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Tag: collection

Dog museum heading back to New York

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The Dog Museum of America (yes, it’s a real thing) will move from its home in Missouri back to New York City.

The museum spent its first five years of existence in Manhattan, until it moved west, in part because the rent would be cheaper.

It first opened in the New York Life building at 51 Madison Avenue in 1982, and moved to St. Louis in 1987. After 30 years it will be moving back, probably within a year, to be housed in the American Kennel Club headquarters, the AKC announced Friday.

The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog boasts one of the world’s biggest collections of canine art.

The move is aimed at enhancing its future, and is the result of a “mutual agreement” between the museum’s board and the AKC board, the New York Post reported

“New York City is world-renowned for its art and museum culture and we feel that it is the perfect place to house a museum and educational interactive learning center as a destination,” said Ronald H. Menaker, chairman of the board for the American Kennel Club.

Stephen George, the museum’s executive director, said the decision was made to increase the number of people who see the artwork.

George said attendance and programming has increased in recent years, with about 6,000 paying visitors last year. Its revenues, however, have dropped.

In addition to George, a curator, an event coordinator and five part-time staffers will lose their jobs, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

After a year-long nationwide search for a new home, it was moved to Missouri, reopening in 1987 as the Dog Museum of America at the Jarville House in Queeny Park.

museum2St. Louis County officials had meant for the Jarville House to be a temporary home, but plans to incorporate the museum into a planned horse park and condominium complex fell through.

The museum operated on its own in St. Louis County, but in 1995, it and the AKC reaffiliated, and the museum was renamed the American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog.

There was more talk of relocating after that, with a move to North Carolina being described in 1996 as a “done deal.”

But the AKC reconsidered and opted to keep it in St. Louis.

Through the years, the AKC has donated more than $4.5 million to keep the museum open.

The museum in houses 4,000 pieces of dog art, including paintings, photos and sculptures. It also holds more than 3,000 books and other publications, and it maintains a registry of more than 250 artists who are available by commission to paint dog portraits.

(Photo: Robert Cohen / Post-Dispatch)

A fitness tracker (geesh) for your dog

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Reading stories about technological advances hitting the marketplace often makes me roll my eyes — because many of those so-called innovations, in my view, are like those new clothes that emperor wore.

Case in point, fitness trackers — those devices you wear on your wrist to remind you to get off your duff. Perhaps they perform some more vital functions, but based on a TV ad — pretty much the extent of my knowledge about them — they will buzz or beep if you’ve been sitting still too long (which most often is a result of earlier technology, i.e. the computer and television).

If that weren’t ridiculous enough, there are also (eye roll) fitness trackers for dogs.

Forbes reports that Whistle, the maker of a fitness tracker for your dog, is raising $16 million in a Series B venture capital round, bringing its total funding to $25 million.

In other words, a lot of people with money believe in it.

Whistle’s $100 Fitbit-like dog collar features a 3-axis accelerometer to track movement, Bluetooth for connecting with your smartphone, WiFi, and an app that collects fitness data, allowing you to track the activity level of your dog.

Whistle has acquired Snaptracs, which makes Tagg, a GPS tracker for your dog that — in addition to tracking movement — also includes a temperature sensor to make sure your dog doesn’t get too hot or cold.

The interest of such companies is understandable, given society is nuts about gizmos, apps and pets. On the latter alone, Americans spent $58.51 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

I’m all for any device that helps find dogs when they’re lost, but really now, do we need devices to let us know whether our dogs are too hot, too cold, and getting enough exercise?

We already have two devices for that, called eyes. And better yet, they are rollable, and don’t need recharging.

(Maybe someday there will be a wristband I can wear that notifies me when I am rolling my eyes — and reminds me, perhaps with a gentle zap of electricity, that it’s not an attractive trait.)

We’re in danger of letting silly gizmos replace our common sense, while gizmo-making companies get rich on our gullibility.

That’s how my rolling eyes see it; others see it differently. As Whistle CEO and founder Ben Jacobs explains:

“As the Internet of Things moves into these initial areas, people are looking at other key parts of life,” he is quoted as saying in the Forbes article. “The pet is a member of the family and an interesting vertical in the Internet of Things.”

Is there an app to translate that?

Camp Bow Wow wants your dog hair

Camp Bow Wow in Columbia — always happy to have your dog come in for a stay — is now accepting just your dog’s hair as well.

One of many groups and businesses across the country that have joined in the effort to collect dog and human hair to help combat the gulf oil spill, Camp Bow Wow is offering several options.

You can bring your pup in for a de-shedding treatment, or collect your dog’s shed hair and drop it by. Also, Camp Bow Wow will accept donations of human hair, if you know of any hair salons or barbers that want to pitch in.

The hair — as we explained last week, and as the video above shows — is being used in the making of oil booms that are being used to help absorb the oil.

Feathers, fur and other natural fibers, such as used nylon stockings are also used to make the booms, and Camp Bow Wow is accepting donations of those as well.

All the donated items collected — as well as cash contributions — are being passed on to Matter of Trust.

