These dogs appear to share a common expression, something akin to what we humans might call skepticism.
But the German photographer who put together the collection of outtakes from photo sessions in her studio calls it, “Dogs questioning the photographer’s sanity.”
And who’s to say they aren’t?
Elke Vogelsang, also known as Wieselblitz, is a photographer of dogs who specializes in portraits — but not the kind of portraits dog owners traditionally look for.
Instead, she likes to capture them mid-expression — even though she knows what we humans see in those expressions may not be what the dogs are expressing at all.
“I usually prefer the pictures, which don’t look like that one portrait the owner would hang on his wall. I like the outtakes, the bewildered, quirky expressions,” she said in a post on Bored Panda.
What the photos she posted had in common, she said, is that “the dogs look like they think that the photographer lost her mind.”
“With my dog portraits I try to explore the different expressions and characters of dogs. It’s all about emotions and personality. I love the challenge to get funny, silly or sometimes even melancholic expressions.
“Of course, these are snapshots, a moment in time, captured in a fraction of a second. Often we have our own interpretation of those expressions. The dogs appear to be laughing or smiling or they look sad. Like all dog lovers I’m guilty of humanizing them. But yes, dogs do feel all emotions humans feel, too.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 1st, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, dog photography, dogs, Elke Vogelsang, expressions, germany, pets, photographer, photography, photos, portraits, skepticism, studio, Wieselblitz
If, like me, you tend to mindlessly credit the canine nose when you hear about a dog miraculously finding his way hundreds of miles back home, you might be interested in this other possible explanation.
Researchers have shown for the first time that the eyes of dogs have a version of the molecule cryptochrome 1 — the same molecule that gives bats, birds and certain other mammals the ability to perceive Earth’s magnetic fields.
It’s not clear yet that dogs possess magnoreception — that GPS-like ability that allows birds to return to the same spot every year — but researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have shown that a version of the molecule that gives birds that ability is present in the retinas of dogs, wolves, bears, and more.
Magnoreception could help explain the mystery of why dogs tend to line up parallel to the north-south axis when they poop.
And many, more important, things, as well.
Presence of the light-sensing molecule gives some plants and animals almost a sixth sense, allowing them to regulate their circadian rhythms and find places they have left far behind.
But not humans. We’ve lost whatever cryptochrome 1 we might have had long ago — probably about the same time we started asking for directions.
According to the study, simply having cryptochrome 1 doesn’t necessarily mean that animals can perceive magnetic fields, but the presence could be a sign of that.
It has been found in the cone photoreceptors of some mammals — the same place it is located in birds.
Out of 90 species of mammals examined, researchers found only a few contained cryptochrome 1.
It was found in the eyes of dogs, wolves and foxes; five members of the weasel family, including ferrets and sea otters; orangutans and two types of macaques; brown bears and polar bears.
With further studies, scientists could find out if and how those animals are using it.
“…It is possible that these animals also have a magnetic sense that is linked to their visual system,” the researchers concluded.
It could explain why some animals approach certain prey from a certain direction, why dogs like to line up north to south to do their business and how so many a lost dog — in real life and movies — manages to find his or her way back home.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bats, bears, birds, cone receptors, crypochrome 1, cryptochrome, dog, dogs, eyes, foxes, germany, magnetic fields, magnoreception, magnoreceptors, max planck institute, molecule, research, retinas, science, sixth sense, study
A German photographer is taking some heat — at least on the Internet — for a series of photos capturing dogs in mid-air.
Dogs used in the photo shoot didn’t plummet too far, apparently only a couple of feet or so, after being dropped by their (off camera) owners onto a mattress.
The photos were picked up by more than a few media outlets, including the Daily Mail, which called them “hilarious,” and the Huffington Post, which termed the dog’s faces “precious,” pointed out no dogs were injured and noted, “We’re betting some of them even wanted to go again, since dogs are just awesome.”
Readers, almost unanimously, had, an entirely different view of it. Almost all those leaving comments on the Huffington Post post, called it animal cruelty, with many noting the fear they say is evident in the dog’s eyes.
