11 December 2009

Obama Dog Bo Has His Very Own Christmas Stocking!

Bo, the White House dog, has his very own Christmas stocking.

First lady Michelle Obama made the revelation in an interview with Oprah Winfrey for her "Christmas at the White House" special, scheduled to air Sunday night on ABC. Winfrey's company, Harpo Productions, released excerpts of the interview on Friday.

Asked which members of the Obama family have a stocking, Mrs. Obama named President Barack Obama, herself, daughters Malia and Sasha and said "of course" the family's Portuguese water dog has one too. This will be the first Christmas for the puppy, which the Obamas got in April.

She did not give any details about what might be going into Bo's stocking, but said Santa loves Bo.

[Source: The Associated Press]

07 December 2009

Animal Planet Goes to the Dogs

Saturday nights on AP are canine heaven with a new season of 'Underdog to Wonderdog" and "It's Me Or The Dog" beginning Saturday, January 2, at 8 PM (ET/PT).

Each Saturday, viewers can catch these back-to-back series as they change the lives of dogs and their owners forever. In "Underdog", the Wonder Team rescues the most unlikely of shelter dogs to turn them into well groomed and trained pets for their forever homes.

Then, renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell works miracles with families, who are at their wits end with their dogs’ horrific behavior. Without yelling or raising a hand, Victoria helps owners take back their homes and lives from their canines using positive training techniques.

“Underdog To Wonderdog and It's Me Or The Dog are literally transformative television,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager. “These series have proven themselves to be entertaining pet programs, but more than that, they teach an important lesson. No situation is hopeless—every person and animal deserves a second chance. It’s that message that makes these each episode so powerful.”

At 8 PM (ET/PT) on Underdog, the Wonder Team takes their dramatic canine rescues to a new level. Led by rescue coordinator Ryan Smith, the team invests themselves into the rescue and rehabilitation of shelter dogs as they attempt to match them with the perfect family.

Smith is joined by professional dog trainer and author Andrea Arden; grooming and styling extraordinaire Ali McLennan; and the show’s canine carpenter, David Leon, who builds dream homes for the lucky new adoptees. Together, the team helps the dogs and their expectant families through each essential step of the transformation—from the initial rescue to the training and finally, the introduction into the family.

Then, at 9 PM (ET/PT), Victoria helps families overcome mind-boggling bad behavior, including a Pekingese named Princess, who has a history of vicious attacks against dogs and children, and an anxious Shepherd-mix named Sylvester, who gets out his energy by chewing all the furniture.

[Source: Monsters & Critics]

04 December 2009

Katherine Heigl Saves Chihuahuas!

Thanks in part to Katherine Heigl, star of Grey's Anatomy, 25 Chihuahuas have a chance at a new life. According to People Pets, the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, founded in honor of Heigl’s deceased brother and run by Heigl's mother, kindly helped fund the flight for the Chihuahuas from Los Angeles to New England.

Now that the Chihuahuas are with the Humane Society for Greater Nashua of New Hampshire (HSFN), they have a chance at finding new homes. They are all going to be seen by a veterinarian today and placed for adoption on Saturday. A representative for the HSFN reportedly told People Pets that the response has been phenomenal. They have received over 40 voicemails inquiring about the Chihuahuas so hopefully all 25 dogs will find loving, responsible owners in no time.

[Source: The Examiner]

30 November 2009

Facebook Holiday ID Tag Giveaway!

We just got in some cute holiday id tags here at Modern Tails and wanted to give some of our Facebook Fans a chance to win the design of their choice for free! It's easy - just post your favorite doggie or kitty holiday photo to our Fans Photos and let us know what they want from Santa Paws this year. The top 3 photos will win a Santa, Snowman or Snowflake ID tag of their choice! We'll announce the winners on Friday December 4. (Valid to addresses in the contiguous US only.)

To get started, be our fan on Facebook!

23 November 2009

Iams "Feed Pets in Need" Program

With Iams “Feed Pets in Need” program, you can help bring much needed food to your favorite animal shelter simply by casting a vote. The participating shelter with the most votes at the end of the month will receive one month of free, dry pet food for dogs, cats or a combination of both. Each participating shelter is eligible to win once a year, but you may vote daily. So, please help bring quality nutrition to needy shelter pets. Every vote helps!

Cast your vote here!

Iams Home 4 The Holidays & Hilary Swank Aim To Place 1.5 Million Pets Into Homes This Holiday Season!

Iams Home 4 the Holidays (IH4TH) needs your help to place 1.5 million pets into loving homes by January 4, 2010!

Last year, the program’s goal of helping 1 million pets get adopted within three months was outdone when 1,202,701 pets were placed in homes — including Rumi, adopted by two-time Academy Award® winner and 2009 IH4TH ambassador Hilary Swank.

With nearly 8 million homeless animals in the U.S. today, and almost half scheduled to be euthanized this year alone, our help is needed now more than ever. And who better to give these animals a voice than Hilary Swank?

In partnership with the Helen Woodward Animal Center, IH4TH is one of the most successful pet adoption programs in the world and brings together nearly 3,500 animal organizations worldwide. Since 1999, IH4TH has helped more than 3 million animals find homes and hopes to continue breaking the goals they set each year.

To learn more about how to make a difference in the life of a homeless pet — such as adopting, volunteering or donating — please visit IH4TH.COM and join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: [Iams Home 4 the Holidays]

16 November 2009

Honda's Element Aimed At Pets

Selling cars used to be an easier game: Pick a wide swath of the market and advertise your products to as many people as possible. But that's not working so well these days. Customers want products tailored to their needs and desires.

Enter Honda's Dog Friendly Element, a version of the boxy, small sport utility vehicle aimed at dogs -- and their owners.

A $1,000 dealer-installed accessory package on the 2010 model that went on sale today adds a ramp, a soft-sided dog cage, a water bowl, special doggy badges and a few other features to the Element.

[Source: Cleveland.com]

13 November 2009

Jack Osbourne Picks Up The Tab For Indiana's New K-9 Cop Dog

The K-9 police dog purchased by heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his son, Jack, made his way to Muncie, Indiana last week to spend time with his partner, Muncie Police Sgt. Jay Turner, and train on the streets of Muncie.

