These days, it seems to be an idea that rarely fails: Take something that proves popular with humans — be it memory foam bedding, anti-depressants, designer clothing, or day care — and market it to the dog world.
Food trucks for dogs? It was just a matter of time.
The big dog food and treat companies have had them for years — multi-wheeled behemoths, slathered in their own advertising, that pull up at doggie events and sell or offer free samples of their products.
Now, though, you can find doggie food trucks at strictly human events — like the increasingly popular food truck “rodeos” that allow folks to wait in long lines to sample multiple cuisines, then hope their stomachs don’t start bucking like a bronco.
Go to one in North Carolina and you might find — in addition to those trucks dispensing fish tacos, monster burritos or Korean barbecue – there’s one catering to your dog.
“… When you attend the nearest food truck rodeo with your pet, you don’t have to feel bad about not giving Fido a bite of your duck fat-fried tater tots or gourmet grilled cheese,” WUNC reports. “Fido now has her own food truck.”
The Waggin’ Wagon serves up treats not just to good dogs, but for a good cause as well.
It hit the road last summer, operated by the animal rescue group Paws4Ever and established with some pro-bono help from the Durham-based advertising firm McKinney.
All proceeds help Paws4ever’s homeless animals find forever homes.
Waggin’ Wagon’s doggie menu includes bacon fire hydrants, peanut butter bones, chicken parmesan teddy bears, pizza bones and doggie ice cream. The volunteer-run wagon serves goodies from Gourmutt’s Bakery, a Raleigh-based dog treat bakery that opened in 2004.
The Waggin’ Wagon isn’t limiting itself to dog events. It will, for instance, be among the human food trucks gathering for a food truck rodeo June 16 in Durham Central Park, according to its website.
Paws4ever began advocating for animal welfare in 1962, when it was known as the Animal Protection Society of Chapel Hill and, later, the Animal Protection Society of Orange County. The nonprofit organization also administered the county government contract to operate county animal control services and its shelter.
In 2004, the county government ended its contract with the APS of Orange County and the society opened an adoption center of its own, also developing the Felicite Latane Animal Sanctuary on 50 acres near Mebane. In 2008, it changed its name to Paws4ever. In addition to its shelters, the organization also runs a learning center for dog training and a 3-acre dog park.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adoption, animal protection society, animals, chapel hill, cuisine, dog, dogs, durham, food truck rodeos, food trucks, gormutts bakery, humans, Mckinney, mebane, north carolina, orange county, paws4ever, pets, rescue, rodeo, shelter, waggin wagon
It’s not a new trick, but this sort of dog-human merging always seems good for a laugh, and it clearly was for the guys who made this video.
A German shepherd named Odin is the star. That’s his head poking through the shirt collar, gobbling up the peanut butter being fed to him by the human hands coming out of the jacket.
The video was posted March 25 and is already nearing half a million views.
Entitled, ”Odin Eating Like a Person,” it’s a simpler version of “Two Dogs Dining in a Busy Restaurant,” which has 18.3 million views on YouTube. Here it is again:
Posted by jwoestendiek April 9th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, clothing, dog, dogs, dressed as humans, eating, funny, humans, odin, og eating peanut butter, peanut butter, pets, restaurant, video, videos, viral, youtube
With Westminster over and Crufts winding up, halfway between Miss America and Miss USA, it seems a good a time as any to look at our standards of physical perfection — for dogs and humans — and where they came from.
Recent evidence suggests that — at least when it comes to competitions — they all may have started with pigeons, or, more accurately, with humans in pursuit of pigeon perfection.
This, be warned, is not a scholarly presentation — just an impish one – but we will cite the work of some scholars, namely historians at the University of Manchester who say they’ve traced the first use of a physical standard to describe what’s desirable, appearance wise, for a certain a breed of dog.
That dog was a pointer, named Major, but what’s even more interesting to us is where the whole presumptuous idea came from that we humans get to declare what’s perfect when it comes to the sizes, shapes, coats, muscle tone, wingspan or snout length of nature’s creations.
