27 February 2009

Creature Comforts in the Workplace

Dog-friendly policies that allow employees to bring well-behaved pets to work are popping up in many offices and, by all accounts, the downsides are minimal.

"We always say around here that dogs have never broken anything. People have, but dogs, never," says Jeanine Falcon of Replacements Ltd., the Greensboro, N.C., company that warehouses more than 13 million pieces of china, crystal and silver and ships out thousands of items every day.

"It's part of our culture here to have pets," says Falcon, adding that most days there are 20 to 30 leashed or crated or behind-baby-gates dogs in the building, and even the occasional cat or rabbit.

A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association Manufacturers found that 20% of companies now have pet-friendly policies (though experts believe most are smallish operations), and the Humane Society of the United States just released Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces by California dog trainer Liz Palika and HSUS' Jennifer Fearing, who ushered in HSUS' dog-welcoming policy two years ago.

Not all dogs are great candidates as workmates, including those that have shown aggression to people or other animals; dogs that are territorial, hyperactive or vocal, and dogs that are very shy or fearful. They must have decent manners, be house-trained and well-groomed, and they must not be "food thieves … have constant flatulence, snore loudly or be excessive droolers," says Palika. "The owner may not be bothered by any of this, but co-workers probably would be."

Owners must be honest in appraising their pets, but many can't or won't acknowledge the realities of personality characteristics or behaviors that would make the animals an annoyance or distraction at work.

Palika estimates that only about one out of 50 or 75 dogs is already a perfect candidate for work detail. "The vast majority … need good, basic obedience training and better social skills," she says. About half of those, with training, can become office-appropriate.

To read the complete story, head over to USAToday.com

25 February 2009

Obamas Leaning Toward Portuguese Water Dog

The whole world, it seems, wants to know: What kind of dog are the Obamas getting and, for goodness sake, when?

Speaking to PEOPLE at the White House recently, Michelle Obama leaned in and confided: "You're getting some scoops here."

So, when? In April, Mrs. Obama says – after she and the President take daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on a vacation for spring break.

Here's a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!," Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."

And what kind of dog will soon be frolicking on the South Lawn? Mrs. Obama says the family is looking for a rescue Portuguese Water dog who is "old enough" and a "match" for the family dynamic.

"Temperamentally they're supposed to be pretty good," she says of the breed that Sen. Ted Kennedy has also lobbied for (he has two Water dogs of his own). "From the size perspective, they're sort of middle of the road – it's not small, but it's not a huge dog. And the folks that we know who own them have raved about them. So that's where we're leaning."

The only thing still up in the air is the name. And Mom's not feeling it with some of the names her girls have come up with.

"Oh, the names are really bad. I don't even want to mention it, because there are names floating around and they're bad," Mrs. Obama says with a laugh. "You listen and you go – like, I think, Frank was one of them. Frank! Moose was another one of them. Moose. I said, well, what if the dog isn't a moose? Moose. I'm like, no, come on, let's work with the names a little bit."

Asked if she can believe the public interest in her family dog search, Mrs. Obama shakes her head. "Okay, that's surprising," she says. "One of the things I didn't anticipate is the level of the excitement about the dog. I knew my kids were excited. They've been excited for years. They've even calmed down, because they feel like, 'They said we're going to get one, so let's just shut up about it.' "

Diplomatically, and careful not to insult enthusiastic dog-lovers, she adds: "It's all great and gracious attention. People are just being as helpful as you can imagine. So I know that we will find the perfect breed. And we'll find people who are caring folks who will help us find the dog of our dreams."

[Source: People.com]

23 February 2009

Post Profiles NY's Crappiest Neighborhoods

Step lightly in New York's crappiest neighborhood - the Upper West Side.

The tony area is ground zero for doggy doo, packed with inconsiderate people who don't pick up after their pups, according to a list compiled for The Post by the Department of Sanitation.