"Jack and Ozzy sure came through for the department," Turner said. "The Osbourne family, they donated the money for the dog without even thinking about it, they just did it, which was very nice."

Turner received two checks in the mail just a few weeks ago. Both Ozzy and Jack gave the same amount: $4,500.

Jack Osbourne became a good friend to Muncie police after he spent time in the city as a reserve officer during the filming of the CBS reality television series Armed in Famous in 2006. He's kept in touch with other officers and earlier this year convinced his father to help buy the department a police dog to replace an aging K-9 officer.

"Obviously with all the cuts in the city, (getting a new dog) is something that hasn't been on a front burner for us," Police Chief Deb Davis said. "When I found out that Ozzy and Jack had agreed to pick up the tab I was a little surprised...it's kind of neat."

Naturally, they named the dog Ozzy.

[Source: The Star Press]

09 November 2009

The Alex Gard of the Dog Run

It’s considered impolite, yet everyone slips up occasionally. How can anyone be blamed for mixing up the name of a dog with that of its owner, especially when the dog is Henry and his owner goes by Rags?

Even still, Dick Sebastian resolved he would not make that particular mistake, or any similar one, at the small-dog run in Washington Square Park he started frequenting a few years ago with his wife, Susie, and his dog, Kitty (grounds for more confusion, but that was someone else’s problem). He whipped up cartoony illustrations of all the dogs at the run who, like Kitty, arrived like clockwork for the morning shift, and turned them into a chart labeled with their names. Mr. Sebastian sometimes brought the work in progress to the dog run, and over time, even owners who were not part of the regular crew — many of them part of a downtown, arty scene — asked if their pets could be included, or agreed when approached by Mr. Sebastian.

From there, Mr. Sebastian, a retired surgeon who is now 71, started experimenting with more serious portraiture, sketching some of the dogs he had come to know better than many of his friends’ grandchildren. He started with Sidney, an aristocratic, standoffish pug belonging to Roberta Bayley, a former punk-rock photographer turned dog photographer. Everyone marveled at the images.

“I thought he really captured her weirdness,” said Ms. Bayley, sitting, as she always does, beside her sedentary, aloof pet on a bench. “She’s very into herself and quiet and serenity.”

Mr. Sebastian estimates that in less than a year, he drew and presented around 50 dog portraits to their owners, as gifts — in most cases, to great appreciation.

To read the full story, and see some of the drawings, head on over to [Source: The New York Times.]

06 November 2009

04 November 2009

Meet The First Dog's Walker

You don’t know the face, but you may know the leg: A khaki-clad hunk of it often shows up — generally from the knee down — in photographs of Bo Obama.

The leg belongs to Dale Haney, who, when the First Family is too busy to walk the dog, assumes the duty.

As a keeper of the White House grounds for nearly 40 years, Haney has managed to cultivate relationships with the presidential pups — all the way back to Richard Nixon’s Irish setter, King Timahoe.

“They heard about me and they called me to come over here for an interview and I came and here I still am,” he told the Associated Press during a tour of the gardens on a rainy morning when first lady Michelle Obama — Bo’s primary walker — was out of town.

“I have him a little bit more” when she’s traveling, said Haney.

Before Bo came along, Haney had walked and played with President George W. Bush’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. But he says he was most fond of Spot, an English springer spaniel whose mother, Millie, belonged to Bush’s father, President George H.W. Bush.

“I do have a soft spot for Spot,” he said in an online chat in 2003. “I was there when she was born and now she’s back.” Millie gave birth to Spot at the White House in 1989; the younger Bush and his wife, Laura, put Spot to sleep in 2004 after she’d had several strokes.

Haney began at the White House as a gardener, then was supervisor of grounds maintenance and lead horticulturist before becoming superintendent of all the grounds last fall.

Besides helping out with Bo, Haney tends to the nearly 19 acres of lawns, trees and gardens around the White House.

[Source: Ohmidog!]

28 October 2009

Dogs Teach Kids To Read (Yup, You Read That Right)

Meet Bailey. She's a registered therapy dog, but you won't find her in hospitals or nursing homes. Instead, Bailey makes weekly visits to libraries and schools. She sits quietly or snuggles up to kids as they read her a book. And no, she's not napping, and the kids don't have treats in their pockets. She's actually helping these children learn to read.

It sounds implausible. After all, dogs can't read. How could they possibly help someone learn a skill that they themselves can't grasp? But it's a growing trend, and it seems to be working.

The philosophy is simple. Children who are just learning to read often feel judged or intimidated by classmates and adults. But reading to a dog isn't so scary. It won't judge, it won't get impatient, it won't laugh or correct if the child makes a mistake. In a nutshell, dogs are simply excellent listeners. And for shy kids or slow readers, that can make all the difference.

Kathy Klotz is executive director of Intermountain Therapy Animals, which runs a nationwide program called R.E.A.D. -- Reading Education Assistance Dogs. She says there's another benefit of reading to the dogs that she didn't anticipate: confidence.

"A factor that we never planned for, that turned out to be really important, is that the child feels like they're letting the dog understand the story," she says. "They get to be the teacher, the storyteller, the one who knows more than the dog for a change. ...They just blossom when they get to be the one who knows more than the dog."

The children know they're not actually teaching the dog, of course, but the for the kids, the idea that they know more than the dog and can share their knowledge is a powerful one. And now that volunteers are aware of that aspect, Klotz says they actively foster the idea of the child as the teacher.

"One of the things you do in the program is you always speak for the dog," says Klotz. "Like if [the child] doesn't know a word, the dog doesn't know the word either. And then they're not alone, and they can look it up in the dictionary together."

To read the full story, head on over to CNN.com

26 October 2009

2010 Pet Calendar Round-Up

Cat and dog calendars for 2010 are starting to roll into stores and are ready to purchase on the Internet. So much for just cute pets. Some of these calendars are hysterical with pets dressed as rock stars, outfitted in glamorous designs or doing yoga. The second dogs doing yoga calendar is ready, but worry not, these images are photo shopped.

The calendar by Dan and Alejandra Borris hosts a year full of images showing popular dog breeds positioned in classic yoga postures created using computer wizardry.

Takkoda has produced a calendar of pets made to look like rock stars and is selling it at Heliotrope.com. For Pets Rock 2010, pets were photographed in their own homes to capture their natural expressions and then "dressed up" digitally to look like stars such as Dolly Parton, Gene Simmons, Abba and Ozzy Osbourne.