Jawetz a finalist in Baker Artist Awards

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Baltimore artist Gil Jawetz — painter of dogs and more — is a finalist in this year’s Baker Artist Awards.

Jawetz, who is also designer of the ohmidog! website, has put together several exhibits of dog-related art, including “Human(e) Beings” a collection of oil paintings (and book) exploring the relationships between people and their pets.

The William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund established the Baker Artist Awards to recognize Baltimore’s artists and engage the public in supporting their work.

Jawetz, after years of working in film and video, took up oil painting in 2004 with a class at New York City’s Art Students League. He moved to Baltimore the next year, working as a freelancer to devote more time to painting. His focus is on Impressionism and other styles of representational, figurative art that take the living form as a starting point for exploring colors, moods and emotions.

You can see more of his work, and vote for him, at Bakerartistawards.org.

You can also learn more about Jawetz and his art at his website, Buskerdog.com.

(Art: “Late Night, Lobby” by Gil Jawetz, 2008)

“Deluxe” FURminator easier on the hands

FURminator_blue_angle_01042The friendly folks at FURminator keep making a great, if pricey, product better — and ever more frustratingly difficult to get out of the package.

The product I was sent — the new fur-ejecting FURminator with an improved handle — worked amazingly well. They’ve improved the fur-ejecting technology, so, unlike with earlier models, hair shoots right out of the deshedding tool with the simple push of a button. The new handle is contoured to better fit the hand.

But the packaging! Why manufacturers insist on encasing their products in thick, clear plastic cocoons that take a hacksaw to open, I’ll never understand.

Perhaps it is to suggest that their product is so valuable it rates a hermetically sealed shroud that can be opened only by a team of physics majors.

Once I did manage to free the Deluxe FURminator from its package, which also featured a twisted wire to hold it firmly into its mold, it was smooth sailing.

As with earlier versions, it did a magnificent job of removing my dog’s loose hair and undercoat. In 15 minutes, not counting the 30 minutes it took to open it, I’d removed enough hair to fill a grocery bag. With the new and far more comfortable handle, I could have filled enough for two more bags, but I figured Ace might want to keep a little undercoat for winter.

The small “Deluxe Collection” FURminator, with fur ejector, retails for around $50, and the FURminator website lists some of the stores in which you can find it. The Deluxe Collection went on sale in pet stores today.

As for my now slightly used model, I repackaged it as best I could and it will be awarded — by Santa himself — to a worthy dog at the upcoming Pet Photos with Santa event at Riverside Park in Baltimore. (Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon). Proceeds from the event go to the Franky Fund for the care of sick and injured animals at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).

Something for big dogs to celebrate

Weight limits — those arbitrary, ill-conceived, downright discriminatory restrictions on dogs at many otherwise “pet-friendly” hotels — have bitten the dust at one California boutique hotel chain.

Joie de Vivre, California’s largest boutique hotel collection, has done away with its weight limit for canine guests, according to Hotels magazine. It has also dropped its pet surcharge.

Joie de Vivre has  doubled the number of its hotels that allow pets in the past eight months. Of its 35 hotels, 15 are now dog-friendly.

“We wanted to make our pet-friendly hotels even more hospitable to dogs, so we scrapped weight restrictions and standard pet surcharges so that more of our guests can enjoy traveling with their pets,”  said Joie de Vivre founder and CEO Chip Conley.

In the Bay Area, the chain (it prefers the term “collection”) offers more dog-friendly hotels than any other hotel group, with ten in San Francisco, three in the East Bay and Marin County and one in Silicon Valley. In Southern California, the new Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and Hotel Maya in Long Beach welcome dogs and their owners. A third boutique hotel in Southern California – the Pacific Edge Hotel on Laguna Beach – will join Joie de Vivre’s pet-friendly pack this fall.

Joie de Vivre’s pet-friendly hotels offer special amenities that include in-room dog beds, dog food, water bowls, toys, and even a doggie turndown service. Each hotel offers different amenities and some offer fee-based grooming or dog walking upon request.

For more information, visit www.jdvhotels.com.

The long arm of the law grabs handfuls of …

We’ve reported on this before, but, given our previous post, and seeing as it has made the New York Times, it bears repeating: A city near Tel Aviv is logging information about the DNA of local dogs — by collecting their poop.

The idea is that, in the future, they will be able to analyze unscooped poop, track down the owners and hit them with a fine.

It all got started when the mayor of Petah Tikva called veterinarian Tika Bar-On, the city’s director of veterinary services, and asked if it was possible to use DNA fingerprinting to identify which dogs pooped on his city streets without picking up after them.

As a result, Bar-On introduced the first-ever CSI: Dog poop unit.

Bar-On recruited 12-year-olds from a local grade school to go door to door, persuading dog owners to donate samples, to get the registry started. She’s also managed to get saliva samples from dogs at festivals. And she’s arranging to have her poop squad analyze properly disposed of poop, so that responsible pet owners can get rewards — another incentive for them to register.

To date, the Israeli dog DNA bank contains more than 100 samples. According to Bar-On, about 90 percent of owners agree to donate samples when asked.

The other 10 percent, apparently, are saying no shit. Or spit.