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Archive for May 19th, 2009

Dog-o-matic: The doggie washing machine

An entrepreneur in France has introduced the “Dog-o-Matic,” a laundromat-style machine that washes and dries a dog in about a half hour.

Romain Jarry, 31, says the device has been a hit in his home town of St. Max, and insists it’s neither cruel nor harmful to dogs, according to China Daily.

He charges about $20 for a small load, $33 for a medium-sized one, and $47 for super-sized.

“It doesn’t take long to wash the dog – usually a few minutes,” Jarry said. “The longest part is the drying. The dogs don’t seem to get bored. They just sit there and they come out clean. We are really hoping it will take off and that other places will start buying in the machines.”

Jarry said he hopes to make the machines available in England within the next year, but admits it may take time for people to get used to the idea.

Afraid we have to give this one — convenient as it might be — a big paws down.

“Service dogs for those who’ve served us”

In case you missed it, Glenn Close gave viewers of the Oprah Winfrey show an inside look last week at Puppies Behind Bars, and that organization’s latest initiative — providing service dogs for wounded veterans.

Under the new program — “Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us” — prison inmates train and raise puppies to become service and therapy dogs for wounded veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“It’s totally a win-win situation,” said Close “On one hand, the inmates … are given a chance to give back to society and learn invaluable skills that will prove vital if they ever re-enter life outside prison. On the other, wounded soldiers are given a chance to rebuild their shattered lives — to be released from the prison of their wounds. What unites both inmate and soldier is the love, loyalty and talent of a Puppies Behind Bars dog…”

FetchDog, a Portland-based pet supply company Close helped start and writes a blog for, is helping support the program by donating $1 from the sale of each of its new “Chewy Shoe” dog toys. Vibram Pet Products, which manufactures the toy, will also donate a dollar of each sale to the cause, according to a press release.

The toy is available for purchase at FetchDog.com

Puppies Behind Bars was founded in 1997 to raise guide dogs for the blind. Since then it has worked with prison inmates to train explosive detection dogs and dogs to assist the disabled and autistic.

Mulch law gets buried in Minnesota

Minnesota’s legislature was on the verge of passing a simple little law — requiring retailers to post signs warning consumers that cocoa mulch can be fatal to dogs — when the governor stepped in and vetoed it.

Why? Because, he said, it was an example of “legislative overreach.”

“I share the goal that we should take reasonable precautions to protect our pets,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote. “However, it is unreasonable to ask all retailers to post signs at the point of purchase for such products.

“A better approach would be to require manufacturers to post warning labels on the products themselves, where necessary and appropriate. We should also supplement efforts to protect our pets by raising public awareness regarding products that are potentially harmful to them.”

The law, nicknamed “Moose’s Law” for a chocolate Lab who died after ingesting cocoa bean shell mulch, was authored by state Sen. Scott Dibble. It would have required businesses selling the mulch to post signs, warning that the product is potentially poisonous to pets, and advising them to contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center if a pet eats it.

Moose belonged to Terry and Dawn Hall who moved to Minneapolis from Atlanta, and laid down the mulch while landscaping their yard in the summer of 2007.

“The package said it was organic,” Terry Hall says. “It was nice and dark, and we thought that would look really good.”

A couple of days later, on a boat on the St. Croix River, they threw a Frisbee into the water for Moose to retrieve. He dove in and never came up. They spotted his body floating beneath the surface of the water.

Learn more about cocoa bean shell mulch here.