29 January 2010

Blind Dogs Vision Restored!

It wasn't the cameras and reporters hovering around Lis Feeney that made her nervous today as she waited to be reunited with her 12-year-old dog, Bobo.

Instead, she joked, she feared the cataract surgery performed at Angell Animal Medical Center that returned Bobo's eyesight would make her unrecognizable to the dog she first got as a puppy.

"I was a brunette the last time he saw me,'' said the now-blonde Feeney.

The Chinese Crested dog was escorted to Feeney by Dr. Martin Coster, the ophthalmic veterinary surgeon who performed the cataract surgery this week. Feeney hugged and nuzzled the dog who went blind about 2½ years ago as a result of developing diabetes.

You are beautiful, you are beautiful,'' Feeney told Bobo. "Let me see those big brown eyes!''

Feeney planned to return to their home in Foxborough today and after a period of convalescence, let Bobo do what he loves best: chase squirrels in their backyard.

Coster said cost for the surgery ranges from $4,000 to $6,000 at Angell and that he does not expect that the successful cataract operation will extend Bobo's life. He was certain, however, that the dog will benefit.

"I think it will add to his quality of life,'' Coster said.

[Source: BOSTON.COM]

28 January 2010

Dog Miracle Rescue. 20 Miles Out To Sea

A dog was rescued from an iceberg floating 18 miles from land in the Baltic Sea. Sailors plucked the animal to safety after it got trapped on ice on Poland's Vistula river and drifted for more than 70 miles.

Rescuer Adam Buczynski said: 'He didn't even squeal. There was just fear in his big eyes.'

It’s thought Baltic’s problems began when he got trapped on ice on the Vistula River near Torun on Friday. A day later he was spotted in Grudziadz, 40 miles upstream, where fireman tried to reach the German shepherd-type mongrel. But thick ice made it too risky to launch a rescue craft despite Baltic floating just a few yards from the river bank. Another bid to save the stranded mutt was made at Kwidzyn, 22 miles further on towards Poland’s coast. After sightings dried up it was assumed the dog had perished.

But incredibly Baltic had travelled a further 50 miles to the river mouth before heading out to the ocean where finally his luck turned when scientists on a research boat spotted something odd moving amid the broken ice.

Natalia Drgas, of the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, said: 'One of the sailors thought they had seen another seal but then he noticed it had legs, ears and a tail.'

However the men onboard the Baltica soon found saving the stranded dog was by no means plain sailing. First they tried to catch the dog in a net on a pole but when that failed they had to drop a pontoon with crewmen.

Seaman Adam Buczynski said: 'We tried to sail as close as possible but as we approached the boat pushed the ice and the dog was sliding off.

'The dog didn’t even yelp but you could see the fear in his eyes.'

With darkness falling and time running out Baltic was finally hauled on board in sub zero temperatures late on Monday. Captain Jan Jachim said if his ship had passed that way a few moments later the dog would never have been spotted amid the gloom.

He said: 'We were just at the right place at the right time.'

[Source: DailyMail]

27 January 2010

Special Dogs in the Workplace

He's an award-winning New York fashion designer whose work is written about in GQ, New York Magazine and Vogue and spoken of glowingly by the fashion glitterati.

But in the trendy Greenwich Village neighborhood where John Bartlett, creative director of Liz Claiborne's men's collection, lives and works, it's constant companion Tiny Tim who gets the most attention.

When the two stroll to the chichi shop where Bartlett sells his own upscale line and custom work, folks call to Tiny Tim and reach out to give him a pat.

And then the dog — a three-legged, mixed-breed mutt — settles in near the front door of the elegant shop with its quiet air of perfect breeding, to spread his own special brand of customer service.

"A lot of people are drawn in because they see him from the sidewalk," Bartlett says.

So besotted is the designer with Tiny Tim that the logo on his store is a three-legged dog, and that image appears on the patch of his line of pricey jeans.