It’s one thing to set standards for our own species — be they male bodybuilders wearing too-skimpy Speedos, or women in swimsuits competing in “scholarship competitions.” It’s quite another to think we have the right to decide the right look for the entire animal kingdom — and then fashion those creatures to better please our eyes.
Apparently we have the pigeon — or pigeon afficianados — to thank. Fancy that.
Modern day dog show standards were modeled after the scoring system used in the 1800s to rate pigeons, according to University of Manchester historians.
They say they have discovered the first attempt to define a physical standard for a dog breed – in an 1865 edition of a Victorian journal called The Field. It was written, in reference to a show-winning pointer named Major, by John Henry Walsh, who used the pseudonym of “Stonehenge.”
The historians say that makes Major the “first modern dog.” Walsh took the system of giving scores for different parts of the body from pigeon fanciers, paving the way for the pedigree dog breeds we know and love today.
That led the way to all the other breed standards, and inbreeding and all the resulting genetic problems, too.
Historians at the University of Manchester believe standards caught on because, prior to them, judging was a pretty arbitrary pursuit, and contestants — the humans hoping to win ribbons, trophies and money through their animals — were often unhappy with the results, leading to disputes.
In other words, with standards in place, the decisions of judges seemed less arbitrary — even though the standards themselves are mostly arbitrary.
In September 1865, Stonehenge published a classification for the pointer which outlined what it should look like, and gave point values to the various section of its body – head and neck 30 points, frame and general symmetry 25 points, legs and feet 20 points, color and coat 10 points.
Articles soon followed on the standards for gordon setters, clumber spaniels, Norfolk spaniels, truffle dogs and fox terriers. Walsh’s edited collection was published in 1867.
“The standard set by ‘Mr Smith’s Major’ must surely be one of the most important milestones in the six-thousand-year-old relationship between canines and man,” said Professor Michael Worboys, head of the University’s Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine.
“As dogs came to be defined as ‘breeds,’ they were bred for greater conformity to breed standards, which meant more inbreeding, and more health problems as dogs were bred from a smaller gene pool … Stonehenge’s classifications set in chain a process where dogs were re-imagined, redesigned and remade.”
The standards weren’t pulled out of thin air. Most often they were based on traits a type of dog had already shown. The bulldog, for example was bred to have a form ideal for grappling with a bull, even though bull-baiting had been banned in 1830.
While both dog shows and breed standards got their start in England, Americans picked up on them, including P.T. Barnum, who after holding dog, bird and baby contests, is credited by some with staging the first modern American beauty pageant.
P.T. Barnum is also often credited with the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Numerous websites will tell you he said that; many more say he did not — that it was instead the owner of a competing circus.
(The Internet is one of those places that has no standards.)
We’re not totally against written standards, just a little bothered when they are arbitrarily imposed by one species on another, or by one majority on a minority.
There are plenty of places we can use some standards – among them hospitals, Congress and corporate empires, like the one belonging to Donald Trump, the modern-day P.T. Barnum who owns the Miss USA pageant.
When it comes to beauty though — human, dog or pigeon beauty — we think that decision is best made not by a checklist, but by the eye of the beholder.
(Photos: Top left, Sheena Monnin, a Miss USA contestant who, after claiming the pageant was fixed, was ordered to pay Donald Trump $5 million; top right, a pigeon, courtesy of U.S. Department of Fish and Wildife ; sketch of Major courtesy of Dr. Michael Worboys, University of Manchester)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beauty, beauty pageants, breeding, conformation, crufts, desirable, disorders, dog breed, dog shows, dogs, donald trump, females, first, form, genetic, humans, ideals, inbreeding, males, miss america, miss usa, perfection, pets, pigeons, pt barnum, shape, size, standards, westminster, written
After a dalmatian owner showed some spotty behavior in Central Park, he has been sued by the man who claims he was attacked by him — aptly enough, the owner of a pointer.
The New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Drogin, owner of a German shorthaired pointer who has competed at Westminster, is suing the owner of the dalmatian he says he was trying to save his dog from.