Cat lovers might enjoy the United Bamboo's 2010 calendar of cat fashions, truly elegant shots in designs done by Miho Aoki.

To see more strange and adorable pictures, head on over to USA Today

20 October 2009

Dog Day Masquerade

Despite the wintry chill, it really was a dog day afternoon on Sunday when the 5th Annual Times Square Dog Day Masquerade was held in, well, Times Square. Run, don't walk over to HuffPo and check out all the adorability.

19 October 2009

Paintings By Dog Sell for $1,700

Sam the painting hound mix isn't just painting for kicks -- er, wags -- anymore. Now he's cashing in on his talent, with some of his two dozen paintings selling for up to $1,700, The Telegraph reports.

"Sam is a regular renaissance dog and his abstract paintings are all the rage with the hip New York galleries," says owner Mary Stadelbacher who runs Shore Service Dogs in eastern Maryland. She says:

"Using his specialized training as a house-help dog, combined with my amateur art background, Sam is a fully trained artist ... He takes the paint-brush mouth piece and will approach the canvas and begin painting on the simple command of 'paint'."

[Source: USAToday.com]

13 October 2009

How To Take The Perfect Halloween Photograph

It's almost Oct. 31, and that means your pets will soon be tricked out in all their Halloween finery.

Professional animal photographer Sam Allen gives us the following tips for taking great photos of your costumed friend. Patience is key, says Allen, who spoke to PEOPLEPets.com from her studio in Portland, Maine. (That’s her yellow Lab, Zoey, impersonating Dracula.) "It takes time to get the photo just how you want it," she explains. Here are a few of her best suggestions:

1. Get comfy. Your pup isn’t necessarily thrilled to wear strange attire. He might try to chew the costume or wriggle it off. So let your pooch sniff the costume, walk around, get used to it. If there are several parts to the costume, put on one at a time. Headgear goes on last. Comfy also means taking the dog for a walk before your photo session. In the studio, "my dogs can become really antsy," says Allen. Time for a bathroom break!

2. Employ treats. Use food and toys, those major motivators, to snag your pet’s attention. Your animal will likely prick up its ears, cock its head or make its cute face. "It’s bribery, but it works," Allen says.

3. Use natural light. It's best to take photos outdoors on a slightly overcast day. Avoid direct sunlight, which will create harsh shadows. Indoors, take photos in a well-lit room or near a window with indirect light, and use your camera’s flash to further illuminate your subject.

4. Downplay the background. Position your pet in the middle of a yard or room, not against a wall. Plenty of space behind the pet makes for a softer background. Clear up nearby clutter and distractions.

To read the full article, head on over to The Today Show.

And if you're looking for wardrobe options, check out Modern Tails' Halloween Collection!

12 October 2009

4 Leggers Can Has Wii Fit

No, Nintendo haven't invented dog tennis - but they have invented a way to let you to hook little Fido up to the Wii Fit. He doesn't actually get to play games, or even do any dog specific exercises, but you can weigh him and see how his diet is doing.

The key feature of the original Wii Fit game is the plastic Wii Balance board, which doubles up as a game controller, calorie burn counter, and now in the new Wii Fit Plus game it also serves as a weighing machine for your pet.

You can also create a Mii avatar for your dog. I think that's something we've all wanted to do for a while.

Other features of the Wii Fit Plus are 20 new activities, including skateboarding and a Segway course. There's also more control over exercise schedules with the ability to set workouts to any duration in five-minute intervals up to an hour, and with users able to choose from specialized routines that focus on specific fitness goals or target areas.

Players can also now see an estimated amount of calories burned during each workout while tracking their overall progress.

So this little package promises fun and a healthy dog.

[Source: Shinyshiny.tv]

05 October 2009

Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About NYC and Dogs (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Got a question about taking your dog on the subway during rush hour? Want to know where the best four-legger friendly restaurants and watering holes are? Looking for a dog run that's open late? Look no further. Last week, the NY Times ran an entertaining and very informative 3 part Q&A with Nadia Zonis, author of "City Walks With Dogs: New York." You can check out all 3 segments over at NYtimes.com.

02 October 2009

In PA, Dog Days Help Students Adjust to College Life

About 5 in the afternoon, they started to gather on this central Pennsylvania college campus: The shih tzu brothers Boomer and Otis; Maggie, a lumbering chocolate lab; Cole and Chase, the David and Goliath of the bunch, of course named after Phillies; and the talented Bunsen, the boxer mix who has his own blog and can eat treats he flips off his nose.

Then it was time to send in the homesick freshmen.

"You're cute! You look like my dog," said Kayla Springer, 18, a biology major from Kennett Square, who was fussing over Chase, a border collie/German shepherd.

Thus began one of the "Dog Days," as they're formally called at Susquehanna University, along the banks of the Susquehanna River. Professors and other staffers brought their dogs to school for an hour of social interaction with students, especially freshmen, on Tuesdays during September.

The events, held in a grassy area outside the dining hall, are designed to help students overcome their homesickness - particularly the piece most painful for some: absence of the family pet.

"The fact is that students miss their pets, sometimes more than they miss their families," said Anna Beth Payne, associate dean of student life and director of the school's counseling center.

"You, as parents, didn't sleep with them in the bed every night before they came away to college. The dog did."

To read the rest of the story, head on over The Philadelphia Inquirer.

25 September 2009

NYC Pup Crawl

If you missed Craft Beer Week’s pub crawl (also known as the Path of Yeast Resistance), you can still make it to Saturday’s Pup Crawl: a pet-accompanied march across the Brooklyn Bridge intended to bring attention to the dogs and cats at risk of losing their homes because of the economy.

An estimated 500,000 to one million pets may lose their homes because of foreclosures, according to an estimate put out by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

An evening news report about that figure inspired Joseph Hassan, a 29-year-old Williamsburg resident, to organize a march. He was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge one afternoon when he imagined the attention pets would get simply by marching across the landmark span. “If we could get people to pay attention nationally,” he said, “we could reach a lot of those pets.”

To read the full story, head on over to The New York Times

23 September 2009

Judge Rules That Former Couple Must Share Pug

When a couple splits up, what happens to the pooch?