"I couldn't be luckier," says Bartlett, who got the dog from North Shore Animal League America seven years ago. When Bartlett visited the shelter on his 40th birthday, he was captivated by the "soulful eyes" of long-termer Tiny Tim, so named because he had arrived at the shelter severely injured. His leg was amputated Christmas Eve.

In Bartlett's circle, there are a lot of "status dogs," he acknowledges; sometimes someone will deride his tri-pawed dog of indeterminate genetics. Bartlett is untroubled.

"That tells me a lot about that person," as does the reaction of most people, who find Tiny Tim irresistible.

Several more Workplace dogs from around the country.

[Source: USAToday]

26 January 2010

Doggie Surfing! Filming for Dog Movie "Marmaduke"

She is as happy in this frothing ocean as a Thoroughbred at the racetrack. She adheres to the surfboard as if her feet are made of Velcro.

How does an Australian Kelpie, bred to be a hardworking ranch hand, do an about-face and become an aimless surfer dude?

Easily, says her owner, Michael Uy. She has many talents, only one of which is herding sheep. The girl also enjoys mountain biking and rock climbing.

"But surfing is her No. 1 love," says Uy, 39, a software program manager in San Diego. "We surf together almost every day after I get off work."

Abbie girl is front and center in a dog-surfing craze spreading along California's beaches. These coastal canines fuel the real-life action scenes in the film Marmaduke, due in theaters June 4 from 20th Century Fox.

One of the story lines about the popular comic-strip character centers on the Great Dane being pressured to enter a surfing contest after his family moves to Southern California. Lee Pace, William H. Macy and Judy Greer are human stars in this live-action comedy in which the dogs speak. Owen Wilson is the voice of Marmaduke, an awkward teen Dane who is a very reluctant surfer up against champions such as Abbie.

Abbie got the nod to be a film extra (and earn $400) when the professional animal trainers who work with the Great Dane that plays Marmaduke saw Abbie surf in a contest, Uy says. Several of the other surfing dogs cavorting in the rough water with Abbie and Uy this particular day also will be extras in the film, which Uy says will show dogs surfing some spectacular waves.

Dog surfing is mostly recreational, but Uy and the dedicated followers bouncing up and down in these San Diego-area waves are taking it to new heights. Five competitions, up from two the year before, were held in California last year, drawing hundreds of dogs and thousands of spectators. The number of surf classes for dogs also is growing.

[Source: USATODAY]

25 January 2010

Rescue Dog Brings Hope, Saves Lives!

A fire and rescue service dog handler has praised the work of his partner following their mission to Haiti following the earthquake. Search dog Echo was part of the Greater Manchester team which has been helping in the country after it was devastated nearly two weeks ago.

Mick Dewer, who is based in Kearsley is back, but Echo has to stay in quarantine for six months. He said Echo gave people hope that something could be done. Provided comfort.

"It's really good to be back, but it's tinged with sadness as I've left behind my work partner and best friend," he said.

"Echo worked really hard, but his benefit wasn't just in searching, he also brought home to the families of people we were searching for, that bit of hope that something can be done."

He said the children stroked the dog which he thought would have provided some comfort to them. He added he was looking forward to some decent food and sleep, but it was "quite hard coming home knowing people in Haiti were starving and things here were back to normal".

Mr Dewar was part of a group of firefighters from Lancashire and Greater Manchester which took part in a rescue mission. They returned home on Saturday to be reunited with their families and colleagues. While in Haiti they successfully rescued a two-year-old girl from her collapsed kindergarten school.

[Source: BBC NEWS]

22 January 2010

Dog Loves To Race, in Custom Racing Gear!

Opee is only 8, but he's already a popular veteran in the down and dirty sport of motocross. He can pull 6 Gs. He's been the centerfold for Cycle News and poses regularly for fan photos. He's a survivor of the grueling Baja 500 and has racked up more than 10,000 hours on a dirt bike. Sometimes, you can barely see the 70-pound pooch — a blue merle Australian shepherd — through the dust on his goggles and his custom helmet, complete with cam.