Drogin said he had just pulled the dalmatian off his dog when the dalmatian’s owner, Ralph Wachtel, 74, “cold cocked and pummeled” him “without provocation or warning,” according to a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
“His dog was on top of my dog, attacking my dog, and I lifted him off by the collar and was walking him away from the fight,” Drogin, a 59-year-old Manhattan engineer, told the Daily News.
Drogin said Wachtel punched him in the head, back and face, breaking one of his teeth. “I made a point of not hitting back. I didn’t want to hit a man that was 10 years older than me.”
Apparently there was some ill will between the dogs, and the dog owners, even before the March 8, 2012 incident, which the Daily News said led to assault charges against Wachtel.
Drogin said Wachtel’s dalmatians had previously gone after his dog Homer, and some of his puppies, too.
Drogin is seeking an unspecified monetary award.
The Daily News said no comment was offered by either Wachtel, or his wife — who the newspaper’s “puparazzi” confronted as she left the couple’s apartment to walk the dalmatians, Arrow and Target.
(Photo: Andrew Savulich / New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, assault, behavior, breeds, central park, dogs, fighting, german short-haired pointer, homer, humans, jeffrey drogin, lawsuit, leashes, new york, park, pets, prizewinning, ralph wachtel, westminster
Minkyu Lee’s directorial debut, “Adam and the Dog,” is one man’s visually stunning take on how man and dog first bonded.
It won the 2012 Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject. It’s one of five Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short Film, and a strong contender, according to some reports.
Betsey Sharkey, of the Los Angeles Times, called it a “painterly” film that “puts you in a musing museum state of mind. Lee captures the unfettered joy of discovery and how that feeling changes and expands when you’re no longer alone.”
The Washington Post called it a “visually masterful … film that perhaps should be considered the front-runner for an Oscar later this month …”
Lee worked on Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” and ”Wreck-It Ralph,” but this is his first own film. The 27-year-old director put up $25,000 and spent two years creating the hand-animated 15-minute film.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 12th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: academy award, adam and the dog, animals, annie award, bond, director, dogs, film, garden of eden, humans, man meets dog, minkyu lee, nominated, oscar, painterly, pets, short
Of the more than 50 street dogs rounded up after five humans were found dead in a Mexico City park, almost half have had tests done on their stomach contents, and none have shown any evidence of having eaten human flesh.
Sources in Mexico City told the Associated Press that initial tests on 25 strays showed none had human remains in their stomachs. An unnamed employee of the city prosecutors’ office said officials were still awaiting results from tests on the dogs’ fur and paws to see if any human DNA was present.
Authorities in Mexico City have blamed five deaths on stray or wild dogs that roam Cerro de la Estrella park, where five mauled human bodies have been found in recent months.
Fifty-seven dogs, including the one pictured above, were swept up in and around the park, prompting protests from animal activists and others who believe authorities aren’t looking closely enough at the possibility that the bodies were killed by drug gangs and dumped there.
Dozens of protesters chanting “free the dogs, arrest the criminals!” and “the dogs aren’t criminals, the police are inept!” demonstrated outside Mexico City police headquarters Friday, demanding the release of the stray dogs.
Authorities say autopsies determined that three women, a teenage boy and a baby found in the park since mid-December died of loss of blood due to bites from multiple dogs.
The protesters, while acknowledging dogs might have fed on the victims after their deaths, say the dogs are being unfairly blamed, and many suspect the victims were killed by humans, then dumped in the park in hopes the stray dogs would destroy any evidence.
Jose Luis Carranza, of the Citizens Front for Animal Rights, was one of those critical of the round-up of strays:
“If the authorities really want to crack down on the overpopulation of dogs, then they should go after the clandestine puppy sellers,” he said. “Every day there are people selling dogs on the streets, and the police don’t do anything.”
The 57 dogs rounded up at the Cerro de la Estrella park, located in a poor Iztapalapa neighborhood, are mostly small to mid-size dogs, and include beagle and border-collie mixes. Twenty-three are puppies or very young dogs, according to the Associated Press report.
