No longer do those of us who like to watch our dogs catch treats in mid-air have to go to all the effort of tossing them.
New from Purina, Beggin’ Party Poppers have hit the market — bacon and cheese-flavored treats that come in a canister with a lid that resembles a pig face.
Push in the pig’s nose, place a treat inside and, in a matter of seconds, the treat will be popped into the air for your dog to catch.
Sure, it may be easier to just toss the treat yourself, not to mention more of a bonding experience with your dog. But why bother with that when, for $18.97, you can let the canister launch a dog treat skyward for you?
That’s the price listed for the product — treats and canister — on Amazon. A refill bag of treats, meanwhile — and we hope this is a mistake — is listed at $26.86 on Amazon. Other online sources have the refills in the $6-7 range. You can learn more at www.pighead.com.
It seems, at first glance, an over-priced little gimmick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it evolve, perhaps into an app that allows you to shoot your dog a treat while sitting in your workplace cubicle, or a self-loading version that shoots out a treat every hour for dogs left home alone.
Imagine that. Your dog, if he’s anything like mine, would spend 59 minutes of each hour staring at the machine, one minute of each chasing, catching and eating the treat. Dogs would begin to worship the treat machine even more than they do us. They’d sleep next to the treat machine. They’d bark at anyone who threatened the treat machine. They’d follow the treat machine — once a moving version, like those robo-vacuum cleaners, was perfected — everywhere it went.
And we’d have nothing to do but lay alone in our cold beds and look at our arms, grown flabby after we stopped tossing treats ourselves.
Yes, we’re stretching to make a point, but, propelled by technology, the pet industry does seem to be going in that direction — coming out with products that make it easier than ever for us to pamper our dogs while ignoring them.
Purina’s treat-launching pig is a harmless novelty, kind of fun, and it still requires a human’s involvement to work.
But with automatic feeders already a reality, automatic treat dispensers can’t be too far behind. Once automatic ball tossers and automatic ear scratchers hit the market, we dog-owning humans could find ourselves out of a job.
It’s nice for our dogs to stay occupied, but we shouldn’t turn too much of that job over to machines and robots.
That will only make our dogs, and us, more robot-like.
Posted: March 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bacon, beggin', beggin' party poppers, canister, catch, cheese, convenience, dog, dog food, dog treats, dogs, industry, launch, market, marketing, new, pets, pig, pig head, poppers, products, purina, throw, treats
A homeowner’s association at Paradise Lakes Resort doesn’t have weight limits when it comes to human residents, and we guess that’s a good thing — even though the condo community is a clothing-optional one.
But the association’s rules run a little stricter for dogs, including one that bans any dogs over 25 pounds — apparently even when it’s a guide dog that belongs to a legally blind resident of the nudist community.
By now you’ve probably guessed that this can only be happening in Florida, specifically in Lutz, where a homeowner’s association has told Sharon Fowler she needs to get rid of her black Labrador, Laura, or move out, according to a lawsuit.
Fowler filed a lawsuit against the association last year. It was dismissed by one judge, but now that dismissal has been overturned by an appeals court, and Fowler has renewed her fight to keep the dog she says she can’t get around without.
“She helps me to get around curbs and obstacles,” Fowler told the Tampa Bay Times. “She’s 100 percent necessary to me. She’s my lifeline.”
According to a lawsuit filed last year, Fowler received a letter from the association telling her to get rid of the dog or move out.
The association said the dog violated their weight limits — something that wasn’t pointed out when Fowler filled out an application, disclosing the dog’s weight, when she moved in.
Even when Fowler provided documentation of her disability, the association did not withdraw the notice of the violations, according to the lawsuit.
“I felt demeaned, and I felt degraded,” Fowler said. “I’ve never felt so degraded.”
Her lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages for mental anguish.
“It’s the principle of the fact,” Fowler’s husband, Craig, said. “The board needs to know they cannot bully us around.”
Fowler says she has been told to only walk the dog in specific areas, and stay out of the way of pedestrians. She’s also been told her dog is out of control, which she says is not the case.