"I am his biggest fan," said Mike Schelin, Opee's owner, race partner and a purveyor of used motorcycle parts from a shop next to his mobile home.

Schelin got the dog in 2001 shortly after his divorce. He raises him with other dogs and two horses at a spread he calls Miracle Flats. Known as "The Dogfather" to some in the sport, Schelin always takes a back seat to Opee.

"He was my instant best friend," Schelin said. "He slept in my tool bag. There was something about him. He's had charisma since Day One. I knew I had a dog who could make a difference."

Schelin, 41, realized he had a four-legged motocross fan as a pet when he started riding in the desert with Opee on the chase.

"I felt bad for him, he would run so long." So Schelin bought a four-wheeler and they went desert riding together. The dog didn't like the dust in his eyes, so Schelin got him goggles. One day, Opee ditched the four-wheeler and hopped on the motorcycle tank, where he's been ever since, Schelin said.

If the bike isn't moving, Opee will just fall asleep on the tank. They keep it bare because they've never found a covering that's comfortable for the dog, Schelin said.

Reaction to Opee was magic. He was an instant canine ambassador to off-roading. Finding sponsors was no problem and soon Opee had his own custom gear, including a specially made neck brace, inflatable vest, backpack, water supply and several jerseys. He got his American Motorcycle Association card and his SCORE International card, the latter so he could race in Baja.

The dog does lots of other things, too. He's been a search and rescuer, a California assistance dog and visits kids in hospitals with Schelin. They regularly work crowds at races in the area, including the Supercross in Anaheim.

Opee appears to be Schelin's biggest fan as well. "From what I see, he loves Mike and would go anywhere with him," said Ricky Johnson, a seven-time national motorcycle champion who owns Perris Raceway near Schelin's place.

[Source: ABC NEWS]

21 January 2010

Some Dogs Can Run, Others Prefer to Herd You

A MAN’S friend is not always his best choice of a running partner. The same can be said of man’s best friend.

It’s a lesson that Michelle Powe, an English teacher in Midlothian, Tex., learned last summer when trying to run with Mookie, her 90-pound Catahoula.

“He kept trying to herd me,” she recalled. For the entire three-mile run, Mookie displayed the kind of herding behavior that is typical for the breed, throwing his weight against Ms. Powe and nipping at her legs.

“By the end of it, my knees were sore from having 90 pounds constantly bumping into me,” she said. “It was fun for other people to watch, but not so much for me.”

Like many dog owners, Ms. Powe assumed that her young, healthy dog would make a natural running companion. After all, dogs love to run, they love spending time with their masters, and they rarely tire of chasing a stick before their owners tire of throwing it.

But not all dogs are born to run, particularly the way humans go about it: in a straight line, with little regard for scent. And there is nothing fun about running with an untrained dog. Indeed, it can be dangerous for both you and your pet.

“Invariably active dog owners wake up one day and say, ‘Today is a beautiful day, I’m going to go run with Fluffy,’ and they’ve never run with Fluffy before, and they set off and realize it really stinks running with Fluffy,” said Alexandra Powe Allred, a Dallas-based trainer and author of a book on dog obedience (and Michelle Powe’s sister).

The first step for anyone thinking about running with a dog is researching the breed, Ms. Allred said. Some of it is common sense: small dogs — teacup poodles, Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers — will have trouble running at high speeds or for long distances.

But other problems may not be so obvious. For example, dogs with flat noses — pugs, bulldogs, some boxers — may have trouble breathing during strenuous exercise. And while some hunting or herding dogs are physically built for running — like border collies and Rhodesian Ridgebacks — they may be more interested in chasing prey than staying on the sidewalk.

