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Archive for 'Muttsblog'

Few restaurants comply with official request to stop serving dog meat during Olympics


As the Winter Olympics got underway in PyeongChang, dog meat was still being openly served in most restaurants that offer it, despite attempts by the government to keep a lid on the practice.

The South Korean government had requested restaurants cease the practice and even offered subsidies to those that did, but only two of the 12 restaurants serving dog meat in PyeongChang complied, a county government official told AFP.

A minority of South Koreans still consume dog meat — most commonly in a soup called boshintang — many of them in the belief it leads to increased energy during the hot summer months.

Between 1 and 2 million dogs a year across the country a year are butchered and sold at markets and to restaurants.

Well before the Olympics began, activists stepped up campaigns to ban dog consumption, with protests in Seoul and online petitions urging boycotts.

In PyeongChang, the county government asked the restaurants with dog meat items on the menu to stop serving the food in exchange for subsidies.

“Some of them initially shifted to selling pork or things instead of dog meat only to find their sales plunging sharply. They then switched back to dog meat,” PyeongChang County government official Lee Yong-bae told AFP.

“We’ve faced a lot of complaints from restaurant operators that we are threatening their livelihood,” he said.

Signs advertising dog meat dishes such as boshintang, yeongyangtang or sacheoltang have been replaced with more neutral ones such as yeomsotang (goat soup) to avoid giving “a bad impression to foreigners” during the games, according to Channel News Asia.

South Korean authorities periodically try to persuade restaurants to change their menus or drop signs suggestive of dog meat during major international events hosted by the country, as was the case with the Summer Olympics in Seoul in 1988.

The tradition has declined as the nation increasingly embraces the idea of dogs as pets instead of livestock, and most younger South Koreans avoid it.

A Gangwon province official told The Associated Press there were no plans to relocate dog farms situated near Olympic areas. There is one farm near Pyeongchang; six near Jeongseon, where the downhill skiing course is located; and 10 in Gangnueng, the coastal town that will host events like figure skating and hockey. Gangwon has 196 registered dog farms, though most are closer to Seoul.

While NBC isn’t too likely to be showing us any of the during its Olympics coverage, USA Today provided a fairly expansive report on one such farm today

Hundreds of dogs have been removed from Korean dog farms by Humane Society International and sent to the United States for adoption, including mine, a Jindo named Jinjja.

The group assists the farmers in establishing new careers in exchange for closing down and surrendering their dogs.

duhamel2One Olympic competitor, Canadian figure skater Meagan Duhamel escorted two rescued farm dogs on a flight back to Canada after competing in a qualifying event last year in PyenongChang.

Duhamel adopted one of them, through the group Free Korean Dogs.

“Most of the time, he just wants to sit in everybody’s arms,” Duhamel said of the dachshund mix, named Moo-tae. “He doesn’t even care to play, he just walks up to everybody and wants to be held.”

Duhamel, a silver medalist in Sochi, is hoping to assist in closing a dog farm once the Olympics conclude. She, American skier Gus Kenworthy and American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis have appeared in a public service announcement about the dog meat trade.

Duhamel has arranged to fly home another rescued farm dog when she returns to Canada, so it can be put up for adoption there, according to CBS News.

(Photos: At top, Park Young-ae, owner of Young Hoon Restaurant, arranges dog meats at her restaurant in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Associated Press; photo of Duhamel and Moo-tae, courtesy of Free Korean Dogs)

Chloe 2.0: Woman adopts the dog that her family surrendered when she was a child

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When a Pennsylvania woman saw a pomeranian-poodle mix up for adoption in a Facebook post, the dog reminded her so much of her childhood dog that she decided to look into adopting her.

That’s when she found out it was her childhood dog.

Nicole Grimes said the photo of her dog, reminded of her beloved childhood puppy, named Chloe, who her family surrendered to a shelter seven years ago because she was too “yappy.”

It was until she met the 11-year-old dog, also named Chloe, that she began suspecting the new Chloe might also be the old Chloe.

The dog bounded over to her and began licking her face.

“Then I knew in my heart that she had to be the same dog,” Grimes told the BBC.

Grimes husband was skeptical, but a check of the dog’s microchip determined it was the same Chloe.

grimes2“We couldn’t believe it. It’s just crazy,” Grimes said.

Grimes got Chloe on her tenth birthday — a gift from her grandmother.