Manhattan saw an 88 percent spike in fines for unattended droppings last year, with Morningside Drive, Amsterdam Avenue, West End Avenue, Riverside Drive and Central Park West leading the complaints, Sanitation enforcement officers said.

"It's a minefield over here," said Max Moyet, 34, a dog walker who lives on Central Park West. "It upsets the hell out of me."

Moyet says he takes pains to "stare down" people who do not clean up after their pooches, a practice that's become a daily activity.

"It's their self-absorbed, all-about-me attitude," Moyet complained. "They're like, 'I'm too busy going to my Pilates class. I don't have the time to keep the neighborhood clean.' "

Suparna Chakrabortti, who lives in Queens but visits her family on West End Avenue almost every day, says the Upper West Side has gone to the dogs.

"It's on every block every day," she said. "In the past couple months, it's gotten much worse. I don't remember it being this bad."

While those Upper West Side streets have the highest concentration of complaints in Manhattan, the prize for the crappiest borough goes to The Bronx, which with 354 violations accounts for over a third of the summonses issued citywide, the Sanitation Department said. The two worst locations are on Mosholu Parkway and Hunts Point Avenue.

To read more crap-tastic stats, head over to NYPost.com

20 February 2009

iPhone Goes To The Dogs

For its latest iPhone diversion, developer Ngmoco aims to give iPhone owners all the joys of having their very own pet with almost none of the housebreaking. The newly announced Touch Pets Dogs promises to combine the connectivity of a social network with the fun of playing with puppies- creating a pet simulator game for a new generation.

In Touch Pets Dogs, players will be able to adopt, pet, train, dress, and play with a 3-D puppy dog of their choosing. During a demonstration of the game at Ngmoco’s San Francisco office, I got to see the five breeds initially available to the player. I threw a ball around the room, took the puppy outside his home to the backyard, and watched as the l’il critter realistically responded to affection and in-game objects like Frisbees and brushes.

Players will also be able to customize the appearance of their puppy by buying gear with an in-game currency called “Puppy Bucks.” An easy-to-use dropdown menu allows you to navigate through the many grooming, toy, and clothing options.

While these interactions will surely please casual gamers, more dedicated players can enjoy a deep and rich experience as well. If you get a ball for your puppy, simply throwing it around the room will look different every time you throw it thanks to a sophisticated physics engine. You can train the dog to grab the ball, jump on command, and do many other tricks. You can then guide and train your puppy to unlock achievements, accomplish missions, and even pursue careers. You can share your puppy’s accomplishments with mission postcards and train your dog in one of five career tracks- like crime-fighting or fashion.

The most interesting aspect of Touch Pets is the app’s built-in social connectivity. You can create an account and show stats on your puppy and see your friends and their puppies in the global feed. The global feed will tell you many important things about a puppy beyond simply listing accomplishments and stats. For example, if you see in the global feed that your friend’s dachshund is hungry, you can hop over to his house and feed it.

[Source: Macworld.com]

18 February 2009

Mickey Rourke Loses a Prized Pooch

Add one more to Mickey Rourke's pack of heavenly canine companions.

The Oscar nominee's Chihuahua, Loki, one of the dogs memorably thanked by Rourke in his Golden Globe acceptance speech, has died, Rourke's rep confirmed Tuesday to E! News.

Loki passed away Monday night at the ripe old age of 18. The pup was prominently photographed walking the red carpet with his master, who called Loki the "love of [his] life," at the Venice Film Festival in September.

"I'd like to thank all my dogs, the ones who are here and the ones who aren't here anymore," The Wrestler star said when accepting his Globe for Best Actor last month.

"Sometimes, when a man is alone, that's all you got is your dog. And they've meant the world to me."

Rourke expanded on this sentiment in a recent sit-down with Barbara Walters for her annual post-Oscars interview special.

"I sort of self-destructed and everything came out about 14 years ago or so...the wife had left, the career was over, the money was not an ounce," he said. "The dogs were there when no one else was there."