“My dog is a highly trained service animal,” she said.
“Paradise Lakes Resort does not discriminate against any person with physical disabilities and does not prevent any person with service animals from visiting the resort,” owner Jerry Buchanan said.
Fowler’s accusations were directed at a homeowners condominium association not connected with the resort.
Fowler says she has a rare autoimmune disease called leukocytoclastic vasculitis, which has already affected her sight and could affect her hearing.
She doesn’t want to move because she has learned her way around Paradise Lakes, and appreciates being able to live in a clothing optional community.
(Photo: Fowler and Laura; by Brendan Fitterer / Tampa Bay Times)
Posted: February 28th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assistance dogs, association, black lab, blind, clothing, clothing optional, community, condo, dog, dogs, florida, guide dog, lab, labrador, laura, lawsuit, legally blind, lutz, nudist colony, nudists, nudity, paradise lakes resort, pets, rules, service dogs, weight limits
I don’t remember seeing this Doritos ad during the Super Bowl. Maybe it came later in the game, after the outcome was clear and I tuned out, which as I recall was shortly after the first snap.
Had I seen it, I would have squawked in a more timely manner, because — even though fans chose it as a favorite — I do not like it at all.
Dog riding, like dogfighting and dog racing, is cruel.
And even though special effects were used in this depiction of a kid saddling up on the family mastiff — so he can beat his brother to the bag of Doritos — it sends a bad message to kids (and grown-ups) who don’t know any better.
The ad was one of five finalists chosen in the Crash the Super Bowl ad contest, in which Doritos invites the public to submit their home-made Doritos ads and awards $1 million to the winning commerical.
The “Cowboy Kid” ad came in second, but that was enough to win its creator, Amber Gill, a 34-year-old vocal coach from California, $25,000, a trip to the Super Bowl and a movie contract — and a little criticism from animal welfare types.
Both “Cowboy Kid” and the winning fan-made commercial, “Time Machine,” aired during the Super Bowl and were viewed by an estimated 100 million viewers, minus those who gave up on the big game early on.
Still, given a few of those 100 million are likely stupid or naive enough to try this at home — as any regular reader of this website knows – I’d have to side with those who are complaining about the ad. While making it didn’t involve any dog being ridden, it’s irresponsible ad-making.
Gill told the Orange County Register the idea was inspired by her owns sons, aged 3 and 1, meaning — we’re pretty sure — the sibling rivalry aspect, as opposed to the dog-riding one.
So we’ll have to give this ad a failing grade, and point out — because, unfortunately, it’s not entirely needless to say — don’t try this at home.
If junior needs to get his cowboy on, we’d suggest a saw horse, or daddy’s back. Otherwise, that crunch you hear might not be Doritos.
(To see more of our Woof in Advertising posts, click here.)
Posted: February 27th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, children, commercials, cowboy, cowboy kid, crash the super bowl, dangerous, dogs, dogs in advertising, doritos, marketing, pets, riding dogs, safety, super bowl, super bowl ads, woof in advertising
A walk-on has joined the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training in Arizona, and there’s a good chance he may go back to Milwaukee with them — as a mascot.
A small stray dog who appears to be a bichon frise, or mix thereof, wandered on to the team’s complex Feb. 17, with an injured tail and other signs he might have been hit by a car.
After team employees took him to a veterinarian for a checkup and a bath, he was brought back to the stadium and has been there almost every day since.
They’ve named him Hank, after baseball great Hank Aaron, who began his career in Milwaukee.
“Yeah, he’s making a pretty big impact, which I’ve got to say is pretty cool,” pitcher Yovani Gallardo told Newsday.
Believed to be around 2 years old, Hank was assigned No. 1 for his team jersey, and team reports about him on social media have made a local celebrity.
The team has posted signs in the area reporting the found dog, but no owner has stepped forward yet, and different members of the Brewer’s organization are vying for a chance to adopt him.
