarian, said, "I do not believe it was sent by a veterinarian. It's a scam and I really think it's an unconscionable thing because people are attached to their animals and they treasure them and to prey on someone who has lost their pet is very unacceptable."

The Attorney General's office said this e-mail is just another of the many phishing scams out there to get your personal information. This one happens to focus on pet owners like Victoria Lease who simply want their pets back home. The Leases did the smart thing -- they didn't reply. Instead, they contacted Target 7.

If you feel you're a victim of identity theft, the New Mexico Attorney General's Office has an identity theft repair kit. It takes you step by step on what to do to protect yourself if you feel your identity's been stolen. On the Web: N.M. Attorney General Identity Theft Repair Kit

[Soure: KOAT.com]

Playing May Be More Important Than Winning

It may not be such a dog-eat-dog world after all, at least among puppies. A new study has found that young male dogs playing with female pups will often let the females win, even if the males have a physical advantage. Male dogs sometimes place themselves in potentially disadvantageous positions that could make them more vulnerable to attack, and researchers suspect the opportunity to play may be more important to them than winning.

The gentlemanly dog behavior is even accompanied with a bow. "We found that self-handicapping tends to occur in conjunction with play bows," lead author Camille Ward told Discovery News. "A play bow is a signal that dogs use when they want to communicate playful intentions to a potential play partner,"

Ward and her colleagues studied puppy litters from four dog breeds: a shepherd mix, Labrador retriever, Doberman pincher and malamute. Play data was collected when the pups were between three and 40 weeks old. The scientists examined how the puppies played with members of their own sex as well as with the opposite sex. Females were more likely than males to initiate play with their own sex, but that may be to stave off more vicious behavior later.

While males were less likely to initiate play with other males, they seemed eager to play with females, and would go to all sorts of lengths to keep the play going. The male puppies, for example, would sometimes lick the muzzles of their opponents, giving the female a chance to bite them in a vulnerable position. They would also even completely drop to the ground from a moving, standing or sitting position, looking like a boxer down for the count. They might lose the game in the short run, but they could win at love in the future.

"We know that in feral dog populations, female mate choice plays a role in male mating success," said Ward. "Perhaps males use self-handicapping with females in order to learn more about them and to form close relationships with them -- relationships that might later help males to secure future mating opportunities."

[Source: Discovery News]

08 October 2008

Update on Golden Retriever and Tiger Cubs

Back in July, we were smitten with this story about a Golden Retriever who adopted 3 tiger cubs that were abandoned by their mother. The cubs have just finished weening and are absolutely adorable. Check 'em out on The Today Show!

[Source: msnbc.com]

Special Pet Food Helps Canines Keep Kosher

Seven-year-old Porsche keeps kosher. Following the Bible, he does not mix meat and milk products, does not eat grains during Passover and especially does not eat pork. Except that Porsche is a dog. As Jewish families try to respect tradition over the holidays, when rules for eating are especially stringent, they hardly know what to do about their pets.

“My home is kosher. You want to meet those standards,” said Porsche’s owner, Gayle Ostro of Lincolnwood. “A lot of dogs eat dried pig ears and raw hide, but I don’t bring any of that in my house.” A mother of six, Ostro struggled every Passover to meet the holiday’s restrictive rules. As she changed her dog’s diet to approved chicken, he often got sick because of the unaccustomed food.

“We started seeking out what we could do about it,” she said. Then she learned about Holly Cher's company. “Just this year and last year we were able to use food approved for Passover,” Ostro said.

Cher, owner of Evangers Dog and Cat Food Co. based in Wheeling, recently began producing kosher food for pets. She distributes her products to pet stores worldwide.

Cher, also of Lincolnwood, says she got the idea while walking her dog, when she happened to meet a Jewish neighbor. Her neighbor explained she was struggling to follow the Passover rules and was forced to lock her dog in the garage. “I don’t put any milk products or grains in my food,” Cher said, explaining her transition to producing kosher pet food. “This would be very easy for me to do."

She then called the Chicago Rabbinical Council and asked what guidelines she had to follow to be approved. “I can tell you the rabbis are a pleasure to work with,” she said. “They’ve been nothing but helpful.” Cher said she had to spend about $12,000 to change more than 50 of her food labels. “It was worth it,” she said, explaining that there are benefits for the animals as well as the customers. You’ve got to take out the grains, which is healthier,” she said. “And you get another inspection.”

The Rabbinical Council, which is an international organization based in Chicago, is responsible for determining whether pet food companies follow the rules. Rabbis store information on food formulas in a big database and make regular visits to factories.

Though pets are not required to keep kosher, many feel that their four-legged companions should be included in the family’s rites and traditions. “I want [Porsche] to be kosher,” Ostro said. “He’s a Jewish dog. He’s part of the family.”