On Friday, authorities in Iztapalapa announced that the dogs taken into custody would, once tests are completed, be put up for adoption. They had earlier promised animal rights groups that the dogs would not be killed.
The dogs will get shots, baths and medical treatment before being given away, they said.
(Photo: Dario Lopez-Mills / AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, adoption, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, bitten, Cerro de la Estrella, citizens front for animal rights, contents, dna, dogs, five, humans, investigation, Iztapalapa, Jose Luis Carranza, killed, mauled, mexico city, pets, police, remains, roudup, round up, stomach, strays, street dogs, tests
Ace and I had a visitor over the holidays — a highly vocal, but not too demanding 12-year-old mutt named Gracie.
My cousin and her husband in Charlotte were headed off on a cruise and they were having problems finding a petsitter for Gracie, who has never been kenneled. So I volunteered.
It wasn’t my first adventure in petsitting. I’d had a handful of canine guests in my home in Baltimore, and served as wrangler for three more while housesitting in Santa Fe. I’d learned, both times, that most issues that come up can be easily worked out, usually by the dogs themselves.
I decided they should eat in separate areas, just to be safe, so I’d fill one bowl, and call one dog. Both, because their names rhymed, came. When I said “stay,” both stayed. When I attached their names to the commands – ”Ace stay, Grace come” — that didn’t work either.
Finally, I got one to the porch, and fed the other inside, confusing them both in the process.
On day two, Gracie stopped eating entirely. Even blobs of liverwurst — in which her pills get hidden — had no appeal to her. Wanting her to get at least a little nutrition, I smeared peanut butter on her nose and let her lick it off.
Eventually, I broke out the most special of my special dog treats, and after a good sniffing, she decided to try one. On day three, she was eating normally again, and I’d figured out that feeding them both at the same time in the same place worked best.
By the second day, I’d noticed Gracie, who spent the first night on an extra dog bed, was eyeing mine. It’s only a foot off the ground, but she just stood by it, put her head on it and looked at it longingly. Being old and arthritic — her, not me – I gave her a boost and she spent almost the whole day there.
I worried that Ace, who likes my bed too, would take offense at her occupation of it, but, once I told him it was OK, he just jumped in and joined her.
If they were positioned right, there was plenty of room for both. With only minor repositioning, I could fit in, too.
For walks, I’d take them both on a short one, then give Ace a longer one. That seemed to suit them fine.
What I never totally figured out was Gracie’s whining/singing. She whines when she’s happy, she whines when she’s not. She whines when she wants something. She whines, I think, when she wants nothing at all, except maybe to hear her own voice.
Ace, puzzled by that behavior, quickly got used to it. At first, he’d rush to her side, but eventually — as I kept saying, “What is it, girl, what do you want?” — she became background music to him.
Just about every worry I had, when it came to the two of them, turned out to not be worth worrying about. As long as I supplied the food, water, walks and love, they’d easily figure out the rest — the less help from me, the better.
It’s us humans who make things complicated.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, attention, beds, behavior, complications, dog, dogs, elderly, feeding, grace, gracie, guest, humans, old, pet sitting, pets, petsitting, visitor, walks, whining, worries
The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab in New York City is looking for some playful dogs, and their playful humans.
The lab at Barnard College, run by Alexandra Horowitz , author of Inside of a Dog,” is investigating the different ways people and dogs play together and the behaviors they use.
Whether you and your dog wrestle, engage in tug of war, play fetch, or Scrabble (one of these days I will win), the lab wants to see the two of you in action, and invites you to submit a video.
It’s cataloging all the ways, traditional and non, that people play with their dogs. Project: Play with Your Dog is open to anyone, in any country, and short video submissions — under 60 seconds — are welcome.
To participate, make a video and upload it to the study website. You’ll also be asked to complete a short survey. Those taking part can add a picture to the project’s Wall of Contributors.
Julie Hecht, the canine behavioral researcher who manages the lab, describes it as an opportunity for dog lovers around the world to get involved in scientific research into dog behavior.
“While dog-dog play has been studied extensively, dog-person play, which takes on a different form and appears to have different rules, has not attracted nearly as much scholarly attention,” Hecht noted in a guest blog for Scientific American.