Nearly 100 dogs and their owners turned up at Christe’s studio after she issued a call for canine models — and none of the owners apparently had any problem holding their dogs in the air and dropping them onto a mattress.
Christe (left) said she was seeking a unique perspective for her dog photos, and that all the dogs who took part seemed to have fun doing so.
“The dogs were dropped by their owners onto a mattress from as low a height as possible, and the impression of flight was enlarged by wind machines,” the photographer explained in the Daily Mail.
But as some commenters noted, even light landings can be hard on small dogs like dachshunds, and — regardless of how far they’re falling — the stress and fear it causes constitutes cruelty, some say.
“It’s actually incredibly dangerous for doxins to jump, let alone be dropped,” wrote one. “Their backs are very fragile and can break. This is more about a photographer wanting the spotlight, than it is art. Shame on you for putting your ego before these dogs’ safety and well being.”
We’d go a step further and say it’s also about websites who pander to dog lovers without pausing to think about what they’re pasting onto their sites — the ones that, in their haste to get more hits, slap an “adorable” label on anything dog-related and share it, failing to apply anything close to critical or responsible thinking.
“I really love animals, and so everything was safe, I would never take a chance on them getting hurt,” Christe said in the Daily Mail article. “…I feel the photographs show off both the grace and elegance of the dogs, which makes them appear in a slightly different way than usual.”
For all those pet photographers who would put a dog at risk so that they may achieve a new artistic perspective, we’d suggest they fling their own selves through the air, or turn their own selves upside down.
Because all those down-to-earth dogs are perfectly happy with the perspective they already have.
(Photos: Julia Christe / HotSpot Media)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 24th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airborne, animal welfare, animals, art, cruelty, daily mail, danger, dog, dogs, dropped, fear, flying, flying dogs, german, germany, hazardous, huffington post, internet, julia christe, mid air, perspective, pets, photographer, photography, photos, repsonsibility, risk, risky, websites
It began as a joke, and maybe sorta still is, but there’s now a real magazine in Germany devoted to dog haters.
Started by a frustrated freelance journalist who was bitten by a spitz as child, “Kot & Köter,” which translates to “Poop & Pooches” in English, has just produced its second issue.
It’s 48 pages long and include articles about how excessive and obsessive we humans can get when it comes to our dogs’ deaths, and their wardrobes; three poems devoted to the evils of dog poop; and a piece of fiction about a serial dog murderer.
“There are two types of people in Germany,”the magazine’s founder and editor, Wulf Beleites, tells the Wall Street Journal. “One type loves dogs. Another type doesn’t. These are my readers.”
As Beleites tells it, the idea started as a joke, way back in 1992, when he and three fellow journalists were sitting at a pub trying to think up absurd titles for magazines. As a joke, he trademarked the name “Kot & Köter,” and later a friend who publishes a newsletter of trademarked and copyrighted names available for purchase slipped the title into a listing.
A newspaper reporter spotted the unusual magazine title and published an article about it. After that, Beleites was interviewed on the radio and, in the ensuing 6 years, 18 more times by media outlets who didn’t realize his magazine didn’t exist. Beleites would go on air and talk about the downside of dogs — from barking and biting to smelling and shedding.
For some of the appearances, he was paid. At some of them, he was booed.
The new magazine is described as “satirical.” It pokes fun at how dog-crazy many of us become. But it’s a little mean and hateful as well.
The first issue came out in July, after Beleites launched an online fundraising campaign.
Poop & Pooches joins the ranks of at least a dozen magazines for dog lovers in Germany, including Modern Dog, City Dog, Dog Avenue, Woof and SitzPlatzFuss, (which translates to SitStayHeel).
The first issue featured an article about Hitler and his dog; another looked at “slutty poodles.”
Beleites says he gets a lot of hate mail, and angry phone calls, and he was chased out of a doggie boutique (by a human) when he stopped by in an effort to get it to sell his publication.
(Top photo: Associated Press)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, dog haters, dog magazines, dogs, freelance, freelancer, german, germany, haters, joke, journalist, kot & koter, kot and koter, magazine, magazines, media, pets, poop & pooches, poop and pooches, publications, satirical, writer, writing, wulf beleites
So — yucky as it is — it’s only right to share some news that shows the reverse side of the equation can be true, too.
