It’s not every day that a group of shelter dogs has its own art exhibit.
This one opens Sunday in São Paulo and it’s aimed at raising awareness about the plight of Brazil’s stray dogs.
Shelter dogs from Procure1Amigo were used to create the 18 artworks by shaking off the paint (edible and non-toxic) that was poured on them.
The paintings go on sale when the exhibit opens Sunday at São Paulo’s Perestroika. Photos of the dogs shaking their way through the creative process, channeling their inner Jackson Pollock, will also be for sale.
And the artists will be available for adoption.
It’s part of campaign called “Canismo,” an artistic movement supporting the adoption of shelter animals.
“The shake of the paint reveals a remarkable exercise of freedom, where each drop of ink bears the stain of prejudice,” reads a statement on the Canismo website.
“The combination of different colors in the paintings shows the mixture of breeds, as random and as beautiful as each mongrel dog.”
The brightly colored paints were made using corn starch and food coloring.
The largest of the country’s three remaining Class B dog dealers — those often unscrupulous sorts who scrounge up dogs and sell them to laboratories for use in experiments — is going out of business.
The Humane Society of the United States reported yesterday that Ohio-based dealer Robert Perry has cancelled his license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That means only two licensed “random source” dealers remain. Class B, or random source, dealers round up dogs from flea markets, shelters, auctions, Craigslist and other sources and sell them to research institutions.
“These merchants of cruelty are on their last gasps, and this announcement gets us one big step closer to the complete demise of this sordid trade,” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, writes on the HSUS blog, A Humane Nation.
Perry has been supplying dogs for years to a number of institutions, including Ohio State University. Between October 2013 and October 2014, OSU purchased nearly 50 dogs from Perry, making him the biggest random source supplier of dogs used in research nationwide.
Of the two remaining Class B dealers, one had only four dogs in its most recent inventory and the other is facing formal enforcement action from the USDA, according to HSUS.
At one time there were more than 200 licensed Class B dealers in the United States. By 2013, as a result of a decline in the use of dogs in laboratories and opposition from groups like HSUS, Last Chance for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, and the Animal Welfare Institute, that number was down to six
Last year’s announcement from the National Institutes of Health that it would no longer fund research that used random source dogs served as a final nail in the coffin for Class B dog dealing.
Those dogs who are bred for laboratory research — commonly beagles — weren’t directly affected by that decision, but, as Pacelle notes, they are being used less often by laboratories, too.
“The continuing and rapid decline of these random source Class B dealers means the chances of pets ending up in laboratories are now very low,” Pacelle said.” And we’re perhaps closer to the day when fewer dogs of any kind are used in testing and research.”
(Photo: A “random source” dog that was used in dental experiments at Georgia Regents University that were the subject of an HSUS investigation; courtesy of HSUS)
Here’s a poignant mini-documentary about two newly released prisoners whose reentry into society was made easier when they adopted shelter dogs.
It’s a true story, nicely told.
And it doesn’t look like a dog food commercial at all — until the Pedigree logo appears at the very end.
The four-minute film isn’t a commercial per se, but it is part of a new global campaign by Pedigree, the dog food company, which financed its making.
Why? Because advertising isn’t just about advertisements anymore.
Gone, since the Internet, are the days when a company wanting to tout a product was limited to getting its name emblazoned on billboards, slipped into your (real) mailbox, slapped on the pages of newspapers or broadcast in between sitcoms.
Today, there are plenty of other routes a company can take to get into the hearts and minds of customers. from Facebook to YouTube, from contests and prizes to proudly publicized philanthropic efforts, like helping dogs — all aimed at getting you to love them, or at least garner your “like.”
As a result, not all promotions of products are as blatant and in your face as that shouting, mildly deranged car dealership owner on TV. Some even come close to serious journalism, or, dare we say it, art.
This film was made by a Brazilian production company. It follows Joey and Matt, two former inmates just released from prison. It documents their uncertainty, loneliness and confusion, and shows how, by adopting dogs — apparently at the urging of Pedigree — they began overcoming the problems they faced.
Matt, who served two years for burglary, visited a shelter not long after his release, where he adopted a dog named Jeanie.
“They all looked kind of sad,” he says of his visit to the shelter. “Just like I was — just caged in.”
After adopting Jeanie, he feels as if his “future’s bright again.” He starts going on job interviews and, with his new dog along, reunites with his estranged dad.
Joey had done 12 years, the last four of which he was enrolled in a prison dog training program.
After his release, he adopted a black dog named Sadie who helped him cope with the loneliness and brightened his outlook. He ended up getting a job as a dog trainer.
The film tells their stories without once mentioning Pedigree, or sneaking a bag of Pedigree dog food into the frame. Only once it’s over do we see the Pedigree logo at the end.
Like an ad, the film has a tagline: “You save a dog. A dog saves you.”
What’s that got to do with dog food?