Team owner Mark Attanasio said his wife wants to adopt the dog, and some players have voiced a desire to keep him on the roster and have him travel with the team. “We want to do what’s right for the team,” Attanasio said. “I think he’s really an asset.”
Meanwhile, staff members are taking turns housing Hank for the evening.
During the day he watches practice from the stands at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, or from the dugout, and sometimes he takes to the field.
“Most of the guys here I’m sure we all have dogs back home and not everyone can bring em out because were out were working, pitcher Gallardo told Fox 10 News in Phoenix, “but to have this little guy out here running around with us it’s fun, spring training gets long and this makes us enjoy it a little more.”
(Photos: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)
Posted: February 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, arizona, baseball, bichon frise, brewers, dog, dogs, hank, hank aaron, major league, maryvale baseball park, mascot, milwaukee, milwaukee brewers, mix, pets, phoenix, practice, rescue, spring training, stadium, stray, wandering
For the second time in less than a year, someone is scattering what are suspected to be poisoned meatballs in a San Francisco neighborhood in an apparent attempt to murder dogs.
A San Francisco animal control officer Saturday found 34 meatballs scattered around the Twin Peaks neighborhood, where a similar incident occurred last year.
The meatballs were placed along curbs and in hedges and bushes, where they’re more likely to be sniffed out by dogs and less likely to be spotted by humans.
“These were incredibly well-hidden,” Lt. Denise BonGiovanni said.
An animal control officer was sent to search the area near Crestline Drive and Parkridge Drive Saturday after a resident called Friday to report finding fragments of suspicious meatballs.
The officer found 34 pieces of raw meat containing something solid. A 35th ball of meat was turned over to the officer by a resident who picked it up before her dog could eat it, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The meatballs have been turned over to the San Francisco Police Department for testing.
“They look very similar to the ones found last year,” BonGiovanni said.
Last July, a 7-year-old dachshund died and another dog was sickened after eating meatballs the police believe were filled with strychnine.
No arrest was made in the case.
Since last week’s incident, the city’s Animal Care and Control staff have posted more than 50 warning signs in the neighborhood. Residents of the neighborhood are being advised to keep their pets inside, or keep them on a short leash when walking.
“If your dog picks up anything and starts to eat it, I wouldn’t waste time, I would take it to a vet,” BonGiovanni said. “We haven’t confirmed it’s poison but it’s not worth taking chances.”
San Francisco police are asking anyone with information that could help the investigation to call their anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444.
(Photo: Provided by San Francisco Police Department)
Posted: February 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: analysis, animal control, animals, crestline, dogs, health, hidden, investigation, meatballs, neighborhood, officer, parkridge, pets, poison, safety, san francisco, scattered, strychnine, tests, twin peaks, warning
Sure, a $50,000 sport utility vehicle can help you find women.
But not as good as a dog can.
In this Range Rover ad, an unnaturally handsome man finds a scarf, lets his dog sniff it, then follows in his Baroque — through winding streets, around various urban obstacles and even down some stairs — as the dog tracks down the owner.
The carmaker says the ad showcases the “contemporary design and extraordinary versatility” of the Range Rover Baroque, but we think the dog wins out, at least in the latter category.
The commercial, entitled “The Scent,” was filmed in Girona and Barcelona, and its tagline is, “Cut a path through civilization.”
Not to give away the ending, but the dog finds the scarf’s owner, and, miracle of miracles, it’s an unnaturally beautiful woman.
We think the ad would have been better if it were a wrinkly, 99-year-old great grandma, who was missing her babushka. Or better yet, if the camera showed the dog running toward a beautiful young woman, then past her to deliver the scarf back to the great grandma.
While some of its models have shrunk, the Range Rover still has a bit of an image as a big, road-hogging, view-blocking gas guzzler (though the Baroque averages 23 miles per gallon and is much less offensive than, say, a Humvee).
Given that image, the ad could have used a little more humor, a little less hubris – of the “I-can-drive-my-big-imposing-car-anywhere-I-want” category.