Once you have determined whether your dog is built for running, it is important to teach it some commands. “Stay,” for example, is useful should you want to put down the leash long enough to tie your sneakers. But trainers say that if you teach your dog only one command before running, it should be “heel.”

[Source: NY TIMES]

20 January 2010

Why Do Dog Breeds Look Like That?

From the Dachshund's stubby legs to the Shar-Pei's wrinkly skin, breeding for certain characteristics has left its mark on the dog genome. Researchers have identified 155 regions on the canine genome that appear to have been influenced by selective breeding.
With more than 400 distinct breeds, dogs come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, fur-styles, and temperaments. The curly-haired toy poodle, small enough to sit in a teacup, barely looks or acts like the smooth-coated Great Dane tall enough to peer like a periscope out of a car's sunroof. Not so apparent are breed differences in how the dogs' bodies function and their susceptibility to various diseases.

Although domestication of dogs began over 14,000 years ago, according to Dr. Joshua Akey, University of Washington (UW) assistant professor of genome sciences, the spectacular diversity among breeds is thought to have originated during the past few centuries through intense artificial selection of and strict breeding for desired characteristics. Akey is the lead author of the effort to map canine genome regions that show signs of recent selection and that contain genes that are prime candidates for further investigation. Those genes are being examined for their possible roles in the most conspicuous variations among dog breeds: size, coat color and texture, behavior, physiology, and skeleton structure.

The researchers performed the largest genome-wide scan to date for targets of selection in purebred dogs. The genomes came from 275 unrelated dogs representing 10 breeds that were very unlike each other. The breeds were: Beagle, Border Collie, Brittany, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Greyhound, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Shar-Pei, and Standard Poodle.

The study was conducted, the researchers said, because the canine genome, the product of centuries of strong selection, contains many important lessons about the genetic architecture of physical and behavioral variations and the mechanisms of rapid, short-term evolution. The findings, the researchers said, "provide a detailed glimpse into the genetic legacy of centuries of breeding practices."

[Source: Science Daily]

19 January 2010

Puppy Cam! Famous Dog Has New Litter

Doggonit, they're back!

Tens of thousands of dog lovers were glued to the tube Monday as a puppy cam captured every move of a California shiba inu and her new brood.

The San Francisco pooch named Kika became a canine Web celeb in 2008 when a total of 3 million Internet users clicked in to watch her care for her puppies.

The live video feed went viral and puppy fans from 74 countries spent a total of 1.2million hours watching as the mother dog groomed and fed her babies.

More than 100,000 were watching last night on ustream.tv/SFShiba as the cute mom nursed a litter of five puppies, which were born Saturday.

This time there were three males and two females - the last litter was equally split with three of each sex.

The tiny pups squirmed in a doggie bed and battled to nuzzle up close to their mom.

Two of the newborns were snoozing late last night.


15 January 2010

U.K Soldiers Rally to Get Dog Out of Afghanistan

For the past five years, Tangye, a black Labrador retriever, has been a faithful companion to the British military in Afghanistan. Patrolling with the soldiers of C Company, 3rd Battalion The Rifles (and surpassing most in tours of duty), Tangye has not only survived several gun battles but has also been a source of unfailing support for the troops. His can-do spirit — from being the first to jump into holes cleared in wall blasts to barking and wagging his tail in encouragement when soldiers are under fire — has endeared him to the troops stationed at the remote and treacherous base of Kajak.

"He was a morale boost as he was our own pet," Aaron Fell, an Ireland-based rifleman in the 2nd Battalion who once housed Tangye in his room in Afghanistan, tells PEOPLEPets.com. A small, friendly, funny canine who formed an "army of three" with two other dogs on-site, Tangye "was very brave. He would run at the front of the patrol. During one of our biggest contacts with the enemy — which went on for hours — we threw smoke grenades to cover us as we pulled out. We looked round and saw Tangye chasing the smoke grenades!"

