Archive for 'Muttsblog'
A dream decades in the making — one that is said to date back to the early 1900’s and a dog who rode a streetcar to deliver lunch to his owner — became a shiny new reality yesterday.
The Forsyth Humane Society opened its new shelter on Country Club Road in Winston-Salem — one with double the old shelter’s capacity, lots of space for dogs to romp and more than 10 times as much parking.
Even so, the new parking lot was overflowing within an hour of the grand opening — and FHS reported on its Facebook page that 26 dogs were adopted before the day ended.
The landmark day began with a flag raising, and saw a non-stop stream of visitors — some there to adopt, some there to check out what, thanks to a $3.8 million fundraising drive, the humane society had turned a former seafood restaurant into.
For 75 years, the Forsyth Humane Society has acted as an advocate for unwanted and uncared for dogs and cats.
It owes its start to money left in a will by Lydia Schouler for the purposes of establishing a fund in the name of her husband, department store owner D.D. Schouler, that would help prevent cruelty to animals.
The Schoulers wanted to honor the memory of their dog, who would catch a streetcar every day to bring Mr. Schouler his lunch.
The facility is the third to house the Forsyth Humane Society, which first took up residence in an old house, then built and moved into a larger building on Miller Street in the 1980’s.
They soon found themselves cramped there, and about five years ago began looking at raising funds needed for a new shelter.
“This has been a dream of the Forsyth Humane Society for decades,” Sarah Williamson, the center’s executive director, told the Winston-Salem Journal.
The new shelter has space for up to 100 animals. There’s a new, more accessible intake center, storage space for food donations and a gift shop named “Re-Tail,” that features Forsyth Humane Society labeled clothing.
It is named in honor of two more dogs, bassett hounds Franklin and Peabody Morykwas, whose owners, Chris and Mike Morykwas, helped fund expansion of the old building and construction of the new one.
It’s intriguing how so many of the good things done for dogs can be traced back to dogs — and the inspiration they provide.
It is to me at least. That’s one of the reasons I’m teaming up with the Forsyth Humane Society, in a volunteer capacity, to serve as their historian and archivist.
As it steps into the future, I’m going to dig up what I can about its past.
You’re invited to help. Please contact me if you have any documents, memorabilia, scrapbook entries, memories and reminiscences about its history — especially its early years, and that lunch-toting dog.
The email address is email@example.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal welfare, animals, archivist, bus, cats, d.d. schouler, dd schouler, dogs, dream, facility, forsyth humane society, future, historian, lunch, lydia schouler, morykwas, new, north carolina, opening, opens, past, pets, rescues, shelter, shelters, streetcar, true, winston salem foundation, winston-salem
If you notice ohmidog! has a slightly different look as of today, it’s because I’ve purged the site of advertising.
Except for a brief period when I first fired this website up, eight years ago, advertising has never brought in enough money to cover expenses.
That was the plan, but I never invested much effort in it. And what little effort I did put into it — much like my efforts at “search engine optimization” — was not an enjoyable use of time.
Life is too short to spend it wooing Google.
So, as of today, ohmidog! — while still planning to dazzle you daily, and remain your most trusted source of dog news — takes another step away from being a business, and another step closer to being a hobby.
That said, we are forever grateful to those advertisers that have been with us from the start and helped get us off the ground. We’re hoping the fact that we haven’t charged you for four years makes up for the abrupt break up.
I’ve come to the realization that I’m not a businessman; I’m more of a storyteller. And while the two can mix, I’m not good at mixing them.
Of course, I will still advertise myself (as any self-respecting blogger must) and tout from time to time the words I string together.
Those mentions — and who knows what else — will now move to the right side rail. (The ad for Bark magazine, as I sometimes write for them, falls under that category.)
All those shelters, humane societies, rescue organizations, animal advocates and doggy do-gooders that do what they do for something other than profit are now on the left side rail.
(There’s room for more. If your group would like its logo to appear there, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
There is, of course no charge for that and, as promised long ago, there will continue to be no charge to read our daily posts, no registration required, no annoying pop-ups, no hidden links and no advertising disguised as editorial content.
If you’d like to donate to ohmidog’s continuing operation, I won’t stop you. But I won’t twist your arm, either, and I promise we won’t have a week-long fundraising drive — at least not yet.
A business professor at American University is using dogs to help students overcome their fear of public speaking and hone their oratorical skills.
Bonnie Auslander, the director of the Kogod Center for Business Communications, started the program on a trial basis last year, pairing anxiety-prone business school students with patient canine listeners.
The thinking behind it is similar to that of programs around the country in which much younger students read to dogs to gain confidence in their reading skills.
“Addressing a friendly and nonjudgmental canine can lower blood pressure, decrease stress and elevate mood — perfect for practicing your speech or team presentation,” says the program’s promotional material.
For now, evidence of the benefits is mostly anecdotal, reports the New York Times.
With therapy dogs arriving on campus regularly during finals, Auslander got the idea to use dogs as a practice audience and she recruited six dogs with calm personalities.
They included Teddy, a Jack Russell terrier, and Ellie, a Bernese mountain dog.