Needless to say, don’t try this at home, whether home is Barcelona or Brooklyn. Roving the range is one thing; roving urban sidewalks and steps quite another.
One must be careful not to mow down pedestrians when cutting a path through civilization, which, by the way, already provides us with paths for cars.
They’re called roads.
Posted: February 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, automobiles, barcelona, baroque, big cars, cars, civilization, commercials marketing, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, girona, humvee, image, media, pets, range rover, road, scarf, sniff, sport utility vehicle, stairs, steps, streets, suv, the scent, woman, woof in advertising
With help from an Olympic luger, Twitter and a dog who is at least part wolf, Jimmy Kimmel has once again put one over on the news media.
Then again, fooling the news media has a very low degree of difficulty these days.
Kimmel conspired with 21-year-old luger Kate Hansen, under whose name the video was posted on Twitter and elsewhere.
“I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi,” she said in a comment accompanying the video on YouTube.
Pretty much every major news outlet quickly picked up the story Thursday, echoing the Olympian’s cry of wolf, and apparently forgetting the entire moral of that fable.
USA Today was among those setting the record straight today — generally in a humorous vein that didn’t focus on how any laziness on the media’s part might have contributed to being duped.
Hansen, who finished competing Feb. 11 and is staying at the Olympic village, tweeted the video with the hashtag #sochiproblems and #sochifail. The hashtag was commonly used by visitors to Sochi for complaints surrounding the Games, including some about stray dogs.
Kimmel came clean last night, revealing the set created in the studio to resemble the dormitory corridor, and the wolf-dog, named Rugby.
Hansen appeared, via Skype, on the show as well, and said she has experienced some repercussions for the role she played.
Posted: February 21st, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dogs, dormitory, frenzy, hansen, hoax, kate hansen, luge, luger, media, olympics, pets, prank, Sochi, twitter, video, wolf, wolves, youtube
Roo, a Chihuahua, was found freezing in a ditch, where he’d apparently been discarded after being born with no front legs.
Penny is a silky chicken who was once used for experiments at an area veterinary school.
Both ended up at Duluth Animal Hospital in Georgia, where they’ve become best of friends, and a popular attraction.
The dog, believed to have been abandoned by a backyard breeder when he was just seven weeks old, was found on Christmas day, 2013, under some leaves in a ditch.
The chicken, once the undisclosed experiments she was part of were completed, was likely going to be put down, but an offer was made to adopt her.
Officially, both now belong to an employee at the animal hospital in Gwinnett, Alicia Williams, who brings Roo and Penny with work to her most days.
Williams, the client services receptionist at Duluth Animal Hospital, told Channel 2 Action News the dog and chicken became friends immediately, and some clients schedule appointments for their pets when they know the two will be there.
They’re gaining popularity nationwide, too, through the animal hospital’s Facebook page, and a video (above) recently posted on YouTube.
Roo manages to get around on just his hind legs, but he’s also been outfitted with a special wheelchair.
(Photo: On an outing during the recent Georgia snowfall, Penny and Roo left some interesting tracks / Facebook)
Posted: February 20th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, animals, best friends, chicken and chihuahua, chihuahua and chicken, dog and chicken, duluth animal hospital, experiments, friends, friendship, inter-species, interspecies, penny, pets, rescue, rescued, roo, silky, two-legged, unlikely friends, veterinary, video, wheelchair
At least two Olympic athletes from the U.S. are reportedly planning to bring home stray dogs from the streets of Sochi — and that has prompted another chorus of grumbling from the “they-care-more-about-dogs-than-people” crowd.
You know the type — they assume that if you show compassion for dogs, you must have none for people, and they think that is some kind of disorder, and that they must inform the world about it
The truth is, people with compassion for dogs usually have more empathy for people too, and often dogs are the ones that taught them that.
Yet, to read recent pieces like this one in The Guardian, and this one in Slate – or at least their headlines — the writers make is sound like it’s an either/or proposition: One who rescues dogs must not give a whit about humans.
