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Tag: cover

Canadian dog lover with autism created art featured on the National Dog Show program


There’s a story behind the cover of the program for this year’s National Dog Show — one that strikes us as far more interesting than who won the annual canine beauty pageant.

(For the record though, it was Newton, a Brussels Griffon, who captured best in show at the Thanksgiving Day event, held in Philadelphia.)

The official show program this year featured a cover (above) designed by a Manitoba artist who began painting dogs as a way to cope with struggles associated with autism.

rottweilerAlec Baldwin’s parents were told when he was 2½ years old that he had mild to severe autism and likely wouldn’t be able to speak until he was 18.

They refused to accept that. When schools didn’t seem to be expecting much out of him, or doing much for him, they took him out, figuring they could do a better job themselves. But the big change came when they brought him a how-to-draw dogs book.

“He just took off,” his mother, Tanis, told CBC News

Alec drew every dog in the Canadian Kennel Club book, and then every dog in the American Kennel Club book. He used watercolour pencils and made 200 portraits of dogs that he gave to the owners of his subjects. He is a dog handler who shows at competitions and is a Special Olympics athlete going to Nova Scotia next year as part of the Manitoba team.

And, yes, at 24 now, he speaks:

It was after switching to paint that one of his pieces, a 40-by-60-inch night scene with 35 champion dogs, won best acrylic painting in the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba’s fine art show in Gimli last year.

Baldwin gave a poster of that painting to Wayne Ferguson, president of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, which runs the National Dog Show, who hung it in his den.

Ferguson then commissioned Baldwin to do a painting for the show.

The finished work shows the Philadelphia skyline at night, with 15 previous champion dogs in the foreground.

It appears on the cover of the program, the show’s VIP passes, posters and 8,000 brochures, even on the wrapper of the show’s official chocolate bar.

The painting was unveiled at a special gala for VIPs, including Baldwin and his mom.

“When I was at the show, I looked down at my VIP pass and it had his painting on it, and it dawned on me that everyone around here who was a VIP has his painting around their neck,” Tanis said.

“We’ve worked on his weaknesses and built on his strengths,” Tanis said. “That’s the best you can do with any child,” she added. “I’m really proud of him. He’s worked really hard — he’s had to work harder than anybody … But above all, he has a good heart.”

Rear Gear: No butts about it


It’s an anus. Deal with it.

Having a curly-tailed dog, I’ve gotten used to the sight (though I’ll admit what’s known as Ace’s “winky” has a way of popping up in photos far more often than I’d like).

But for those who can’t tolerate the sight, for the sphincter-phobic among us, for those who find the anus especially heinous, there’s now a product designed to spare dog owners from catching a glimpse of the offending orifice.

reargear2It’s called Rear Gear — and it is, quite possibly, the silliest canine-related product we’ve heard of since the dog chastity belt.

Made in Oregon, Rear Gear comes in several designs including a disco ball, air freshener, heart, flower, biohazard, smiley face, cupcake, sheriff’s badge and dice.

The website offering it, which says they are made with recycled paper, recycled styrene and satin cord, doesn’t make clear how it is attached/installed — and I’m not sure I want to know. Apparently the cord is used as a noose around the tail.

Still, you’d think they’d become a little problematic when the time comes for the dog to poop. Even if they don’t interfere with the function, they probably — unless removed and reattached — come out a little worse for wear

The makers of Rear Gear — “No more Mr. Brown Eye,” is their slogan — say they are also happy to work with you on a custom design. They sell for $5 each.


Dog hoisted out of storm drain in Laurel

Prince Georges County firefighters rescued a Labrador retriever mix who fell 25 feet into the bottom a storm drain.

The drain’s cover, authorities said, had been displaced, apparently by a snowplow.

Firefighters and medics responded to a call Tuesday from a resident in Laurel who heard a dog crying at the bottom of a storm drain, according to the Washington Post.

Rescuers pumped fresh air into the drain, rigged up a pulley system and lowered a rescuer on a rope, who was able to put a harness on the dog so it could be hoisted out.