We think it’s a great idea — assuming the dogs are willing to put up with all those speeches. On top of gaining confidence, students can learn the importance of inflecting their voices and gesturing to hold audience attention — though treats are proving to work better than either of those.
Auslander joked about having “an audience cat program some day that will be for speakers who are overconfident and need to be taken down a peg. The cats will turn away and lick their paws.”
Although we feel a little sorry for them, we wish the best to those dogs taking part in the program. And having had our own issues with public speaking, we wish great success to those students taking part.
We’re confident they will get their MBA’s and become great orators — identifiable only by their tendency to throw Milk Bones to their audiences.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 22nd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: american university, animals, anxiety, attention, bonnie auslander, confidence, dog, dogs, gestures, inflections, kogod center for business communications, oratory, pets, presentations, program, public speaking, reading, speaking, students, treats
The Olympics provide us regular folks with a lot of inspiration — whether it’s to chase a big dream, get off the couch and start exercising a little bit, or simply come up with a name for a new dog.
Meet Leah Smith, a pit bull mix at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society who has been named after the gold medal-winning swimmer from Mount Lebanon, Pa.
Leah Smith, the human, returned home this week with a gold medal for the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay and a bronze medal for the 400-meter freestyle.
And one of the first things she did was meet Leah Smith, the dog.
The humane society posted these photos of the meeting — during which the dog got to try on the Olympian’s medals — on its Facebook page
KDKA in Pittsburgh reports that the one-year-old pit bull came to the humane society as a stray.
Given how often they have to name dogs, it’s not surprising that an animal shelter would turn to athletes, historical figures, or names in the headlines, for some fresh and innovative monikers.
I haven’t fully researched it — because I’m on the couch, watching the Olympics — but I’m sure that over the years plenty of dogs have been named after Olympic athletes.
There are bound to have been both canines and felines who went through life named Carl Lewis, Peggy Fleming, Greg Lougainis, Mary Lou Retton and Nadia Comaneci. There is bound to have been a spitz or two named Mark.
This year, the possibilities are pretty endless — given all the U.S. winners, and all those who captured our hearts without winning.
(On the other hand, you might want to hold off a few days on naming your dog Ryan Lochte.)
Still, there are plenty of good names available. It’s just a matter of picking the appropriate one.
Michael Phelps, or Katie Ledecky (or, if you prefer, Lickedy) would work for a water-loving dog, like a retriever or Newfoundland. Simone Biles would be a fitting name for a Jack Russell terrier or other acrobatic breed.
While it’s a lot of syllables, Dalilah Muhammad (gold medal winner for the 400 meter hurdles) might make a good name for an ultra-agile border collie; and what greyhound or whippet wouldn’t appreciate being called Usain Bolt?
Personally, my idols have more often come from the world of journalism — even though journalists, according to Donald Trump, are “the lowest form of life.”
I’m thinking of naming my next dog Morley, after Morley Safer. That would allow me to write a book called “Morley and Me.” I also have a name picked out for his sister: Leslie.
As for Leah, the pit bull mix, she goes up for adoption tomorrow.
(Photos: Western Pennsylvania Humane Society)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 19th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2016, adopt, adoptable, adoption, animals, athletes, dog, dog names, dogs, gold medals, inspiration, katie ledecky, leah smith, michael phelps, mount lebanon, names, naming, olympian, olympics, pets, rescues, rio, shelters, swimmer, swimming, western pennsylvania humane society
A study at Emory University suggests that dogs aren’t strictly the food-obsessed beasts they’ve traditionally been seen as — and that many, maybe even most, prefer attention and praise over a chewy treat.
While only 13 dogs participated in the study, there were only two of them who — judging from their neural reactions — showed a distinct preference for food over praise.
The study, published in the journal Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, is one of the first to combine brain-imaging data with behavioral experiments to explore what kind of rewards canines prefer.
“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it’s mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory and lead author of the research.
“Out of the 13 dogs that completed the study, we found that most of them either preferred praise from their owners over food, or they appeared to like both equally. Only two of the dogs were real chowhounds, showing a strong preference for the food.”
Berns heads the Dog Project in Emory’s Department of Psychology. It was the first to train dogs to voluntarily enter a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner and remain motionless during scanning, without restraint or sedation.
Their previous research using the technique identified the ventral caudate region of the canine brain as a reward center and showed that region responds more strongly to the scents of familiar humans than to the scents of other humans, or even to those of familiar dogs.
Phys.org reports that, in the new study, researchers trained the dogs to associate three different objects with different outcomes. A pink toy truck signaled a food reward; a blue toy knight signaled verbal praise from the owner; and a hairbrush signaled no reward, to serve as a control.
The dogs then were tested on the three objects while in an fMRI machine. Each dog underwent 32 trials for each of the three objects as their neural activity was recorded.
Four of the dogs showed a particularly strong activation for the stimulus that signaled praise from their owners. Nine of the dogs showed similar neural activation for both the praise stimulus and the food stimulus. And two of the dogs consistently showed more activation when shown the stimulus for food.
Berns says the findings run counter to the old view that dogs “just want food and their owners are simply the means to get it … Another, more current, view of their behavior is that dogs value human contact in and of itself.”