[Source: Medill Reports Chicago]

07 October 2008

Rent a Dog for a Day

Sarah Stevenson scampered through a heavy rain one recent Friday evening, arriving at a Manhattan rental agency just before it closed. Ms. Stevenson, a 26-year-old nurse’s aide from Brooklyn, had reserved a compact cutie with a lot of spunk for tooling around on the weekend. The man behind the counter went and fetched it from a pillow in another room.

“Hi, hi, hi,” Ms. Stevenson said with a smile that kept getting wider. “How have you been, my handsome boy? I missed you.” Ms. Stevenson picked up Oliver, a 3-year-old cockapoo — half cocker spaniel, half poodle — whom she had rented before. “Last weekend, I didn’t want to bring him back because we were having the best time,” she said as she ran her fingers through Oliver’s tan curly locks.

The agency was Flexpetz, which rents dogs that have been rescued from animal shelters in the hope that they will eventually be adopted. Flexpetz operates out of the Wet Nose Doggy Gym at 34 East 13th Street, which provides day care and boarding for dogs. The company started in San Diego and now has branches in Los Angeles and New York. It plans to expand to Boston, Washington, San Francisco and London.

“There are a lot of people out there looking for companionship,” said Chris Haddix, 28, who runs the New York branch of Flexpetz. There are usually five or six dogs available for rent, many of them on display in the Wet Nose storefront window, attracting crowds.

Ms. Stevenson explained why she was a customer: “I’m single and moved here from Scotland two years ago, and it’s been difficult to meet people because everyone in New York just kind of goes about their business. But when I’m walking around with Oliver, I seem to get into so many conversations about him. It becomes a nice way to meet people.”

Anyone interested must first register at flexpetz before meeting Mr. Haddix. “I ask them a lot of questions,” he said. “I want to know if they have ever owned a dog, why they can’t own a dog full time, how renting a dog benefits them, stuff like that.”

[Source: The New York Times]

06 October 2008

Gabe the Bulldog Fetches Top Dog Honors in Nick at Nite's Worldwide Fido Awards

A toilet-flushing, skateboarding bulldog named Gabe from Bellingham, Washington wowed the celebrity judges of last night's Nick at Nite First Annual Worldwide Fido Awards to fetch top dog honors. The champ triumphed over five other talented finalists, including a deep diving Labrador Retriever and a Schubert-humming Golden Retriever. All were revealed, showcased and saluted in the one-hour canine competition honoring the family dog, hosted by actor/comedian Fred Willard (Best in Show) and judged by Kevin Nealon, Vivica Fox and dog trainer to the stars Tamar Geller.

Having received the most online votes at worldwidefido.com, where viewers chose their favorites from user-generated videos, the Fido finalists who took home a bone in his or her "dog-egory" are as follows:

* Cutest: French bulldog Samson from San Francisco
* Best Trick: Gabe, a toilet-flushing, skateboarding bulldog from Bellingham, WA
* Best Dressed: Phoebe Buffay, a poolside boxer in a bikini from Pasadena, Texas
* Owner Lookalike: German Shepherd Kaine Vom Feuerspiel (owner Ashley Brook) from Avondale, Arizona
* Best Voice: Sunny, a Schubert-humming Golden Retriever from Ocean Beach, California
* Most Outrageous: Tommy, a deep diving Labrador Retriever from Sewell, New Jersey.

In a show highlight, Buddy, a German Shepherd from Arizona was awarded the Hero Award, to honor invaluable services provided to humans. Buddy made news last summer after saving his human's life by calling 911 after he had suffered a seizure.

In addition, the evening's sole human award winner, Kristin Davis, garnered the Dog's Best Friend Award for her commitment to fostering abandoned dogs. Pooch performances, including dog tricks and relays, entertained the audience throughout the evening.

[Source: Nick At Night]

03 October 2008

Best Friends Animal Society Offers to Help Obama Family Find A Shelter Dog

Dog lovers across the United States know Best Friends Animal Society which operates the nation's largest facility for homeless, companion animals including hundreds of dogs. And with the news that the Barack Obama and his family plan to adopt a dog from a shelter, Best Friends wants to help.

"Whether it's a mutt or a special breed on their list, we can tap our vast network of shelters and rescuers around the country to help match the Obamas with just the right dog," said Julie Castle, director of community programs for Best Friends, a place where approximately 600 dogs (and 1,400 other animals) call home. "Mixed breeds, pure breds, young, old, big, small, long-hair, short-hair, black, brown, white or any color in between--we can help the Obamas locate the perfect dog for their home."

Dogs at Best Friends live in "DogTown," the subject of a national television series airing on the National Geographic Channel. It is also home to 22 of the pit bulls from the Michael Vick dog fighting case, a subject covered in a DogTown episode in early September.

Best Friends created buzz around the Obamas' search for a dog in mid-July when it launched the web site, Obamafamilydog.com. In a matter of 24 hours approximately 20,000 dog lovers had signed a petition urging the Obamas to adopt from a shelter. The petition was capped at 50,000 in just a couple of weeks.