He remembers, at one of his lowest points, being asleep for some reason in a closet and then looking at his dog Lowjack. "And he made a sound, like a little almost human sound. I don't have kids, the dogs became everything to me. The dog was looking at me going, 'Who's going to take care of me?' "

In a far better place now, Rourke has taken home multiple film critics' honors, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for his comeback-fueling turn in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, and he has a real shot at adding both an Independent Spirit Award and an Oscar to his cache this weekend.

[Source: Eonline]

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PEDIGREE® Super Bowl Commercial 2009

13 February 2009

California Bridge Sculpture Goes To The Dogs

Dogs do the darndest things. They poop, they hump and they sniff in all the wrong places. And now you can see them do all of the above every time you cross the pedestrian bridge over Interstate 80 in Berkeley, Calif., thanks to the largesse of the taxpayers.

Artist Scott Donahue of Emeryville, Calif., was paid $196,000 by Berkeley's public arts program to create two large statues, which feature small, artistic medallions that show dogs doing what dogs do best. "Various things," Donahue said. "Biting each other, chasing each other. One dog is defecating, two dogs are fornicating."

But with the country in a deep recession and California on the verge of bankruptcy, some taxpayers are questioning the money Donahue got for his work. His total budget was $196,000 — 1.5 percent of the total budget for building the pedestrian bridge. And all of it came from taxpayers.

Donahue stands by his work and wonders what all the fuss is about. "The main impression that people have is that this is celebrating life's vitality," he said. "The sculpture is on the one hand serious — you've got these big sculptures — and on the other hand it's playful. It's both serious and playful simultaneously."

To read the complete story, head over to Fox News.

12 February 2009

Dog on House Roof

In the course of a normal day, the Minot Police Department receives several calls about dogs doing normal dog things getting loose and running around the neighborhood, digging in the garbage or just plain barking.

However, there wasn't much normal about the call that Dick Schnell, animal control officer at the department, handled Tuesday morning. A caller reported this handsome fellow was doing not only the aforementioned normal things, but climbing on the roof as well. "Just when you think you've seen it all," Schnell laughed later Tuesday.

Apparently, the snow in the back yard is high enough to where the dog can basically walk right up onto the roof, Schnell said.

The dog seemed perfectly content on the roof of its home, in the 1300 block of 25th Place in northwest Minot. He eventually came down to the lower level of the roof to snack on some treats Schnell tossed up to try and tempt the dog into coming down, but that's as far as the dog went.

The dog's owner was summoned, who eventually returned home and got the dog off the roof.

[Source: Minot Daily News]

11 February 2009

10 Fun Facts About Westminster's 2009 Winner

America is about to fall in love with Stump - the adorable, droopy-eyed spaniel who wowed the crowd at Westminster and became the oldest Best in Show winner in dog show history.

Stump proved an old dog can still pull off some new tricks - and he can count at least one fellow senior among his biggest fans: Dr. Ruth Westheimer. The celebrated sex therapist was in the stands at Madison Square Garden for the competition Tuesday night. "When I found out he was the oldest to win, I was so happy. I'm 80, and he's 70 in dog years," she said.

And there are plenty of other things fans should know about the 10-year-old champion Sussex spaniel, so here we offer the official "Stump Dossier."

1. His official name is Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee

2. He was born is Dec. 1, 1998

3. He is named "Stump" ... because he has stubby legs, is brown and resembles a tree stump

4. He has sired pups named Root, Forest and Myrtle

5. His favorite chew toy is a plush Grinch doll

6. He weighs about 50 pounds

7. He lives in Houston, Texas with the 2001 Best in Show winner J.R., a Bichon Frise

8. He didn't train at all for his return to the ring

9. He is the oldest dog ever to win Westminster, that title was previously held by the 1999 winner, an 8-year-old Papillon

10. The Westminster show was his 51st career best in show win

Stump is in fabulous shape for his age and will travel the dog world circuit just like the younger pups who've held the best in show title.