But with the rise of improvised explosive devices, Tangye’s glorious days in battle may be numbered. Because the Taliban may target him as a "sniffer dog," his chances of getting blown up are increasingly likely. To save their beloved mascot, who was purchased from a dam worker and named for a village on the Helmand river, British soldiers began a campaign last October to bring the dog to the U.K. "He can't do what he loves doing over here anymore — it's too dangerous. It would mean an awful lot to the lads to know he was safe," Lance Cpl. Brent Meheux (shown above with Tangye) told the BBC.

Over the past few months, several organizations have responded with open arms. Nowzad, a charity that places rescued cats and dogs from Afghanistan in U.S. and U.K. homes, has reached out to the soldiers to facilitate the transfer. In addition, a group of dog lovers that includes coordinators and members of Labrador Retriever Rescue South England and North West Labrador Retriever Club have rallied on Facebook and Justgiving.org to fund-raise 5,000 (about $8,100) for Tangye’s flights and quarantine (where he’ll stay for six months upon arrival before being adopted into a loving home).

"We have been overwhelmed by the response from both people in the armed forces and the dog-loving public," Natalie Pomroy, creator of the "Save Tangye" Facebook group, tells PEOPLEPets.com. A coordinator for Lab Link Rescue from St. Osyth, Essex, she adds, "Tangye has captured people's hearts. So many have donated money to help the appeal [that] we are well on our way to the 5,000 target." So far, the site has raised about half that amount.

"At the moment it is a waiting game," says Pomroy, but hope remains high that this frontline canine will soon be showered with the same love that he has shown the troops. "He has ... brought a little humanity to a very difficult job."


14 January 2010

Dogs are Good for the Heart

While working as a cardiologist in south Dallas, Dr. Gary Barkocy had to make numerous late-night calls to hospitals in response to ST segment elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMI), or in layman's terms, really serious heart attacks.

"I remember at 3 o'clock in the morning, I'd be like 'here we go,'" Barkocy said recently from his office at Nacogdoches Medical Center. But, now, when the interventional cardiologist hears the word STEMI, he smiles. That's because rather than referring only to a condition that brings his patients pain, these days the name is used more often in reference to a four-legged assistant that makes them smile.

"Some of our patients have had a really big change of life; they're grieving, and you wouldn't believe how a puppy dog can change that," he said.

Stemi, Barkocy's friendly black Labrador retriever, started training as a therapy dog when she was a puppy and now spends her days keeping her owner's cardiac patients calm.

"A lot of our patients will have a procedure where they have to lay flat for two to three hours; they can't move, and it gets very disturbing and distressing," he said. "But, with a puppy dog sitting there to give you kisses, or by petting a dog, they seem to do much better. We figured this would help with patient care."

Barkocy said that while Stemi does not have her certification as a therapy dog, patients still seem to love her.

"They ask for her more than they ask for me," he joked, adding that she went through therapy dog training in Dallas multiple times, and he is in the midst of working with a Lufkin trainer to get her certified.

He said when he has a patient undergoing a procedure in his office, he'll ask the patient if they would like some company. Barkocy said many times, they'll respond with "What do you mean?" And, he'll explain that the procedure will require them to lie flat for a period of time, and if they would like, he could get Stemi to sit at the end of the bed, or near them, so they can pet her while they're there.

"It's just that calming influence," he said.

[Source: Daily Sentinel]

13 January 2010

Have A Heart For Chained Dogs!

With Valentine's Day approaching, non-profit Dogs Deserve Better is asking for help from dog lovers in an unique direct mail outreach which pairs Valentines created by schoolchildren with America's chained dogs.

Dogs Deserve Better, a national rescue and advocacy group dedicated to ending the suffering endured by chained dogs, annually sends Valentines and dog treat coupons to canines across the country. The group includes a brochure for the dog's caretakers, explaining why the practice of chaining dogs for life is a form of abuse. The materials encourage people to bring their dogs into the home and family or to find better homes for the animals.