“By nourishing the lovable innocence in every dog, Pedigree helps feed the good they bring to the world,” explains Leonid Sudakov, CMO of Mars Global Petcare.
The documentary is part of a global campaign by Pedigree called “Feed the Good” that will include TV, print, online, in-store and social media.
I don’t feel the need to thank Pedigree for “nourishing the lovable innocence in every dog,” but I do like the new campaign’s message, and I find it far more palatable than those creepy ads for Pedigree Dentastix featuring dogs equipped, through special effects, with human teeth.
What’s most interesting, at least to me, is how the new campaign — at least through this little documentary — reflects how marketers are moving closer to telling stories, in some cases true stories, in some cases stories with some depth, all while mainstream news media, it can be argued, grows more lax in that mission.
“Advertising is moving into this new territory of content storytelling — a more emotional engagement,” Alex Mehedff, who made the film with his brother Ricardo, said in an interview with Adweek. “… We hope it will move people, engage emotionally with the audience … and place the brand in a very special place.”
(You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts here.)
Before Lassie, before Rin Tin Tin, even before broadcast television itself, there was Petey — the canine character in the Our Gang/Little Rascals comedies who sported a distinctive dark circle around his right (or was it left?) eye.
Just as plenty of myths have floated up and been deflated around the kid actors who played roles in the series — like Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat — the historical record is so fuzzy when it comes to Petey that trying to separate the facts from the fictions can leave one … well, stymied.
I knew the dog who played Petey was a pit bull (though some dispute that). I assumed the ring around his eye was entirely fake (though some dispute that, too). I’d heard he, in real life, was murdered and that he was buried in a Los Angeles pet cemetery (though not everybody agrees on the specifics of those events, either).
When it comes to the canine star of the Our Gang/ Little Rascals comedies, there’s not too much one can say definitively — partly because there was more than one Petey, partly because 80-plus years have passed, and partly because it all happened in Hollywood, a land where truth and myth often spill across their borders and into each other.
But I’m relatively sure this karma-filled episode — in which Petey is put into a gas chamber by a cranky dog warden who goes on to get what he deserved — was, ironically, Petey’s last. (Or at least the second Petey’s last.)
Entitled “The Pooch, it came out in 1932 — like all the “Our Gang” comedies, in movie theaters. Not until 1955 were they syndicated to appear on television as “The Little Rascals.”
The episode stars the second Petey, son of the first Petey, both of whom were owned by trainer Harry Lucenay.
The first dog to play Petey was Pal, the Wonder Dog.
Pal had appeared earlier in the role of Tige in the Buster Brown comedies.
It was for that role that, with dye, a partial dark circle around his eye was turned into a permanent full circle.
After signing a contract with Hal Roach Studios, Pal reportedly became the second highest paid actor of the “Our Gang” series.
Pal’s last appearance was in the 1930 episode, “A Tough Winter.”
Legend has it that Pal, in real life, died after eating meat tainted with poison, or glass. Some reports say the culprit was someone with a grudge against Lucenay.
Then again, legend also has it that Pal was buried with the actor who played Alfalfa, which — given the decades that passed between their deaths — is likely not true at all.
After the death of Pal, who appeared mostly in the “Our Gang” silent films, Lucenay turned to one of Pal’s descendants, a pup with slightly different coloring.
The second Petey, named Lucenay’s Pete, was just six months old when he took over the role. He lacked Petey One’s distinctive eye circle, so one was supplied by a make-up artist named Max Factor, according to Wikipedia.
Likely unaware that it would lead to confusion, the trainer had the second Petey’s circle applied around his left eye, while the first Petey’s encircled his right eye.
Eight decades later, the migrating eye circle remains one of the most hotly debated pieces of Little Rascals trivia.
As a rule, if you see a Petey with a circle around his right eye, it’s the first Petey; if you see a Petey with the circle around his left eye, it’s Petey two.
All that gets further complicated, though, by the fact that many of the images one can find of Petey are the result of reversed negatives, and even more complicated by the fact that, all along, multiple dogs, with slightly different markings, were used in the filming of the series.
Apparently, continuity was not too much of a concern among directors back then.
In any case, the second Petey served from 1930 to 1932, when Lucenay was fired.
There were multiple subsequent dogs — all from different bloodlines — who played the role of Petey between 1932 and 1939, when the final Our Gang episode was released in theaters.
The second Petey retired with Lucenay to Atlantic City and would die at age 18.
Like so much else about them, the second Petey’s final resting place, as with the first Petey’s, is disputed, according to Roadside America.
While Petey was a pit bull, an American bulldog was used in the 1994 “Little Rascals” movie.
A dog belonging to a misunderstood breed has helped a boy with a misunderstood disorder show a previously unseen side of himself, and his mother couldn’t be happier.
Amanda Granados says her son Joey was diagnosed at age 7 with Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that contributed to his getting suspended from school six times — all while in kindergarten.