A New Jersey judge settled the question Monday in a costly legal battle that began after the Monroe Township couple called off their engagement in 2006. Eric Dare and Doreen Houseman are to share Dexter, the pug they both love.

They'll get turns caring for the dog, starting promptly at 6 p.m. every fifth Friday.

Judge Ronald Tomasello said the arrangement would last until 6-year-old Dexter "goes to the Great Kennel in the Sky."

Originally, the judge awarded the dog to Dare. The police officer had paid for the dog.

Houseman appealed, saying a dog should not be treated as just another possession.

[Source: Philly.com]

21 September 2009

Ithaca Pioneers Dog Waste Composting

Several years ago, dog owners in the college town of Ithaca, N.Y., began worrying about all the plastic bags filled with dung that ended up in the landfill.

Leon Kochian, a professor of plant biology at Cornell and, more to the point, the owner of a yellow lab, recalled the thinking at the time: “This is Ithaca. There’s got to be a more environmentally sensible way to do this.”

This year, with Mr. Kochian’s nudging, one of the city’s dog parks — part of the Allan H. Treman Marine State Park — became a dog waste composting park.

Special corn-based bags, made by the Biobag Company, based in Florida, are available at several stations in the park. Dog owners put the bag and its contents into large bins near the park’s entrances, which are removed once a week by a company called Cayuga Compost.

At its composting facility, Cayuga dumps the waste into a pile — mixed with a bit of yard and wood waste — quite separate from the company’s regular food-waste compost.

And there it will sit — until the company figures out what it might be good for.

Late next year, Cayuga plans to run tests to determine the composition of the dog waste (after all, a dog’s diet is arguably more varied than virtually any other animal’s, in accordance with the whims of their owners). If it matures into nutrient-rich compost, it might be applied to potted plants or landscaping, said Mark Whittig, Cayuga’s operations manager. If the compost is of poorer quality, it could be used for blending with topsoil, he said.

To read the full story, head on over to The New York Times

14 September 2009

Dogs Hang-10 in Canine Surf-a-thon

Dogs of all shapes and sizes spent some time on the water in Del Mar, California this weekend all for a good cause and a good time.

Dogs and their owners rode the waves as part of the Dog Surf-A-Thon.

The event was put together to raise money for a San Diego area animal shelter.

Renee Bruce explains, "They judge them on their agility, on their form, on their .. just how long they stay on the board."

Winners were given trophies and of course, treats.

For some gnarly slideshow cuteness, head on over to WCPO.com

11 September 2009

Dog Whisperer Launching Magazine

The canine trainer famously known as The Dog Whisperer is launching a new magazine called Cesar's Way. This is in addition to his book, products and TV show about helping dogs with behavior issues.

The Wall Street Journal reports: Cesar's Way, which hits newsstands next week, is filled with slick photos of celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton and Jennifer Aniston with pets in tow. Articles include "Can Your Dog Fix Your Marriage? Just Ask Jada Pinkett Smith" and "7-Day Doggie Detox." IMG says it plans to publish two issues this year and six in 2010.

[Source: The Baltimore Sun.]

08 September 2009

Hilary Swank Serves as Home 4 the Holidays Ambassador

Two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank will serve as the 2009 ambassador when the 11th annual, San Diego-based Iams Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive kicks off October 1. Swank will share her personal experience with pet adoption and encourage families to find their new best friends this holiday season by visiting animal shelters and pet rescue groups. Along with founding partner Helen Woodward Animal Center and nearly 3,500 participating animal organizations worldwide, the program has set a goal to find loving families for 1.5 million pets between Oct. 1, 2009 and Jan. 5, 2010.

“I’m so proud to be working with Iams Home 4 the Holidays to help raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption,” said Hilary Swank. “Last year, the program’s adoption goal was to get 1 million pets adopted in just three months, but this year the goal is even bigger – we’re on a mission to find loving families for 1.5 million orphaned pets between Oct 1st and January 4th.”

Swank has adopted many pets throughout her life, including her two dogs Karoo and Rumi. She rescued Karoo from the side of a road while filming in South Africa a few years ago and adopted Rumi last fall from a participating IH4TH shelter in Los Angeles.

“Now more than ever orphaned animals need our help and who better to give them a voice than Hilary?” said Mike Arms, founder of Iams Home 4 the Holidays and President of Helen Woodward Animal Center. “Along with Hilary and her inspiration, our 3,500 animal organizations are working to shine a big spotlight on the need to help the nearly 8 million homeless pets in our country, and are committed to helping raise awareness about the importance of pet adoption.”

Iams Home 4 the Holidays is dedicated to helping orphaned pets. The program has placed more than 3 million animals in homes since 1999, and in 2008, the adoption drive found families for 1,202,718 pets. The 2009 program officially kicks-off on Oct.1, but in the meantime, there are still millions of homeless animals that need help. If you are a non-profit animal organization, register today!

[Source: Iams Home 4 the Holidays]

31 August 2009

Three Genes Determine The Nature of a Dog's Coat

How did the dog get its coat? Kipling never pondered that question — he was more concerned with how the leopard got its spots, among other things — but scientists have. And the answer, they report in Science, lies in just three genes.

Edouard Cadieu and Elaine A. Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues looked at the genetic differences within single breeds that have more than one coat type. Purebred dogs are particularly suited for this kind of study, Dr. Ostrander said, because they have been selectively bred to segregate traits — there are long- and short-haired dachshunds, for example.

The researchers then used that information to look at a large dataset of genetic information from about 900 dogs representing 80 breeds. They were able to identify mutations at specific points, or loci, on three genes linked to fur length, curliness and growth pattern (bushy eyebrows, beards and other features that dog breeders refer to as furnishings).

Then they looked at these three loci, on the genes of another 662 dogs representing 108 breeds — from fluffy Old English sheepdogs to short-haired pugs. They found that the presence of the mutations or not, in various combinations, accounted for the variation in coat in 95 percent of the breeds. Only a few breeds, including Afghan hounds, have coats that can’t be explained by these genes.

There’s a certain elegance to the findings, Dr. Ostrander said. “We look at so much of the complexity in the world around us and say, Oh gosh, the underlying genetics must be so complicated,” she said. “But we’re beginning to feel that in fact nature is simple.”