By the end of January, the group needs 15,000 addresses of perpetually-chained or penned dogs, volunteers to make the Valentines, and donations of coupons for dog treats or dog food.

"Winter is a critical time to reach out directly to the people who chain their dogs, and what better excuse than Valentine's Day to send these forgotten animals a little love," says Tamira Thayne, founder and director of the seven-year-old non-profit. "Every winter our rescuers see dogs that have frozen in the snow, suffered frostbite, or otherwise endured horrific living conditions because of the longstanding misperception that it is ok to chain a dog outside in any kind of weather"

"This is the perfect opportunity for people who pass chained dogs every day but feel powerless to help them to make a difference," continues Thayne. "People can anonymously provide us with the addresses of these dogs, or make us a batch of Valentines, and we'll do the rest"

The creation of the Valentines is an ideal project for schools, scouting troops, and other similar organizations. "Children have a natural affinity for animals and they enjoy making art projects," says Thayne, an artist herself. "In this way we remind children of proper caretaking, and educate guardians as well"

Although the practice of 24/7 chaining is pervasive in many parts of the country, states and cities have started to pass laws against the practice. So far four states have passed limitations on chaining: California, Texas, Connecticut, and Nevada. Hundreds of cities and counties have passed limitations or flat-out bans.

Meanwhile, countless backyard dogs are spending yet another winter in the cold. Often, they shiver day and night in hole-ridden doghouses, suffer from thirst because their water is frozen, and pace neurotically from lack of exercise and attention. Perpetually chained dogs often become aggressive from their constant confinement, thereby posing a danger to people, especially small children.

For more information about the Valentine's Day outreach, go to http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/Valentines2010.html or email info@dogsdeservebetter.org.

Valentines (sized at 4"x 8" max preferred due to postal regulations), addresses and donations for the campaign can be sent to: P.O. Box 23, Tipton, PA 16684. For general information about Dogs Deserve Better go to www.dogsdeservebetter.org.

[Source: ExpertClick]

12 January 2010

Deaf Dog Found, Reward Money Donated!

The couple who found Luna in their Loudonville backyard a couple of miles from the veterinary hospital where the deaf dog escaped have turned down the reward money. Instead, the couple who asked not to be identified, want the money to go to charity.

After Luna, a bulldog mix, disappeared Jan. 2, Ralph Rataul and his wife, Shelley, put up an $800 reward, which included their money, a contribution from Shaker Veterinary Hospital on Maxwell Road and donations from friends.

Luna was found at 12:30 p.m. Monday in the backyard of the couple's Springwood Manor Drive. The street runs alongside State Police Troop G headquarters on Route 9 across from Siena College.

Rataul said half of the reward will be donated to the ASPCA and the other half to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in the name of the couple who found the family pet.

The couple tried to get Luna inside, recognizing the dog from a story that appeared in the Sunday Times Union, but Luna resisted. So, they called the veterinary hospital and the hospital staff call Rataul.

Luna, who was adopted three years ago as a rescue dog and was probably deaf from birth, saw Rataul but didn't immediately recognize him. "At first she was scared, but then realized it was her dad," said Ken Wolfe, assistant director of the hospital.

Rataul said Luna backed into a corner where two fences merged, barked at him, and he feared "she was going to bolt at any time." But slowly she realized who he was and approached him, and when she reached him, jumped on him.

"I'm overjoyed," Rataul said at a Monday news conference. "This is unreal. She's home, she's safe." The couple feared the worse, primarily because of the dog's handicap. She can't hear someone calling her, nor traffic.

"She's not an outdoors dog, not a hunting dog, but some instinctual stuff must have kicked in" for her to survive, he said. "Whatever she was doing, she was doing it right." Luna dropped 12 pounds but despite the ordeal she was in good shape, the vets said. She weighted 65 pounds when she took off.

"She's going to be on GPS all the time now," Rataul quipped.


