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Archive for January 7th, 2009

Heeeeeeeere’s Ed McMahon’s dog

TMZ, and virtually all other entertainment news websites by now, are reporting that Ed McMahon and his wife Pamela “sicked (sic) a vicious attack poodle” on a process server that knocked on their door.

According to the reports, when the process server on Saturday attempted to hand legal papers to McMahon’s wife, Pamela, she released the standard poodle, which bit him on his right knee.

The L.A. County Department of Animal Control confirmed the process server did have a dog bite on his right knee and that it was investigating the incident.

McMahon’s spokesman said of the incident, “Dog bites man is not news. Call me back when it’s man bites dog.”

McMahon and his wife have seven dogs — or at least that’s how many they had last year when their Wheaton Terrier, Gus, was featured on an episode of “The Dog Whisperer” on the National Geographic Channel.

In the November 2007 episode, Millan helps the McMahon’s tackle Gus’s problem of biting people without provocation. Gus, a rescue dog, had developed some severe aggression toward Ed’s assistants and any guests that came to call.

So we have four questions: Do you “sick” or “sic” a dog on someone? Did McMahon’s wife actually do that, or is that typical TMZ hype? Might it have actually been Gus the Wheaton, as opposed to an unnamed standard poodle, that bit the paper server? And, if so, might another visit from the Dog Whisperer be in order?

You can see a video of the episode here.

(Photo of Millan walking McMahon’s dog, Gus, the dog on the left, from the National Geographic Channel)

Down Fido: Dogs names getting more human

Classic dog names — like Fido, Lassie, Rover and Spot –are continuing to fall out of use, replaced by more human monikers, according to the annual pet name survey by Veterinary Pet Insurance.

The nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance has again analyzed its database of more than 466,000 insured pets to find the most popular dog and cat names.

In 2008, VPI reports, Max, Bailey, Bella, Molly and Lucy were the most popular dog names. It was the sixth straight year Max has topped the list.

Only 13 dogs in VPI’s database went by Fido in 2008, placing the name at No. 2,866. Rover came in at No. 2,534.

In fact, VPI says, the list of most common dog names is beginning to look a lot like the list of most common baby names. Some of the most popular dog names — Bella, Chloe, Sophie and Bailey – also rank among the Social Security Administration’s most popular baby names.

Marley, we were surprised to see, didn’t make the top 10; maybe next year.

“Pets are often viewed as members of the family, treated like members of the family and, as a result, named like members of the family,” said Curtis Steinhoff, senior director of corporate communications for VPI. “Max may sleep on his owner’s bed, eat gourmet food and wear clothes to go out on the town. Rover probably does not.”

Since last year’s results, the most notable increase in any name has been Bailey, which was No. 9 in 2007. Other changes in 2008 include the addition of Sophie (No. 9) and Chloe (No. 10). Jake and Rocky fell off the list.

To view more names on the uncommon end of the list, visit www.wackypetnames.com. As for the most popular names, here are the lists.

      Dogs                    Cats
    1. Max                 1. Max
    2. Bailey               2. Chloe
    3. Bella                 3. Tigger
    4. Molly                4. Tiger
    5. Lucy                 5. Lucy
    6. Buddy               6. Smokey
    7. Maggie             7. Oliver
    8. Daisy                8. Bella
    9. Sophie              9. Shadow
    10. Chloe             10. Charlie

(Photo from pawpottery.com)

“1 dog died get another 1?”

One cool thing about running your own website — in addition to the fame, fortune, respect, freebies, groupies and the tingly feeling my elbows get from typing so much — is that through the use of a program called Google Analytics, I get to see not just how many people are stopping by, but where you are from, how long you stay, and what’s on your minds.

I can ascertain with but a few clicks, for instance, that 1,498 of you visited Monday, perusing 1,978 pages; that more than 2,000 of you graced us with your presence yesterday. I also know what towns and states you came from, and what led you here. Don’t worry, though, I can’t see into your bedrooms.

Many of you are led here by search engines. Yesterday, for example, 14 ended up here after Googling “dog and elephant,” two after Googling “dog walking in Baltimore,” two by Googling “Biden dog.”

But there was one that landed here after typing in these words: “1 dog died get another 1?”

Abbreviated as the query was, it made me think. Here was a person, I assumed, undergoing some pain and confusion — someone who, on the one hand, was willing to research the dilemma life had thrown at them, and who wanted to do the right thing. On the other hand, I worried, here was a person who might accept the first answer that came up on Google.

We’re becoming a society that thinks our home computers hold all the answers. Maybe, by now, they do. But knowing as I do that what shows up first in search engine results isn’t always the best — that the cream doesn’t always rise to the top — I worry that some of us put a little too much faith in Google, Yahoo and the like.

Like I imagined this woman was doing, when it came to the decision on whether to get a new dog. Maybe she asked a friend or two for advice, maybe it was conflicting. So she turned to what we all turn to nowadays: Tell me, in my hour of need, almighty Internet Search Engine, what should I do? Read more »

Dogs protect penguins on Australian island

Sheepdogs have proved such perfect guardians for a colony of penguins on a small island off the south coast of Australia that conservationists are suggesting canines can be recruited to safeguard other endangered animals

The project uses Maremmas, a breed of sheepdog from Italy that bond with flocks and protects them from predators, The Earth Times reports.

“We are now starting to see some great results,” said Middle Island Maremma Project manager Ian Fitzgibbons. “We have had our best penguin count since we began in 2006 with over 80 birds counted in one night and I think we have about 26 chicks on the island too.”

The numbers of penguins had fallen from 5,000 to just 100 before the Maremmas were recruited.

Fitzgibbon said the project had sparked interest around the globe.

The Maremma idea was suggested by a concerned community member, Alan ‘Swampy’ Marsh, a local free range chicken farmer who has successfully used the Maremma breed to protect his chickens from fox predation.

(Photo courtesy of Victoria Department of Sustainability and Environment)