Four years later, though, after her father began working at home, he found the dog was too loud. Grimes remembers the day her dad picked her up from school with the dog in the back seat and they drove to the shelter.

Grimes said Chloe is toothless now, but “still loves to run around” and spend time with her four-month-old daughter, Violet.

“They love to play with each other. Chloe is very gentle with Violet and it warms my heart to see them together.”

(Photos: At top, Grimes with Chloe then and with Chloe now; Chloe with Grimes’ daughter, Violet; courtesy of family, via BBC)

Seeking pancakes, dog starts house fire

A house fire in Massachusetts has been blamed on a pancake-seeking golden retriever — and home surveillance footage seems to confirm the dog was the culprit.

Footage from the family’s Nest home monitoring system shows the dog, one of two living in the home, getting up on its hind legs to scarf down some leftover pancakes on top of the stove.

In the process, some items slide off the stove top and the gas stove’s ignition button gets turned on.

A few minutes later a flame can be seen rising from the stove, growing larger. As smoke fills the house, the two dogs can be seen lying on the couch as an alarm sounds and the system alerts emergency responders.

Fortunately, they arrived within minutes and, after the dogs greeted them, proceeded to douse the blaze before too much damage occured.

The Southwick Fire Department posted the footage on its Facebook page last week, the New York Post as a warning to homeowners.

How some dogs came to have floppy ears

It is generally accepted that most species, over time, adapt as the environment in which they live undergoes changes — to the point that their bodies physically alter.

Charles Darwin wrote about it 150 years ago, raising questions about why the once perky, upright ears of certain animals — namely wolves — had evolved to become, often, with domesticated dogs, floppy.

It was subsequently named “domestication syndrome” — the process by which domesticated mammals come to possess heritable traits not seen in their wild progenitors.

But why it happens is still theorized about.

My own theory (and bear in mind, it is coming from a former ape) is that, with dogs, once they started living with humans they no longer needed those alert and upright ears to detect threats; that, just maybe, they found what they more needed was a way to muffle human noise, as that species can be pretty damn loud. So, over time, their ears evolved from being pointy antenna-like sensors to sound-muffling flaps.

Basset hounds and bloodhounds, for example, clearly do not want to hear a single word we have to say.

How, then, would my theory explain the many breeds of dogs that still have pointy ears? Simple: Those are the ones who want to hear everything humans say, most likely because they don’t entirely trust us. (This also explains why cats still have pointy ears.)

As the video above shows, my theory is probably wrong.

It’s from the NPR science show Skunk Bear — which is very good at simplifying science for the increasing number of humans whose attention spans are shortening to the point they require cartoons to understand something.

Cartoons are especially helpful when the explanation involved includes words like “neural crest cells” and “postmigratory embryonic interactions”.

Basically, the latest thinking is that it is a deficiency of neural crest cells — which affect everything from adrenalin to ear cartilage — that is behind the change in appearance in domesticated species.

As Darwin noted, 150 years ago, numerous species with erect ears had become droopy eared after domestication, including “cats in China, horses in parts of Russia, sheep in Italy and elsewhere, the guinea-pig in Germany, goats and cattle in India, rabbits, pigs and dogs in all long-civilized countries.”

All, with domestication, were experiencing a form of erectile dysfunction. Thanks, humans.

“The incapacity to erect the ears,” Darwin concluded, “is certainly in some manner the result of domestication.”

A century later, experiments in the Soviet Union proved Darwin was right on target.

Russian geneticist Dmitry Belyayev took 130 foxes from fur farms and started a breeding program. He started with the tamest foxes and then bred their offspring again and again, always choosing the tamest.

After a few dozen generations, Belyayev’s foxes were totally tame, and becoming more and more floppy eared.

More recent research points to those neural crest cells as the factor.

Does this mean your pointy-eared dog is less tame than its floppy-eared counterpart?

I wouldn’t read that much into it. But I’m often wrong. I’m only human. Perhaps someday another cartoon will come along to give us the answer.

(Photos: John Woestendiek / ohmidog!)

Frankel seeks aide to help promote her dogs

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Bethenny Frankel — entrepreneur, “Real Housewife of New York” and attention who … whoa, don’t say that — is looking to hire an assistant to manage her dogs’ schedules, take photos of them and further propel their fame (and her’s) on social media.