The operation took about 10 minutes, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire Department.

The 40-pound, long-haired black dog was wet and cold but had no apparent injuries, Brady said.

The dog had a collar but no tags. Anyone with information about its owner is asked to call the animal control facility at 301-780-7200.

What I want for Christmas, chapter two


Here’s a product that — while I could do without the monogram — would make my life easier.

The pet loveseat cover (they make couch and chair ones, too) would be a cozy sleeping surface for Ace, protect the sofa from drool stains (I can’t help it!) and save me from having to vacuum dog hair off of it EVERY … SINGLE … YEAR.

Available from Sure Fit, the throws come in quilted “soft suede,” or cotton, and are machine washable.

The quilted pet throw comes in taupe and chocolate, while the cotton ones come in black, claret or linen. Only the quilted ones are offered with monograms.

The non-personalized throws cost $29.99 for a chair,  $39.99 for a loveseat, and $49.99 for a sofa. The monogrammed ones — up to 15 characters are permitted — run $37.49 for a chair, $47.49 for a loveseat, and $57.49 for a sofa.

Were Santa to bring me one, I would opt for cotton, loveseat size, non-monogrammed, in the color linen. And I’d promise not to drool on it.

Why dogs are better than men — in song


I have no statistics, just a hunch: Dogs — in addition to all the other places they’re appearing more often (books, TV and movies to name three) — are turning up more regularly on album covers.

The latest I’m aware of is the Saint Bernard who graces the cover of Norah Jones’ new album, “The Fall.”

The dog on the cover isn’t her’s — just one of several model dogs that the photographer planned to use in a group shot.

“She wanted to use a bunch of dogs because she likes working with animals. I thought it sounded fun,” Jones said in an interview with Hulu’s blog “We ended up just loving the Saint Bernard so much that we got some shots with just him. He was so beautiful.”

Jones is a dog lover, doting in particular on her rescued poodle Ralph.

“My dogological clock started to tick. So I got a dog … I’m madly in love with him,” the songstress told NPR’s Morning Edition. “I like to say that he’s a scruffy, manly poodle, because you say poodle and people start rolling their eyes… ”

Ralph also served as the inspiration for the closing track of the album, “Man of the Hour,” whose lyrics recite the many advantages living with a dog has over living with a man.

Here’s her recent performance of the song on “Good Morning America.”

High-flying dog chosen for new Weezer album

Weezer lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo was perusing the pages of National Geographic when he came across a reader-submitted dog photo that he thought would make a good cover for the group’s next album.

And that’s how Sidney, the high jumper above, came to grace the cover of “Raditude.”  The album comes out Oct. 27.

The shot of Sidney was entered in a reader-submitted photo contest sponsored by the magazine. When Cuomo spotted it, according to Spinner, he decided to track down the photographer.

The band then lucked out big time. When they got in touch with the winning photographer, Jason Neely of Middletown, Conn., to seek his permission to use the shot, it turned out he was a big Weezer fan. Here’s Jason’s Flickr page.

There’s a cat in the photo, too, though it’s difficult to spot.

Mercy, another Bo coup: New Yorker cover

We rarely meet a New Yorker cover we don’t like (New Yorkers themselves; that’s another story) — and we especially like this one of little Bo in the White House front yard.

It’s by author and illustrator Bob Staake, who has also put together a new book on the family’s quest for a dog, “The First Pup: The Unofficial Story Of How Sasha and Malia’s Dad Got the Presidency — And How They Got a Dog.” Somewhat surprisingly, Media Bistro reports, it hasn’t found a publisher yet.

On the New Yorker‘s book blog, Staake explained how he wrote his book as the First Family debated breeds and prepared for their new puppy, the now famous Portuguese water dog Bo. He also explains the thinking behind the New Yorker cover.

“You put any dog on the cover and everyone goes crazy,” Staake wrote. “This cover is good at being cute, but it also works as a metaphor for Obama. The best New Yorker covers are the ones where the reader looks and brings their own interpretation, which brings the image to a new dimension.”