According to a report from the German newspaper Tagesspiegel, dogs in Berlin are being sickened by human feces left in some public parks frequented by drug users.
Veterinarians say they’ve seen an increase in such poisonings.
Dogs who ingest the waste show symptoms that include shaking, dehydration and difficulty walking. Tests on dogs have found heroin and other illegal drugs present in their systems.
Vets say most cases took place in parks the city’s Treptow and Kreuzberg areas, where drug users are known to gather, especially at night.
Berlin-based veterinarian Reinhold Sassnau told Tagesspiegel that the poisonings are rarely fatal. Most dogs recover if they quickly receive treatment, which includes inducing vomiting. Otherwise, prolonged treatment might be required.
Just something to keep in mind next time you (or your dog) step in a pile of dog poop (or is it?) at the park.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: addicts, berlin, defecation, dog, dog poop, drug, environment, feces, germany, hazard, health, heroin, human, human poop, ingesting, parks, poop, public, toilets, users, waste
It took a couple from Germany to show America the true meaning of dog-friendly – at least when it comes to campgrounds.
It doesn’t mean fencing in a small strip of grass and calling it a dog park. It doesn’t mean welcoming dogs — only for a fee, or only in certain sizes, or only if you follow three pages of special dog rules.
It doesn’t mean seeing dogs as dollar signs. Dog friendliness isn’t simply tolerating dogs, but adoring them, as the proprietors of Four Paws Kingdom seem to do.
So abused and exploited is the term that Meik and Birgit Bartoschek have created their own for describing their 35-acre campground outside Rutherfordton, N.C., where dogs – though they don’t actually rule – are treated like royalty.
America’s first “dog-dedicated” campground, they call it.
With eight dog parks, a lake and a creek (both fenced in to allow dogs to play in them off-leash), two agility courses, bathhouses for both dogs and humans, regularly scheduled activities (also for both dogs and humans), it’s clear that Four Paws Kingdom – which in an unusual variation on a theme, doesn’t allow children — was clearly built with dogs in mind.
The Bartoschek’s — that’s Lucy, one of their two corgis, above — left their native Hamburg in the 1980s. Both had corporate careers, working for a consulting firm that trained employees for jobs in resorts. As part of those jobs, they’d visited 60 countries, but not America. So they chose it for a vacation.
“It was the only place that didn’t remind us of work,” Meik explained.
They liked what they saw of the U.S. and decided to move here
“We quit our jobs and said ‘lets start brand new,'” he said.
“Schroeder went always with us, and that’s how we started camping,” Birgit said. “We brought a trailer so we can go with the dogs, because at that time dogs were not all that often allowed in motels. We saw a lot of campgrounds and we thought there was something missing. And that was doggie friendliness, doggie parks — not just a ten-foot-long stretch where dogs are allowed to pee where already a thousand dogs have already peed.”
They started dreaming of starting their own dog-friendly campground, and making a list of the features it should have, figuring that, with their combined experience in the hospitality industry and their other skills — Meik is a chef, and Birgit an artist and dog trainer — they could make it work.
(Birgit’s art — she paints on silk — is on sale in the lobby, and evident in other parts of the campground. The bathhouses, for instance, have pawprints running across the walls, and the hind ends of dogs painted on the toilet seat lids.)
After several months scouting locations, they settled on one they stumbled upon in North Carolina. They bought the land and started mapping out the campground.
“We were the crazy Germans going through the forest with a measuring tape … We didn’t tell anybody what we were planning to do,” Birgit said.
“We didn’t want to do the coporate treadmill anymore, we wanted to do something for ourselves,” Meik said. “We wanted to be the first. We knew there were corporations with more money than we had who could have put it out faster and even better. But, interestingly, after seven years we are still the first and only dog dedicated campground. There are people who copy certain features we have. More and more campgrounds now say, ‘yeah we have a dog park,’ but look at their dog park and look at ours. It’s like if you drive a Kia or a Mercedes.”