Judge Sari Tietjen said she had no idea the winning spaniel was an elder in the dog world. "He showed his heart out," she said. "I didn't know who he was or how old ... I just couldn't say no to him."

[Source: NY Daily News]

10 February 2009

Yes Wins Non-Sporting, Tiger Woods Tops Hound Group

When Yes — yes, that's her name — won the Non-Sporting Group at the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Monday, somewhere her father must have been smiling. The 5-year-old black Standard Poodle will compete Tuesday for Best in Show at Madison Square Garden (8 ET, USA). Too bad Marv Albert isn't calling the show.

Yes' father, or sire in dog talk, was Ch. Eaton Affirmed, known as Snapper. Though Snapper died in 1990, his owner, Timothy Brazier, froze the dog's semen a quarter century ago, which was very rare for that time.

Snapper is one of the legendary producers of champions, and now his spirit and his genes live on in his daughter, officially known as Ch. Randenn Tristar Affirmation, the No. 4 dog in the country last year. She is the top winning black poodle (all varieties) of all time with 94 Best in Shows and is the mother, or dam, of four champions, and even a grand dam.

It wasn't The Masters, but Tiger Woods won again. This time in the Hound Group. Ch. Gayleward's Tiger Woods, a 6-year-old Scottish Deerhound, will compete tonight for Best in Show. His owner, Gayle Bontecou, is a golfer, and since "there's nothing better than Tiger Woods, we named him Tiger Woods," she says. The original Tiger should be proud of his namesake, Bontecou says. "He should love him because he's really good. They both are total athletes."

[Source: USA Today]

Westminster Best in Show Preview

09 February 2009

Catching Some Vitamin C

Who needs tennis balls when you've got oranges?

[Source: Examiner.com]

06 February 2009

Hooch Hits Westminster

A newly recognized American Kennel Club breed will compete at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show for the very first time at approximately 9:30 am in Ring 3 on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009.

The Dogue de Bordeaux is an ancient French member of the mastiff family that bears a close resemblance to the popular Bullmastiff. Since the breed gained full recognition into the Working Group on July 1, 2008, there has been time for owners to finish their dogs’ championships and enter the show by the fall deadline. Fifteen of the behemoths are expected to wow spectators.

Most Americans of a certain age will remember the breed’s muscular body, massive head, and stocky build – not to mention gallons of drool – from the popular 1989 movie “Turner and Hooch” that partnered mega-star Tom Hanks with a loose-lipped sidekick of the DDB persuasion.

Happily DDBs don’t produce drool in the quantity that the movie suggested, but by the same token fastidious housekeepers may not see this breed as the perfect canine fit.

To read more about these wrinkly cuties, check out Dogchannel.com

05 February 2009

04 February 2009

NYC's Gone to the Dogs

February is dog month in New York City, with a host of events that revolve around the famous Westminster Dog Show.

The Empire State Building gets dressed up in Westminster’s official colors of purple and gold. Stores such as Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue get creative with dog-related window displays. Pet-friendly restaurants introduce special canine menus, and hotels offer welcoming pet packages. Banners and flags go up around Madison Square Garden, the home to the dog show since the 1800s. And everyone in the city braces for the event that’s become such a major draw, billed as one of the top 10 annual attractions that bring people to the Big Apple.

This year marks the 133rd dog show. It’s still not too late to purchase tickets for the two-day event February 9 - 10. Because it’s a benched show — which means all the dogs have to remain backstage for the entire day — the public has a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with the different breeds.

For more info, read the full article at msn.com

03 February 2009

02 February 2009

Secret Service Dog Takes A Snow Break

While President Obama was busy meeting with Republican congressmen on the economic stimulus plan Tuesday, a Secret Service emergency response team officer let his security dog have a much-deserved break. The dog was observed playing in the snow on the White House grounds.

Hey, you know what they say about all work and no play...

[Source: LaTimes.com]