In another part of the study, dogs were put into a Y-shaped maze in which one path led to a bowl of food and the other path to the dog’s owner.
The dogs were repeatedly released into the room and allowed to choose one of the paths.
While most dogs alternated between the food and their owner, dogs who showed a greater response to praise in the first part of experiment chose to go to their owners 80 to 90 percent of the time.
Berns said the study “shows the importance of social reward and praise to dogs. It may be analogous to how we humans feel when someone praises us.”
(Photos: At top, Kady, a Lab-retriever mix in the study who preferred praise from her owner to food; at bottom, Ozzie, a shorthaired terrier mix who chose food over his owner’s praise / Emory University)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 18th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attention, behavior, brain, canine, dogs, emory university, experiment, fmri, food, gregory berns, humans, imaging, love, motivation, mri, pats, pets, praise, responses, rewards, science, study, training, treats, ventral caudate
The consumption of dog meat may be slowly going out of style in South Korea, but its neighbor to the north is encouraging it.
North Korea’s government since late June has been urging citizens to eat more dog meat, or as leader Kim Jong-un has labeled it, “superfood.”
Media outlets in the country have produced multiple stories this summer about the health benefits of dishes made with dog meat — some of which have even touted the culinary benefits of beating dogs to death before butchering them.
According to the Korea Times in South Korea, the broadcasts have touted dog meat as “stamina food” and “the finest medicine” — especially during the summer.
“There’s an old saying that even a slice of dangogi can be good medicine during the dog days,” reported the Tongil Voice, a North Korean radio broadcast. “Dangogi is the finest of all medicines, especially during the dog days when the weather is scorching.”
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS), also a radio network, introduced culinary competitions in Pyongyang last month in which contestants made stew, broiled dishes and other recipes using dog meat.
DPRK Today, a propaganda outlet on YouTube, proclaimed in June that dog meat has more vitamins than chicken, pork, beef and duck and is also good for the intestines and stomach.
It also said a dog should be beaten to death before it is butchered for better taste.
Some observers believe Kim is preparing citizens for hard times ahead. On top of a heat wave that has forced the government to close some businesses, recent reductions in the state-controlled handouts have “severely threatened” much of the nation from getting enough to eat, according to an Amnesty International report.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 17th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, campaign, consumption, dog, dog meat, dogs, dprk, eating dog, encourages, government, health, heat, hunger, kim jong-un, leader, meat, north korea, nutrition, pets, propaganda, restaurants, soup, south korea, summer, urges
Nature tends to run its own course, just as technology that attempts to control nature tends to run its.
The results, when unforeseen possibilities are thrown into the mix, aren’t always pretty.
The depiction above is by one Jesse Newton, showing what happened on a recent night when nature ran its course, via his dog Evie, and then his trusty Roomba, programmed to clean up all the hair Evie sheds, ran its.
That zig-zagging, curly-cued brown trail recreates the stained path the Roomba left in the Newton’s living room in Arkansas after rolling through a pile of Evie’s poop.
But on this night, somebody forgot to do that.
As everyone slept — Jesse, wife Kelly and son Evan — the robot vacuum did what it is programmed to do every night between midnight and 1:30 a.m.: Roll all across every inch of the living room floor sucking up any debris in its path.
The results were disastrous, Jesse noted in a now-viral Facebook post that warns other Roomba/dog owners of a possibility they might not have envisioned:
“… Poop over every conceivable surface within its reach, resulting in a home that closely resembles a Jackson Pollock poop painting. It will be on your floorboards. It will be on your furniture legs. It will be on your carpets. It will be on your rugs. It will be on your kids’ toy boxes. If it’s near the floor, it will have poop on it. Those awesome wheels, which have a checkered surface for better traction, left 25-foot poop trails all over the house.”
What had happened during the night came to his attention when his young son traipsed through the living room and crawled into bed with him the next morning.
He gave his son a bath and put him back to bed, then he spent the next three hours cleaning, including shampooing the carpet.
Kelly Newton says she awoke to the smell of “every cleaning product we own” and knew “something epic had taken place.”
Later, Jesse disassembled the Roomba, cleaning its parts and reassembling it, only to find it didn’t work anymore.
Jesse said he called the store where he had purchased the $400 robot, Hammacher Schlemmer, and it promised to replace it.
I’ve railed before about rushing into new technologies that promise to give us control over nature, wrote a whole book on it, in fact. Those pushing such innovations and rushing them onto the market — most often for the profit they might lead to — often don’t take the time to envision all the little things, and big things, that could go wrong.
That haste can lead to far worse things than a stinky mess and a three-hour clean-up.
We can laugh at this one, as Jesse Newton has admirably managed to do.
But, beneath all the mess, there’s a moral to the story — one that, as we turn to robots for more than vacuuming our floors, we might want to slow down and figure out.
(Photos: Jesse Newton / Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 16th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amok, animals, arkansas, control, controlling nature, convenience, devices, dog, dog poop, dogs, environment, evie, facebook, future, humans, jesse newton, nature, pets, poop, robot, robotics, roomba, technology, vacuum, warning