Joey couldn’t sit still. He sometimes struck himself. And he hated being touched by others. His mother says he had never let her hug and kiss him.
While he was a whiz at math and had a near photographic memory, Joey always had difficulty making friends.
“He has a hard time reading social cues or facial expressions, and there’s awkwardness around making friends, said Granados, a 36-year-old single mother of three boys.
Then, a few months ago, the family adopted a pit bull named Roxy from a Los Angeles shelter — and Joey suddenly had the kind of friend you don’t have to make.
As Joey, now 14, explains it, “I didn’t have too many friends growing up, but then we got Roxy and I’ve been able to make friends ever since. At home, I’ve been able to hold my mom’s hand, kiss her, hug her and do a lot of things that I hadn’t been able to do growing up. She’s opened up my heart.”
“I get emotional thinking about it,” his mother said. “For all those years, he wouldn’t hold my hand, he wouldn’t hug me — it was all part of the autism — but this dog has taught him how to give and show affection. He holds my hand now. He hugs me. The first time I got a kiss on the cheek was when Roxy came home.”
A photo on the Internet led Joey to his new best friend. Joey had been asking his mom for a dog, and she saw that the Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center in Los Angeles was planning an event where a shelter dog could be adopted for $10.
“We were looking through pictures online, and Roxy’s picture made us fall in love with her,” Granados told Today.com.
When they went to the adoption event, Joey and Roxy immediately connected.
“As soon as Roxy met Joey, she totally ignored me and his mother,” said adoptions specialist Denise Landaverde. (That’s her, Roxy and Joey in the photo to the left.) “Amanda was happily surprised to see Roxy go straight to Joey and watch them play together. It just sealed the deal for her.”
Granados said she initially had some qualms due to the bad things she has heard about pit bulls, but seeing her son and Roxy together made those concerns disappear.
“She is literally his best friend,” Granados said. “He can be in the foulest mood, and she comes along and it’s like a light. She doesn’t care about his differences — there’s no judgment with her — she just loves him.”
Joey agreed. “If I’ve been having a bad day, Roxy can hear a tone in my voice,” he said. “She runs up to me to give me a giant hug and lick me to death and do almost anything she can to make me happy.”
Studies have shown that dogs can give children with autism much-needed companionship and help them learn compassion, responsibility and even social skills, such as making eye contact.
What has happened between Joey and Roxy speaks louder than any of those studies, though — or at least it does to Amanda Granados.
Roxy, she agrees, seems to have opened her son’s heart, and she thinks part of it may be because of what they have in common.
“Kids with autism are looked at differently and misunderstood, and so are pit bulls,” Granados said. “I think that’s why they’ve bonded.”
(Top photo courtesy of Best Friends Pet Adoption & Spay/Neuter Center; photo of Joey and Roxy courtesy of Amanda Granados)
How many times have you looked at your dog and remarked to yourself, “I wish I had his energy?”
Maybe one day soon you can, and the source of it would be — barring any digestive issues — plentiful, sustainable and renewable.
A young Swiss designer is showing off her prototype of a home appliance that converts dog poop into power.
Océane Izard, who owns three dogs, created “Poo Poo Power” as a conceptual design. “I have always believed in the potential of my dogs’ droppings,” she says.
To use the appliance, dog owners “place a biodegradable bag of dog waste inside, where sludge-eating bacteria belch out methane that is converted to power,” FastCoExist.com reports.
The electricity is stored in detachable batteries that can be used around the house.
The amount of power it produces depends on the size of the dog.
A beagle, for example, will produce between 250 and 340 grams of feces per day — enough only to run a fan for two hours, Izard says. A German shepherd, producing about twice that, could almost power your refrigerator.
Providing enough electricity to power an entire home, she says, would take about seven dogs.
Izard hopes that the appliance might change how dog owners see poop.
“For me it should not be taboo,” she says. “Dog owners pick up their dog turds every day. This is certainly an ordeal. That’s why there’s so much in the streets. But with this machine, people will want to bring (home) this precious gift that their dogs do one to two times a day.”
Izard isn’t the only one to consider using dog waste for power. The city of San Francisco considered a pilot program in 2006 to collect poop at dog parks and bring it to digesters, though the program didn’t move forward. Another project aims to use dog poop to power streetlights at parks.
Izard notes that, in addition to creating a renewable source of energy, the concept, practiced on a larger scale, could also help keep cities cleaner.
Paris cleans up an estimated 12 tons of dog poop from city streets every day. In the U.S., dogs produce around 10 million tons of poop each year, most of which either stays where it was dropped or goes to landfills, where it releases methane into the atmosphere. Dog waste also pollutes watersheds.
Izard thinks, rather than viewing it as an evil scourge, it’s time to make dog poop start working for us.
“My project is an opportunity to say it is possible even at a small scale,” says Izard. “The future of poop is here.”