You might look at Gus Kenworthy, the skier who’s bringing home four stray pups and their mother from Sochi, or Lindsey Jacobellis, the snowboarder who’s bringing a street mutt back to the U.S., and see people doing something heroic, good and noble.
But some people — and they’re not all journalists, more often they are nameless Internet commenters — have an innate need to find, or manufacture, a downside, and broadcast it, portraying an act of kindness toward a dog as proof that the world’s priorities have gone topsy-turvy.
So Kenworthy is bringing home five dogs, they’d say, what’s he doing about human rights issues in Russia?
It’s true that there are plenty of those in need of attention. It’s true there are people who find dogs easier to love, and easier to help, than humans. It’s true, too, there are millions of homeless dogs right here in America.
But where does one person get the right to question and critique another person’s charitable acts — to whom they should give, exactly what they should save or rescue, and where they should do it?
I may lack the appropriate Olympic fervor, but I am far more impressed by an athlete bringing home a stray dog than I am by how fast he or she can slide down a snowy hill; and I think the dogs will bring them, in the long run, far more joy (though fewer commercial endorsements) than a medal.
The athletes aren’t there to rescue dogs, and they aren’t there to solve human rights problems. Any action they might take regarding one or the other is bonus to be appreciated, as opposed to grounds for criticism.
Yet, a headline in Slate asks the question, ”Why are Olympians putting puppies before people in Sochi?”
(Maybe because the athletes aren’t finding people starving and sleeping in alleys, and couldn’t bring them home even if they wanted. Maybe because it’s easier to toss a dog a sandwich than it is to end government oppression. Maybe it’s because they know the city of Sochi has a contract out on strays, and a company is exterminating them.)
Josh Levin, Slate’s executive editor, wrote that, while he finds puppy-saving commendable, there are far bigger issues in Russia in need of addressing, such as:
“…the country’s 2013 passage of anti-gay propaganda laws, as well as a number of other disturbing transgressions: the fact that more than 50 journalists have been murdered in Russia in the last 22 years; that Sochi’s venues were built by more than 70,000 migrant laborers who toiled ceaselessly in violation of Russian law …”
I’m not sure your average bobsledder is equipped to single-handedly rectify issues like that — at least not during the couple of weeks he’s visiting.
A stray, hungry dog, on the other hand, is something a single person can do something about — whether it’s tossing him something to eat, or slaloming through enough red tape to bring him back to their home country.
So we say “Go Team!”
And good luck with those athletic events as well.
(Photo’s: Jacobellis with the dog she befriended in Sochi; Kenworthy with the four pups he plans to bring home /Twitter)
Posted: February 19th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2014 olympics, animals, athletes, bringing home dogs, caring more about dogs than people, criticism, dogs, Gus Kenworthy, home, human rights, humans, Lindsey Jacobellis, olympians, olympic team, olympics, people, pets, rescue, rescuing, russia, slate, Sochi, stray dogs, strays, the guardian
That stray dog who was found toting an old black and white photo in his collar has a new home.
But there’s still no answer to who the mystery man in the photo is, or was.
The 2-year-old pit bull mix, nicknamed Soldier, was found in Greenville, S.C., on Jan. 13. He was adopted by a new owner Sunday, Fox News reports.
Back in January, the dog was picked up and brought to Greenville County Animal Care. While checking him for ID, animal control officers found an old black and white photo stuck inside a pouch in his collar.
The photo was of a man, possibly in uniform, leaning against a fence post.
Animal Care staff named the dog Soldier, posted the old photo and photos of the dog on its Facebook page, and hoped to find some answers.
Instead, they mostly got questions – as in “can I adopt him?”
Hundreds of calls were received — none identifying the dog or man, but many from people interested in adopting Soldier.
The best fit was determined to be Julie Hensley, who saw him on Facebook and drove from her home in Virginia, in the snow, to pick him up.
Posted: February 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animal care, animal control, animals, black and white, collar, dog, dogs, facebook, found, greenville, greenville county, lost, mix, new home, pets, photo, photograph, pit bull, rescue, shelter, soldier, south carolina, stray