The eventual goal, Dr. Ostrander said, is to use the same kind of sampling and comparison techniques to uncover how genetic variations combine to cause human diseases.

[Source: NYTimes.com]

28 August 2009

Elle Macpherson's Dog Gets a Modeling Contract!

The Australian supermodel's labradoodle will star in a national advertising campaign.

The five year-old will be the face of designer dog fashion brand Dogside.com, with mini billboards placed on lamp-posts throughout Britain.

Elle, 46, who already has her own lingerie and cosmetics ranges, has often been photographed out walking Bella near her Notting Hill home.

The brand's advertising materials boast that Bella is ideal for showing off its products, including leads, coats, scarves and bowls, for "today's stylish urban dog".

Dogside's Flora Page said: "We approached leading models about their signing up their pets.

"Elle is a dog lover and was top of our wish list, so we were thrilled when she phoned up in person to say that she would love Bella to be the face of our brand."

To read the full story, head on over to Telegraph.co.uk

26 August 2009

Remembering Ted Kennedy

Politics aside, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered by many for his contributions to the nation and also for his love for his dogs Sunny and Splash, Portuguese Water Dogs.

He told Harry Smith of CBS in a 2006 interview:" Splash is a part of our family, but he's part of the senate family as well. He comes to work with me every day with his little niece Sunny and members of the senate dome. He's not allowed to go on the senate floor. He's troubled by that... because he thinks, he says that they won't let him on because people will say that they don't think he knows how to behave. But actually, he says that he behaves a lot better than most senators."

He gave President Obama his puppy, a Portuguese Water Dog, named Bo.

Kennedy wrote a children's book My Senator and Me in Sunny's voice. One of his greatest joys was sailing with his wife Vicki and the dogs on his sloop Mya.

[Source: USAToday.com]

24 August 2009

Oscar Newman Goes Nuts For Coconuts!

One of the coolest things about Pet Fashion Week this year was the fact that we got to catch up with our friends over at Oscar Newman Not only are these girls goddesses of all things stylish and sparkly, they also know quite a bit about pet care. Enter their new line: CocoTherapy.

CocoTherapy is Oscar Newman's new lifestyle brand, centering around the idea that coconuts are a miracle food for both two-leggers and four-leggers. The line currently contains 2 products: An organic virgin coconut oil, and some organic coconut chips that I'm currently munching on and really enjoying.

Coconut has long been associated with reducing allergic reactions, strengthening the immune system, and improving digestion. It's also a significant source of antioxidants.

Oscar Newman credits coconut with clearing up their Yorkie's allergies and increasing their cat's kidney function. After experiencing the benefits for themselves, they began distributing the chips and oil to friends who complained of a pet with a dry coat or allergies. What started out as a love for a product became a mission-of-love to share the oil and chips with other pets as well.

If health tastes this good, I'm all for it. Now, I wonder how some of these coconut chips would work on top of my regular Monday night Pina Colada?

Learn more about CocoTherapy here: Cocotherapy.com.

21 August 2009

TGIF Adorability

All caught up on Cute Overload and itching to overload on even more cute?

Check out the Reader's Dog Photos gallery on the NYtimes.com

19 August 2009

12 August 2009

26-Year-Old Max May Be The World's Oldest Dog

When Janelle DeRouen of New Iberia, La., heard about Chanel, the 21-year-old pooch who made headlines recently for being the world's oldest dog, she knew she had to set the record straight. After all, she's the mother of Max, a terrier mix who celebrated his 26th birthday at home on Aug. 9.

After getting in touch with the Guinness World Records and giving them vital stats about "her baby" Max, who is 182 in dog years, the dog is a major contender for the title. So, at Max's 26th birthday bash on Sunday, there was definitely much to celebrate. "We had a gift table set up. He had other little doggie friends over," DeRouen tells PEOPLE Pets. "Me and my husband [got] him his own little sofa bed. He has his own little couch now."

Born in 1983, the "active" geriatric dog hasn't had many health problems over the years, says DeRouen, who first told her story to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph. "The only time I had to bring him to the vet for something serious was for a tooth to be extracted. But that's it," she says. In recent years, he's had a few expected aliments. "He is starting to get cataracts, a little arthritis, but otherwise he's healthy."

[Source: MSNBC.com]

10 August 2009

Dogs and 2-Year-Olds on Same Mental Plane

According to accumulating research, the beloved family dog is really a toddler with a snout and tail.

"Dogs basically have the developmental abilities equivalent to a human 2-year-old," said dog expert Stanley Coren, who was scheduled to present recent canine research developments at the American Psychological Association annual meeting this week in Toronto.

The average dog can learn 165 words, although "super dog" Rico, a border collie, could understand 200 spoken words. Experts think some dogs can learn up to 250 words.

Dogs can count up to four or five and can correct you if you can't add one plus one.

One dog apparently learned to "read." Coren recounted the case of the canine who was able to "deliver" mail addressed to two girls, one with a short name and one with a long name. Although the owner thought the dog was actually reading, it turns out the canine was gauging the length of the name, not the individual characters, enabling him to deliver the mail to the right person.

To read this rest of the article, head on over to AJC.com

07 August 2009

Dogs Better Than Coffee & TV (Survey Confirms What We Already Know)

Nearly half (48 percent) of dog owners polled said they could not live without their dog on a daily basis — more so than their morning cup of coffee (35 percent), television (35 percent), car (26 percent), cell phone/BlackBerry (23 percent) or best human friend (15 percent).

In conjunction with the launch of a new website and contest, Beneful, a brand of dog food made by St. Louis-based Nestle Purina Petcare, has released the results of its recent survey on dog ownership.

According to the national survey, 95 percent of the 797 dog owners age 25 and up polled agreed that spending time with their four-legged friend lifted their spirits. Ninety-two percent said their dog helps them enjoy life’s simple pleasures! To check out all the survey findings, head on over to DogChannel.com

05 August 2009

The Prince and The Pup

Because Wednesday's a good day for cuteness, here's a photo of Prince William getting some warm fuzzies from a rescue dog.

Prince William met the dog during a fell walk in Cumbria's Lake district, in England. He's accompanied by a group of young people helped by the charity Centrepoint and volunteers from the Mountain Rescue service.

