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Archive for January 8th, 2009

Tarra and Bella, previsited

The special bond between an elephant and a dog in Tennessee has captured the attention of humans — if the number of web hits I’ve been getting since posting Steve Hartman’s CBS News report is any indication.

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been flooded as well — “with high fives and uncounted media offers,” according to its website.

Tarra, an elephant, and Bella, a stray dog the sanctuary took in, have enjoyed each other’s company for years. When Bella suffered a spinal cord injury a few months ago, Tarra — despite having 2,700 acres to roam, stood vigil outside the sanctuary office, where Bella was recuperating.

The CBS report didn’t provide any details of how Bella was injured, but that’s addressed on the sanctuary’s website.

“Since Bella and Tarra’s recent television exposure, a lot of people have asked how the spinal injury happened. When Bella was found in a shallow ravine in the elephant habitat, unable to walk, she was rushed to the veterinary hospital. X-rays revealed that she had sustained a spinal injury. The absence of deep tissue damage and puncture wounds led the veterinarian to surmise that Bella’s spinal injury was the result of an awkward twist, most likely sustained when she was running and jumping over something.”

Also on the website is the video above, filmed before the CBS visit, which we provide for those of you can’t get enough of this inter-species love story.

Are things looking up for dog art?

Art (or more precisely, artists) can take a hit in hard economic times, but dog art — especially of the non-traditional variety — may be escaping the recession’s full impact. In fact, things might even be, like this dog, looking up.

Portraits of cats and dogs have long been a staple, but now “hipper, more affluent pet owners are commissioning more adventurous, less-kitschy portraits that can even find a home on gallery walls,” the Boston Globe reported this week.

“I enjoy trying to catch their personalities or a certain sense of dignity I believe animals have into their portraits,” said Jane O’Hara, who sells prints at www.janeohara.com and donates part of her proceeds to PETA. “It’s quite a thing these days. Pets are big business.”

O’Hara, whose “Dog Looking Up” (acrylic on wood block) is featured above, is one several artists taking part in “Best In Show: Artists and Their Dogs,” an exhibit at Boston’s Brickbottom Gallery.

O’Hara originally painted portraits of people, the article notes, but got tired of “the extra layer of trying to figure out how this person wanted to be seen or how they see themselves.” She’s been painting animals for six or seven years.

The article quotes Brian Henderson, editor of DogBoston.com, as saying many young couples are postponing having children, giving them more attention and disposable income to lavish on their dogs.

Speaking of dog artists, our friend (and designer of our website) Gil Jawetz — painter of dogs and other things — will be part of Talking Heads… Figuratively Speaking, an exhibit opening Saturday at Baltimore’s  Gallery 321, 321 Madison Street. The opening is from 7 to 9 p.m.

(Photo from janeohara.com)

How much was that doggie in the window?

A California man who gave his girlfriend a 3-month-old yellow Lab for Christmas has been taken into custody.

Officials say the dog was stolen — three days before Christmas — from a Stanton pet store.

The theft of the Marley look-alike from Pet City was caught on the store’s surveillance cameras, according to the Orange County Register.

The boyfriend – Ryan Rickman, 23, of Orange – returned to the store with the dog to pay for it Tuesday, but instead was booked into county jail on suspicion of burglary and grand theft, officials said. Later, the puppy was turned over to Rickman’s girlfriend, who ended up paying for her own Christmas gift.

Sheriff’s investigators have identified a second man involved in the theft but have not been able to contact him, said an Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Security video shows two men walking into the store and spending several minutes talking to clerks. After one of the clerks leaves for a lunch break, one of the men distracts the remaining clerk while the other man lifts the puppy from a cage and runs out the door.

Outbreaks close shelter, kennels

Several dogs have died from a rare illness that forced a Brooklyn animal shelter to close for nearly a week, the Associated Press reports.

Animal Care & Control of New York City says the dogs at the Brooklyn shelter are no longer in any danger from contracting the disease known as Strep Zoo. The shelter, closed last week, reopened Monday.

Meanwhile, in Colorado Springs, an outbreak of dog flu citywide has left two dog day care centers temporarily closed. Lucky Dog Resort and Training and Camp Bow Wow both closed their doors to ensure a string of the dog flue was completely cleaned out, according to KRDO-TV.

“If they’re (dogs) around a dog who’s in the contagious period, which is usually the first two to five days of the infection, they can definitely contract it,” said Dr. Susan Bloss of Cheyenne Mountain Animal Hospital.  The dog flu is a respiratory virus with no vaccine. Although it’s rarely fatal, Bloss said, your dog can still get very sick. All it takes is a sneeze from one dog, and a sniff from another to contract it.