Page Six reports that Frankel placed an online ad seeking an assistant with “thick skin” who would be able to work full time on tasks that would include managing the schedules of her dogs and taking pictures of Frankel and her pets “to provide content for social media.”

It’s not clear from the ad whether all of the duties would be related to her canines.

With some of the described duties for instance — such as “maintain upcoming wardrobe queue,” “coordinate daily looks” and work “onsite with CEOs for glam” — it’s a little fuzzy whether she’s talking about herself or her dogs.

In any case, though, she’s apparently seeking some help to shape up her image. (And what real, limelight-craving person doesn’t need a little of that?) Apparently her 1.6 million Instagram followers — and that doesn’t include her dogs’ accounts — aren’t enough.

Frankel is involved with dog rescue causes, and she had at least three dogs of her own up until October when one died.

frankelCookie, 17, had a seizure, and Frankel made a video of the dog and herself during the crisis and posted it on social media.

That drew some criticism — mostly from people wondering why she was making a video instead of taking the dog to a vet.

The following day, she did, but Cookie died that weekend.

Cookie had her own Instagram account, as do two of her newer dogs, Biggy and Smallz.

Frankel has written several books and launched her own line of “Skinny Girl” meals and beverages. She has also appeared on “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” “Skating with the Stars,” and was the subject of the reality television series “Bethenny Ever After.” Her talk show, “Bethenny,” premiered in 2013 and was canceled in 2014.

(Top photo: Frankel with Biggie and Smallz / Bravo TV; bottom photo, Frankel with Cookie / PEOPLE)

After 38 years in prison, innocent man freed — and gets to bring his dog home, too

At first glance this story made no sense — a man who spent the past 38 years in prison wins his freedom when his innocence is finally proven and is reunited with his dog.

No dog — no matter how loyal to his owner — lives that long.

Turns out though, that Malcolm Alexander came into possession of the dog while serving his sentence at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, a facility which, while it has a reputation as a tough place, offers several dog programs and even breeds its own guard dogs.

Alexander, 58, had been proclaiming his innocence since he was convicted of sexual assault and sent to prison at age 20.

On Tuesday, he was welcomed home by his 82-year-old mother, his son and his grandson – both named Malcolm, and other relatives.

Earlier in the day, A Jefferson Parish judge vacated Alexander’s 1980 aggravated rape conviction and his mandatory life sentence after finding that Alexander had not been provided with adequate legal assistance, and that DNA evidence discovered in 2013 excluded Alexander as a suspect in the sexual assault.

After the ruling, Alexander did not return to the prison, where both his belongings and his dog remained.

innocenceThe next day, he was reunited with the huge black Lab, Nola.com reported.

“You ain’t got nothing to worry about no more,” he told the 9-month-old pup upon reuniting with him. “I told you we gonna be free. I told you they was gonna get us out.”

Alexander’s case was undertaken by The Innocence Project, which helped him gain his freedom.

Alexander had raised the dog since shortly after his birth. He named the dog Innocence, and calls him Inn for short.

Inn was born at the prison to another dog at the facility, according to Vanessa Potkin, an attorney with The Innocence Project.

Potkin and other staffers traveled to Angola Wednesday to retrieve Inn and Alexander’s property and return them to Alexander.

(Photo: Michelle Hunter \ NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Sunday’s Puppy Bowl XIV will feature dogs left homeless by hurricanes

tylerThis Sunday’s Puppy Bowl will feature adoptable dogs who were left homeless by natural disasters.

This year, Animal Planet is featuring pups rescued from areas that were devastated by natural disasters last year in Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida, and Mexico.

The network worked with 48 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from 26 U.S. states in putting together the teams for this year’s big game, which will feature the most pups in Puppy Bowl history.

About half of them were victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters who ended up in shelters and rescues — like Tyler (above), who was left homeless by Hurricane Harvey.

Puppy Bowl XIV will air on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. Sunday.

It will also include some special need dogs, like Ryder, a sight-impaired husky; Chance, a deaf dalmatian; Moonshine, a sight-impaired and deaf border collie; and Luna, a Pomeranian mix with a cleft palate.

On Saturday at 8 p.m., Animal Planet will air its first Dog Bowl, featuring more mature dogs in need of homes.

You can learn more about the program, view starting lineups at the Animal Planet website.