Prince William is a patron of Centrepoint, a charity for young homeless people and of the Mountain Rescue in England and Wales.

[Source: The Baltimore Sun]

03 August 2009

Nation's Cutest Dog Will Win A Million

Who is the cutest dog in the nation? That’s the question All American Pet Company hopes to answer with its $1 million Cutest Dog Competition, which kicked off Saturday and continues through October.

It could be Maxx, a Boston Terrier from Cumming cuddling with a stuffed gorilla in his photo. Or Skippy, from Boise, Idaho, wearing a red cape and blue swim goggles.

Or any of the other more than 4,000 cuddly, costumed dogs whose photos have been posted in the last two days.The deadline for submissions is Oct. 23, 2009.

The contest’s 12 weekly semi-finalists, judged by online public voting, will each win $500. From those 12 weekly winners, four finalists will be determined by the greatest number of votes and each will win $5,000.

Dog owners can enter the contest by filling out an online entry form and uploading a picture of their dog at cutestdogcompetition.com

Visitors to the site can vote by giving dogs a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

A panel of judges will choose from among the finalists and award the $1 million grand prize to the nation’s cutest dog on Thanksgiving.

[Source: The Atlanta Journal Constitution]

31 July 2009

Woman Saves Dog With CPR


29 July 2009

Dog Poking Head Through Car Window is Dangerous

Tongue flailing, ears pushed back by the wind and its tail wagging happily. Driving down the highway with a shaggy dog poking its head out the car window is an iconic American image.

However, like the 70-mph lap-child, it’s an image that should be relegated to times gone by. People who would never consider Junior riding in anything less secure than a state-of-the-art child seat will still allow a 75-pound dog to roam free at highway speeds within a car’s passenger compartment.

Properly securing a pet while riding inside a moving vehicle not only makes it a safer ride for an animal, it helps keep the interior clean and avoids potentially hazardous situations. It may be exciting to see a flying squirrel or flying fish in the wild, but within the confines of an automobile, a soaring schnauzer is a danger to both man and beast.

According to pet safety Web site barkbuckleup.com, when driving 35 mph, a 60-pound unrestrained dog can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds, slamming into a car seat, windshield or passenger. Keeping the animal restrained is the first step toward the comfort and well-being of all living things within your automobile.

For small dogs and pets, purchasing a portable kennel is the simplest answer, particularly a carrier that’s already familiar and comfortable to the pet. These can easily be securely strapped down in the back of a station wagon, minivan or SUV or, with appropriate fastenings, in the backseat of a passenger car. “In-vehicle pet restraints should be part of every dog owner’s safe travel practices,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.

Going several steps further, Honda recently showed a concept version of its boxy Element crossover wagon that’s purposefully dedicated to hauling the family dog, right down to paw-print logos on the fenders. “In an interesting turn of events, cars are now chasing dogs,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of American Honda. “Factory integration of a cushioned pet bed, restraint systems and other components are intended to transform the Element into the ultimate dog car.”

With its concept vehicle, Honda has paid dogged attention to canine comfort and safety. Older dogs, particularly those too big to be carried, can enter via a ramp into the rear cargo area.

Other features in the dog-friendly concept Element include a cushioned pet bed in the cargo area with an elevated platform, a rear ventilation fan, second-row seat covers, rubber floor mats and a spill-resistant water bowl.

[Source: Daily News]

24 July 2009

The Blind Dog and Guide Dog: BFF

It's not unusual for visually-impaired humans to rely on a guide dog - but now a shelter in the UK has found a blind border collie with his own inseparable canine companion.

Best friends Bonnie and Clyde were brought to the animal shelter in Norfolk after they were found wandering the streets in a rain storm.

When the pair are together Clyde, five, seems as capable as a fully sighted dog - but he won't move unless Bonnie, two, is close.

Bonnie guides him on walks or towards food and lets him rest on her when he becomes disorientated.

Cherie Cootes, who runs the Meadown Green Dog Rescue Centre in Loddon, Norfolk, said: "He totally relies on her the whole time. When she walks she tends to stop and make sure he's there - she does look out for him."

Vicky Bell, a spokeswoman for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, said she had never heard of a dog voluntarily acting as a guide for another dog.

"There's absolutely no option of homing them separately - they have to go as a pair," she said. "This is a very unusual case - it's such a lovely story.

"Some dogs take to guiding better than others because they naturally have the right temperament."

[Source: SkyNews.com]

22 July 2009

Babies and Dogs Get Each Other, Study Says

You may not understand what your dog is trying to tell you, but your baby might. Infants as young as six months old can tell what kind of mood a pooch is in by its bark, according to a new study.

Brigham Young University researchers showed babies two different pictures of the same dog, looking aggressive and then friendly. They then played sound recordings of a happy and an angry bark in a random order.

Amazingly, the babies spent most of the time staring at the matching picture after hearing the sound.

“Emotion is one of the first things babies pick up on in their social world,” said Ross Flom, a professor at the university and lead author of the study. “We chose dogs because they are highly communicative creatures both in their posture and the nature of their bark.”

The experiment backs up the idea that even before they can speak, babies can understand and respond to the tone of human and animal voices.

Thankfully, it seems no babies got too alarmed by the aggressive barks. “Many of them enjoyed it,” Dan Hyde, one of the study’s co-authors said of the experiment. “Others just looked on.”

[Source: NYDailyNews]

20 July 2009

5-Legged Pup Saved From Freakshow

New Yorkers opened their hearts and wallets on Sunday for the North Carolina woman who saved a five-legged puppy from a Coney Island freak show as they hailed the big-hearted animal lover as a hero.

A Manhattan vet was so touched by the actions of Allyson Siegel, the Charlotte woman who bought Lilly for $4,000 to spare her from a life as a Surf Ave. freak puppy, that he offered to remove the dog's extra leg for free.

Dr. Neil Shaw, co-owner of NYC Veterinary Specialists on W. 55th St., said his hospital would evaluate the 6-week-old Chihuahua-terrier mix and then plan the surgery.

"We would be more than happy to help out," he said.

Siegel was thrilled by the generosity.

"That is so nice. I'm so happy!" she said on Sunday.

Siegel, 45, said her local vet told her it would charge $2,000 for the operation. NYC Veterinary Specialists runs a foundation it can tap to help pay for the care of needy animals.