"We were trying to send a loud, clear message that adoption is the best option," Castle said. "We're so happy that the Obamas have decided to adopt rather than purchase a pet. Best Friends is the home of second chances, and adoption is so much a part of what we do that we are delighted to help in any way possible."

[Source: PR Web]

Christina Applegate, Jennifer Aniston & Matthew McConaughey's Shared Interest

Christina Applegate has had them for a long time and so has Matthew McConaughey. It has only been a couple of years for Jennifer Aniston. Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters save them and Papi is one! What are we talking about? Shelter dogs, of course! October is National Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month and lots of celebrities have given them a home and a second chance for a good life.


Christina Applegate has adopted mixed breed dogs from animal shelters for years, but the latest pup to join her four-legged family is a feisty pinscher-dachshund mix, named Tallulah.

Matthew McConaughey traveled the world with his dog Ms. Hud until her death from cancer in 2005. In 2006 McConaughey adopted Foxy who is an energetic dog from an animal shelter.

Jennifer Aniston has two dogs. An adopted corgi-terrier mix called Norman and Dolly a white German shepherd. Norman has been seen on the set of her movies.

Mary Tyler Moore and her friend Bernadette Peters started a rescue organization for dogs in New York City. It is called Broadway Barks and every summer they hold a huge adopt-a-thon. Peters has a pit-lab mix named Stella.

Papi the Chihuahua, who is one of the stars in the new Disney movie “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, was rescued from an animal shelter. He now lives with his trainer.

Some other movie star dogs that were rescued from animal shelters are: Fang from the Harry Potter movies, Max from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and of course Benji from the “Benji” movie.

Every year 6-8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters across the country. About 75% are mixed breeds and 25% are purebred animals. If you are looking to add a new pooch to your family and you are ready to make a lifelong commitment to the dog; saving a pet from an animal shelter may be the most rewarding act you will experience. You may have lots of fun too!

[Source: Examiner.com]

02 October 2008

Lady & Bear Most Popular Names for Dogs

Move over "Fido," the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) today announced that "Lady" and "Bear" top the list of most popular male/female dog names in the U.S.

A survey of 2007 AKC registration statistics showed that, in addition to Lady, Belle/Bell/Bella, Princess, Mae/May, Bear, Blue, Max/Maximus/Maxwell, Rose, Daisy, and Duke round out the top ten dog names.

"Traditionally names based on a puppy’s physical appearance or personality, such as ‘Spot’ or ‘Sassy,’ have been popular with dog owners,’" said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Today we are seeing human names, such as ‘Jack’ and ‘Molly,’ and names that reflect a pet’s stature in the home, such as ‘King’ and ‘Princess,’ gain in popularity as more people consider their dog a valued member of the family."

For a complete list of this year's most popular dog names, head on over to AKC.org.

Clifford the Big Red Dog at Cincinnati Museum Center

Whoever said learning wasn't fun has yet to visit the new Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Children won't even realize they are learning as they wander through nine interactive playgrounds, each themed around one of "Clifford's Big Ideas."

Clifford's big ideas are designed to teach children 10 simple life lessons ranging from sharing to respsonsibility. "It's all educationally based," said Dougless McDonald, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Museum Center. "As children enjoy themselves in the exhibit, they will be learning topics important for child development."

So what brought this educational exhibit to the tristate area? Well, the Duke Energy Children's Museum is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its move to the Cincinnati Museum Center. While the celebration today was only open to musuem members, the Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog Exhibit opens to the public Oct. 4 and is scheduled to run through Jan. 11.

[Source: WLWT.com]

01 October 2008

Man Punches Shark to Save Dog

A man has saved his pet dog from a shark attack by jumping into the water and punching the fish in the neck. Greg LeNoir and his rat terrier, Jake, were swimming at a Florida Keys marina when the attack happened.

The 53-year-old carpenter said: "I saw a big, dark green shape, which I realised was a big shark's head. It zoomed up from under Jake. Jake screamed - a death scream - and it sucked him under. I dove straight down like a battering ram, and I drove my fist under the water into the shark. And it pushed him down - it felt like concrete on my hand."

The shark's teeth punctured Jake's skin and some muscle on the dog's abdomen, chest and back. Jake also suffered lacerations on his right side and front left leg. The incident happened on Friday afternoon when Mr LeNoir took Jake to the Worldwide Sportsman's Bayside Marina pier in Islamorada, Florida for the dog's daily swim.

Mr LeNoir said he was terrified when he saw the shark, but his only thought was saving Jake, who he described as a fast and fearless swimmer, often retrieving jellyfish and coconuts.

"Jake is such a big part of mine and my wife's life - we don't have children," he said. "This is what she considers the closest thing to a child. And I couldn't abandon him."

Mr LeNoir's brother, Phillip, told the Miami Herald: "Jake's doing great. And I still can't believe my brother jumped in the water and punched a shark."

[Source: Belfast Telegraph]