11 January 2010

"Cutest Dog" winner donates $1 million prize

Denver-area dermatologist Leslie Capin always knew her Chihuahua Dr. Papidies was cute. But cute enough to win $1 million? She wasn't quite sure. However, she was willing to take that chance, and entered her three-year-old pup in the All American Pet Brands' Cutest Dog Competition last fall in hopes of winning the big cash prize — with the intent of donating the reward to charity.

"I know it wasn't going to be that easy to win," Capin tells PEOPLE. "By the end of the competition, there were 60,000 entries."

Capin campaigned to patients, lobbied through Facebook and Twitter, and even faced allegations that she was lying about her charitable goal. "A lot of people got online and said, 'It's not true, she's going to buy a Mercedes'," she says. "But I answered them all and insisted it was true."

When word came in November that Dr. Papidies had won the competition, Capin was overtaken by emotion. "I didn't grow up with a lot of money — I had to work for everything I had — and then here I am close to the age of 56, in the position to give away a million."

After toasting the win with family and friends, Capin took the steps to set up a charitable trust to protect the funds. "There's an addendum that basically says should something happen to me, the trust will continue to give $33,000 a year for the next 29 years to the shelters I've chosen to help," she says. "Even if I change my mind in 10 years, I can't get that money!"

As for Dr. Papidies? "I don't think he has a clue," Capin laughs. "But I wanted the two of us to make a difference in our community. To give away a million dollars... it doesn't get much better than that."


08 January 2010

Rising Stars in front of and behind the camera!

When Christine Mahaney’s friends sent her information about the “Petco Stars” competition in 2007, she knew her border collie Toula had a shot at winning.

She never dreamed that would be the catalyst for film industry careers for both her and the dog.

After winning the nationwide competition, the pair worked together on “Public Enemies” with Johnny Depp and an upcoming movie called “Highland Park,” but Mahaney worked sans Toula on the made-in-Michigan film “Youth in Revolt,” which opens today.

“Michigan’s tax incentive has been instrumental in my career and putting Michigan on the map,” Mahaney said, referring to the 40 percent tax credit moviemakers receive for filming in Michigan.

For “Youth in Revolt,” the 41-year-old Mahaney, of Plainwell, was an assistant animal trainer, helping train Oscar, a terrier mix rescue dog from Los Angeles, for his role as Albert, the furry companion of Sheeni Saunders. Saunders, played by Portia Doubleday, is the love interest of main character Nick Twisp, played by Michael Cera.

“It was absolutely wonderful working with (director) Miguel Arteta,” Mahaney said. “Michael Cera is such a nice guy, he truly loved Oscar. Oscar didn’t lack any kind of love or attention on set.”

The movie was shot all over Michigan, despite the California license plates seen in it, Mahaney said. Filming was done in Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, Ludington, Frankfort and Lake Leelanau. Lake Michigan on a sunny day easily passes for the California coast, Mahaney said.

In addition to dogs, Mahaney has also had the opportunity to train a six-point buck on the set of “Red Dawn,” several chickens for an upcoming Rob Reiner film and a large mouth bass for a student film at the University of Michigan. She attributes her seemingly preternatural skills for training animals to patience, respect and understanding for the creatures.

“Food is also a pretty good motivator for any animal,” Mahaney said.

“But I always think of them first as a pet and second as an actor. You never put them in jeopardy and you respect them.”

[Source: MLIVE.Com]

07 January 2010

Westminster Dog Show!

Mario Lopez has been tapped to host the 134th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The current Extra presenter will join veteran commentator David Frei as co-host of the show on Feb. 15 -16.

"I am really excited to be a host of the 2010 Westminster Dog Show," Lopez said.

He added: "I've been doing my research and checking out some of the world's top dog shows, so I'm well prepared on show day. I can't wait to be a part of the Super Bowl for canines!"