Daily News reader Tony Raimi, 27, called to find out Siegel's address so she could send her and Lilly a care package.

"When I read about her, it made me think, 'There are still good people out there,'" the Staten Island native said Sunday.

"I was at work when I read the story and had to walk away from the counter because I started to cry."

Raimi and readers who posted comments on the News' Web site cheered Siegel's decision to spend $4,000 to save Lilly.

"Allyson Siegel, you are my hero!" wrote Paula DeMarta Mastroianni. "Big big hugs to beautiful Lilly, and thank you for doing this!"

"Lucky Little Lilly," wrote Rose Young-Stewart. "The other animals on display at the Coney Island freak show need to be given good homes. Who wants to spend their life being stared at, ridiculed, laughed at, so the owner can make a living off them?"

Another reader called Siegel an "angel."

"She is showing that there are guardian angels even for animals," wrote reader Jeppydog. "What a truly wonderful person. God bless you, Allyson!"

[Source: NYDailyNews.com]

17 July 2009

Interspecies Cuteness: Dog Becomes Surrogate Mother For Pandas

Here's your "awww" for the day: two newborn red pandas, rejected by their mother, have found a surrogate mom in a friendly dog, who's nursing the cubs as her own.

The red pandas were born at the Taiyuan Zoo in China's Shanxi province June 25, and were immediately rejected by their mother as a large crowd of zoo visitors looked on, Xinhua News Service reported.

Zoo staff quickly began the search for a surrogate, and chose the dog from among three canine candidates.

"It's good-natured and has sufficient milk. The baby bears seem to like it, too," zoo staffer Ha Guojiang told Xinhua.

Unfortunately, being a surrogate has caused the dog to refuse to nurse her own newborn puppy, but Ha has taken over feeding the pup.

Red pandas, also called lesser pandas, are furry, tree-dwelling, raccoon-like mammals that are a protected species in China, like their black-and-white Giant Panda relatives.

[Source: NYDailyNews.com]

15 July 2009

Clean Up & Save This Week At Modern Tails!

Clean your act up this week and save 30%. Just shop our Grooming category and enter the coupon code BLGROOM at checkout to save 30% on all Grooming products.

To check out all things soapy and sweet, head on over to Modern Tails

13 July 2009

ASPCA's Meet Your Match Program

You could be gazing at the animal of your dreams, but you just can’t tell what she’s thinking behind that furry face. What if you knew a little something about her personality and habits before you moved in together? The ASPCA’s Meet Your Match program wouldn’t let you go home without knowing who’s in that carrier or on that leash. MYM is the only method in existence today that evaluates an animal’s behavior and interests and matches them to an adopter’s preferences so that you take home a pet you can really click with.

The Meet Your Match Canine-ality/Puppy-ality assessment begins with an initial MYM SAFER™ (Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming) behavior screening to make sure each pooch is a good candidate for adoption. Dogs are then tested on their friendliness, playfulness, energy level, motivation and drive, and placed into one of nine color-coded Canine- or Puppy-alities. Some pooches are laid-back “Couch Potatoes,” others are curious “Busy Bees,” and then there are the action hero “Go-Getter” types.

As an adopter, you also get a color based on your preferences and lifestyle. On your visit to the adoption facility, you’re given a purple, orange or green guest pass to match the pets who might suit you best. You don’t always have to go with your own color, but at least you’ll know who you’re mixing with!

For more information, and to get your match color, head on over ASPCA.org

08 July 2009

Richard Gere Talks Dogs in Tokyo

Richard Gere stars in a Hollywood remake of Japan's long-cherished story of Hachiko, a faithful dog that died at a train station waiting for its master. But "Hachi: A Dog's Story" is more about the dog than about Gere, the 59-year-old actor said Wednesday.

"On this movie, I was definitely second-class," he told reporters at a Tokyo hotel.

The movie premiered in the U.S. at the Seattle International Film Festival in June, and opens in Japan in August.

The story of Hachiko is a legend among Japanese, a pet-loving nation that honors self-sacrificing loyalty.

Hachiko, the story goes, always used to wait at Shibuya train station for its master, a professor at the University of Tokyo.

Even after the professor died, the dog waited every day at the station for a decade, until it died in 1935.

People were so moved they built a statue of Hachiko at the station, which remains a popular rendezvous spot for Japanese today.

The story of Hachiko was made into a 1987 Japanese movie. Gere's version transports that story to a station in Rhode Island.

Gere said the Japanese breed of dogs called Akita used in the movie are close to wild dogs and very difficult to train. In the beginning, Gere was instructed not to even look at the three dogs that played Hachi.

"They only do something because they want to. You can't really buy them with food," said Gere, last in Japan four years ago for another remake of a Japanese story, "Shall We Dance?"

Gere said the new film evokes the artistry of silent movies.

Often, the crew would film the dog for 12 hours, and take just 10 minutes to shoot Gere's segments, he said.

"We were capturing something that was organic and real that was happening between me and the dogs," he said.

06 July 2009

Interspecies Cuteness.

I can never, ever resist stories about unlikely friends. And this one is especially aww-worthy.


[Source: Fox.com]

03 July 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

Everyone is celebrating the 4th of July in some form or another, so why not include the pets as well? There are events all over the U.S. that pet owners can bring their pets to. Some are parades for their pets and others are just festivities for the family including their pets. Most of these events are during the day so pet owners will be able to take their pets home before the firework events start. If pet owners keep their pets with them, keep in mind that July 4th is one of the highest round-up nights for the local humane societies and animal control officers. Pets get scared and run away from their owners and get picked up. Do use extreme caution if keeping your pet out for the fireworks displays. And, above all, Have fun! For a great survey of 4-legger friendly events around the country, head on over to Examiner.com

01 July 2009

Calling All Dogs In Need of a Makeover!

Monday July 6th pamper your pup on the plaza. If you are in the NYC area, bring your dog to the TODAY show plaza and at 7AM they'll be scanning the crowd for dogs in need of an Ambush Doggie Makeover! Come early to get a good spot in the crowd.

The selected three dogs will be styled like they’ve never been before! Under the sure hands of celebrity groomer Jorge- the dogs will get a hair styling and trim. And then Dara Foster will bring her dog fashion stylist magic and outfit the dogs in some of this summer’s coolest new trends!