In addition to its dog parks — for big dogs, small dogs, swimming dogs, wading dogs, even one for dogs who want to be alone — the campground has 41 RV sites, three cabins and three fully equipped rental trailers, one of which Ace and I, along with my 18-year-old son, stayed in over the weekend.
Birgit held an agility training class on Saturday morning, and there was a breakfast-for-dinner pot luck Saturday night, followed by a trivia quiz. Activities are scheduled just about every weekend, and every holiday is marked by special events, such as obedience classes, dog swimming classes, doggie massage, and fests for the people as well, including one in which Meik does a dead-on tribute to Dean Martin.
About 95 percent of visiting campers come with dogs, and of the 5 percent who don’t, many are former dog owners who — though they don’t see another dog in their future — still like to spend time around other people’s.
The campground, which opened seven years ago, allowed children for four years, but later decided to cater to adults and their dogs. Children between 3 and 14 aren’t permitted.
“For 95 percent of our visitors, their dogs are family,” Meik said. “Many people, 40 and over, have traded their kids for dogs.”
The campground does require dogs to be on leashes when not in off-leash areas, but with eight dog parks, there’s generally an off-leash area nearby. It also bans pit bulls and Rottweilers, because its insurance company requires it.
They’ve also stopped allowing tent camping, because too many dogs were getting loose.
“Dogs like to escape out of tents, or chew through tents,” Birgit noted. Added Meik, “There were quite a few sites where a dog was left in a tent, and all of the sudden the tent was rolling across the ground like a tumbleweed. Our main priority has to be safety for the owners and the dogs, and the tent’s just not a sturdy enough entity to keep things safe.”
They also don’t hesitate to ask owners of a troublesome or aggressive dog to leave.
In addition to keeping the campground safe, the Bartoscheks are determined to keep it small.
“Any other campground owner would build at least 200 sites on the property. But we said no,” Birgit said. “We want to have nature.”
There’s plenty of that around, with deep woods in every direction.The campsites take up only a small bit of the land. All are named after dogs, and the first three were named after the Bartoschek’s corgis — Schroeder, Linus (deceased) and Lucy.
“With 35 acres, we could put in lots more campsites. We could pave parts over, but then we’d be like a Wal-Mart parking lot. Lots of peers say we should expand, but life isn’t all about bringing in money,” Meik said. “It’s about having a product or something you feel good about, where you get up in the morning and love what you do, and not just look at your bank account.”
Posted by John Woestendiek August 4th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, animals, bartoschek, birgit, cabins, campgrounds, camping, campsites, classes, dog friendly, dog-dedicated, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, four paws kingdom, germany, linus, lucy, meik, north carolina, ohmidog!, pets, rentals, rutherfordton, rvs, schroeder, seminars, trailers, training, travel, traveling with dogs
Police in Walsrode, Germany, say they have trained a vulture named Sherlock to lead them to cadavers.
By placing a GPS device on his leg, they can track him and respond — I’d hope before he’s eaten too much of the evidence.
“If it works, it could save time because the birds can cover much more area than sniffer dogs or humans,” officer Rainer Herrmann told the Daily Mail.
The turkey vulture, a natural scavenger, feeds almost exclusively on carrion, finding its meals through keen vision and a sense of smell that allows it to detect the gasses produced during the decay of dead animals from as high as 3,000 feet in the air.
“‘It was a colleague of mine who got the idea from watching a nature programme,” Herrmann said. ”
Sherlock can even find remains in woodland or in thick undergrowth. Unlike sniffer dogs, who need regular breaks, Sherlock doesn’t seem to get tired and can cover a far larger area.
Sherlock is being trained at Walsrode, the largest bird park in the world with 650 different species.
Trainers hope to assemble a squadron of crimefighting vultures, but — given that the vultures aren’t native to the area, would have to be raised from chicks to be tame, and require lots of training — it will be a while before they are called to duty.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, birds, buzzards, cadaver, cadaver dogs, dead bodies, decay, finding, germany, gps, K-9, k9, locating, news, ohmidog!, pets, police, police dogs, rainer herrmann, scavenger, scent, sherlock, tracking, turkey vultures, vultures, walsrode