Lopez grew up with dogs and a guinea pig. PeoplePets.com did a story saying Lopez is looking for a dog companion. Oprah Winfrey suggested he get a French Bulldog. It sounds like he wants a running buddy.

[Source: USA Today]

06 January 2010

National Contest to Find the Most Unforgettable 'Doggie Valentine' in America

Do you hold a special place in your heart for your dog? Is your dog more like a best friend or a true partner than your pet? Love is in the air this February, and this time Cupid has his eye on dogs and their human companions, as more than 60 percent of dog owners plan to include their dogs in their Valentine's Day celebrations. Dogs have already claimed the title of Man's Best Friend, and now they're part of a new tradition that has their owners proclaiming the four-legged loves of their lives their "Doggie Valentines."

Purina® Chef Michael's® canine creations is celebrating the unique relationship between dogs and owners with the launch of the "My Doggie Valentine" contest starting Jan. 6, 2010. The lucky winner will get an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to attend the Chef Michael's Be My Valentine Doggie Dinner Party on Feb. 10, 2010, at Gotham Hall, one of the city's most prominent and prestigious social event venues.

A surprise celebrity judge will select the winning dog in the contest, which takes place now through Jan. 25, 2010 on www.doggievalentine.com.

Dog owners across the country are invited to enter by submitting a color photo of their dog along with a caption that describes why their dog is their Valentine. Entries will be judged on the "unforgettable face" in the photo, the originality of the caption and the appropriateness of the entry to the contest's loving theme. For every valid entry, Chef Michael's will donate $10 (up to $7,500) to Adopt-a-Pet.com to support its mission to find forever homes for homeless dogs that also deserve to feel loved on Valentine's Day.


05 January 2010

Mushers Return for ‘Dog Days’

It seems a reversal of logic, to wait all year for the snow to fall and then begin running outdoors. But to these dogs, it is the only logic that makes sense.

Throughout Canada and the United States’ snowy states, mushers are preparing their dogs for the winter dog sledding season. And, once again, a race near Olney will kick the season off for a group of mushers from around the Northwest U.S. and Canada.

The third annual Flathead Sled Dog Days, presented by Snow Action Sports, Inc., is held Jan. 8-10, with veterinarian check-ins the first day and racing on the final two days. In 2009, the event drew only 11 teams because of the recession and high diesel prices, down from more than 20 the first year.

But the numbers are back up again this year with 21 entries, ranging from four-dog teams up to 12-dog teams. Entrants come from the Montana towns Whitefish and Condon, as well as Alberta, Wisconsin and Colorado.

Brooke Bohannon, an organizer for the event, said Flathead Sled Dog Days is held earlier in the year than most other sled dog races, so some racers use it for training. Yet for others, it’s the biggest race of the winter. There is also a race in Seeley Lake the following weekend, which some of Flathead Sled Dog Days’ participants will attend, Bohannon said.

“There are some mushers with a lot of experience and some without a lot,” Bohannon said. “There’s a range. That’s a nice thing to see.”

In past years, there have been only two divisions: six dog and 12 dog, listed this year officially as six-eight dog and 10-12 dog. A team can race with either six or eight dogs in the former division and 10 or 12 in the latter.

This year, Bohannon and her fellow organizers have added a four-dog division, for which there was one entry as of last week: Rachel Wannamaker of Alberta. Wannamaker will race four miles on Jan. 9 and then four more on Jan. 10 for a two-day race total of eight miles.

The six-eight-dog division participants are slated for 25 miles each day, while the biggest division travels 40 miles each day, for a total of 80. The past two years, Bohannon said, the upper division has traveled 100 miles total. Even at 100 miles, the race was a relative jaunt in the park compared to the 1,161-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.

For more information about the race, Snow Action Sports, Inc., or to purchase Flathead Sled Dog Days merchandise, log on to www.flatheadsleddogdays.com or call (406) 471-4081

[Source: Flathead Beacon]