For details, head on over to Pupstyle.com.

29 June 2009

The World's Ugliest Dog (In a Cute Way)

A prominent under-bite, scrunched face and floppy ears are the hallmarks of a winner. The winner of the World's Ugliest Dog contest, that is.

Pabst, a boxer-mix rescued from a shelter by Miles Egstad of Citrus Heights, Calif., won the annual contest on Friday at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California.

It was an upset victory for Pabst, who beat former champion Rascal, a pedigree Chinese Crested.

Pabst's owner took home $1,600 in prize money, pet supplies and a modeling contract with House of Dog.

Miss Ellie, a blind 15-year-old Chinese Crested Hairless, won the pedigree category.

[Source: The Huffington Post]

24 June 2009

Puppy Love!

Wedding attendants are going to the dogs. Pet-loving couples are increasingly including their dogs (and other pets, to a much lesser degree) in the wedding parties of some very formal weddings — decking them out in silk and satin and including them in the receiving line, on the program and in the portraits.

"Many people think of their pets as family members, and they wouldn't think of having a special day like this without that member," says Celina Bojorquez, co-owner of Beverly Hills Mutt Club, purveyor of upscale accessories like doggie tuxedos & couture dresses.

Though pets have long been part of casual weddings in meadows, on mountaintops and at the seashore, their participation in chichi affairs at the most ornate churches and refined locales is a more recent phenomenon.

Lynda Barness of I Do Wedding Consulting in Philadelphia always warns couples of the potential perils — "animals are animals, and they can do animal things," she says — and so far all her clients have concluded that including pets in the wedding party isn't necessary. "But as part of the portraits, that's just fine."

Beth Anstandig of Los Gatos, Calif., acknowledges there may be matters to work out but says having her own two border collies involved made her wedding day even more special. "The guests loved it," she says. And she and her husband cherish the photos featuring the dogs — especially because both have since died.

"We are so happy to be able to look back and remember them as they were on that day."

To read the full story, USAtoday.com

22 June 2009

If Watching Dogs Surf Doesn't Cure Your Case of the Mondays...

...I'm not sure what will.

This is absolutely adorable!

17 June 2009

400 Pound Dog Biscuit at Illinois' Woofstock 2009

It's a dog's dream come true -- a 400-pound biscuit. That's what they are cooking up at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois, for Woofstock 2009.

The goal is to beat the world's record for the biggest biscuit. "The previous record was 379," reported communications coordinator Jackie Rachev. Lambs Farm's bakery staff will be joined by a group of volunteers to assemble the massive dog treat.

"We have a very large oven but it is going to be done in pieces for safety and weight issues," Rachev said. "Each piece will be 80-100 pounds. They'll all be baked at the same time. After the official weigh-in and all the photos, the biscuit will be broken up and given to all the four-legged attendees."

Other activities at this family-and-pet event will include a Canine Couture Fashion Show. Dogs are encouraged to wear their best garb for a chance to win a gift certificate for the Pet Shop. There will also be a pet parade with the Big Red Dog serving as grand marshal, skill demonstrations, live entertainment, inflatables and vendors.

For more information, visit Lambsfarm.org

15 June 2009

The Blessing of the Animals

They share their owner’s home, family and attention nearly every day. And Sunday morning, Colorado-based pets were able to share in their divine blessing, too, at the Buckhorn Presbyterian Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals service.

More than two dozen dogs, as well as a guinea pig, were brought to the Masonville church’s amphitheater, where they sat somewhat patiently through an animal-themed service and blessing.

“God gave us these wonderful animals,” said the Rev. Sylvia Edwards, who had been invited to the church to give the service.

“They bless us. It’s nice to consciously give them a blessing in a worship service, too.”

What started a few years ago with just a few pets has grown into a community-wide event that offers the pastor’s and God’s blessing to any creature in attendance.

The amphitheater was nearly full Sunday with pooches of all sizes — from a tiny Yorkshire terrier to a towering golden retriever — that wagged, panted and sniffed through the service.

Get the whole story over at The Reporter Herald.

10 June 2009

Craving Waves?

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Use the coupon code BLBEACH at checkout to receive your discount, good until June 17, 2009. Limit one coupon per customer, per order; cannot be combined any other specials, discounts or coupons. Not redeemable for cash or gift cards, nor is it valid toward previous purchases.

09 June 2009

Check Out This Adorable Animal Odd Couple!

It's the last thing you'd expect to see emerging from the woods of Tennessee - actually make that the last two things!

Their names, Bella, a once stray dog who wandered onto the property, and Tarra, the elephant.

They arrived at an elephant sanctuary one-by-one, but they tend to live out their lives two-by-two no matter what.

When Bella got sick last year and had to live in the sanctuary office, guess who stood vigil for three weeks? Tarra waited there. "We had no choice but to bring Bella down to see Tarra," said one of the workers.

[Source: Fox29.com]

05 June 2009

FDA Approves First-Ever Cancer Drug For Dogs

The first cancer drug created specifically for dogs has been approved by the FDA. The drug, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's animal health wing, is called Palladia and was developed to treat canine cutaneous mast cell tumors.

Cutaneous mast cell tumors account for about 20% of skin cancer in dogs. Although some mast cell tumors can be surgically removed with relative ease, other cases have historically proven more difficult to treat, and the cancer has been known to spread to other parts of the body.

"This cancer drug approval for dogs is an important step forward for veterinary medicine," Bernadette Dunham, director of FDA's center for veterinary medicine, said in a statement Wednesday.

"Prior to this approval, veterinarians had to rely on human oncology drugs, without knowledge of how safe or effective they would be for dogs," Dunham said. "Today's approval offers dog owners, in consultation with their veterinarian, an option for treatment of their dog's cancer."

"At the completion of a Palladia clinical study, approximately 60% of dogs had their tumors disappear, shrink or stop growing," Dr. Cheryl London of Ohio State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, who worked with Pfizer in the development of the drug, said in a statement. "Also, we determined that dogs whose tumors responded to Palladia experienced an improved quality of life."

The drug will be available initially only through a small number of veterinary oncologists; it's expected to be more widely available beginning in early 2010, according to Reuters. It comes in pill form and is given every other day, generally for a period of several months or longer.

[Source: LATimes.com]