Hecht, who’s also a science writer, adjunct professor in the Anthrozoology Masters Program at Canisius College, and blogger, says play behaviors arise early in a dog’s life. From three weeks onward, puppies show behaviors like wrestling, rolling over, biting, rearing and reciprocal chase.
For dogs, play appears to help them learn social skills such as bite inhibition, and other behaviors they will use the rest of their lives.
Play often incorporates behaviors also found in aggressive interactions, but dogs seem to have found a way to let other dogs know that it is play time, not fight time — the hiney-raised play stance for instance.
“Dog-dog play is more similar to an episode of the Three Stooges than you might have imagined,” Hecht says.
Dog-human play might have some similarities, and some differences — and the lab plans to try and figure that, among other things, out.
Tugging games between dog and human, for instance, seem to be more about keeping the interaction with a human going rather than gaining possession of the object being tugged — at least to the dog.
To learn more about the study, and get details on how to join, visit www.DogHumanPlay.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, barnard, behavior, biting, chase, cognition, dog, dog cognition lab, dog human play, dog-dog, dog-human, dogs, fetch, horowitz, humans, julie hecht, owners, pets, play, play stance, play with your dog, playing, poject, research, run, sought, study, submissions, tug, video, videos
In fact, it wasn’t even a dog cartoon. It was lampooning humanity.
A doctor is examining planet Earth and gives his sad diagnosis:
“I’m afraid you’re infested with humans.”
It so well seemed to sum up our planet’s predicament — and my growing view at the time that dogs are a more trustworthy and pleasant species to be around – that I kept in pinned to my cubicle wall for several years, right up until I, after clawing about, escaped the cubicle.
There have been dozens of witty dog cartoons in the New Yorker over the years — more than twice as many as there have been of cats, according to this graphic presented on The Cartoon Bureau , the blog of New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff:
“The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs,” with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, showcases 76 of them in a volume that would be a proud addition to any coffee table.
According to Mankoff, “The earliest dog cartoons that appeared in The New Yorker, in the 1920s, searched for the shared mental space between dogs and people by projecting personhood on the dogs, who are drawn realistically, and are still obviously real dogs.”
That hasn’t changed much.
Thus, in the cartoon world, you have talking dogs, dogs in business suits, and dogs badmouthing cats, such as in the cartoon to the left.
Dogs do none of those things.
That’s what makes the cartoons funny, and dogs so darn lovable.
You can order the book from Amazon here.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, bob mankoff, books, books on dogs, cartoonists, cartoons, dog books, dogs, funny, humans, new yorker, pets, the big new yorker book of dogs
Having drawn my line in the technogical sand — though it’s subject to being moved — I am managing to get through life for now without texting, or using any mobile apps at all.
But I’ll admit I sometimes wonder what — other than being annoyed more often — I’m missing out on.
If this app is any indication, not much.
“Ever wondered just what your pet would look like as a baby?” read a press release sent to ohmidog! “Well wonder no more.”
Now, thanks to a new app called Petbaby, we can turn a picture of our dog into one of what he or she would have looked like had he or she been born human.
According to the press release, the new cellphone app allows you to “take a photo of your favourite furry friend and turn it into a little human with the simple click of a button! Whether your pet is a dog, cat or even a rabbit bring your pet to life with Petbaby!!”
I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that, or what we’re supposed to do with the finished product. Frame a copy for our desk at the office? Use it on our Christmas cards? Nor do I understand why Petbaby thinks our dogs, already pretty lively, have to be transformed into humans to be “brought to life.”
Merging animals and humans has a long history, most of which, fortunately, is in the realm of science fiction and fantasy, and now apps. Let’s hope — in a world where dogs are being cloned, where human “furries” dress up and pretend to be animals at conventions, where technology has a way of trampling right over reason — it stays there.
Because the result of such morphing — even if it’s just taking place on your iPhone — is creepy.
Even Fierce Mobile Content, a website that keeps up with apps, named Petbaby a “worst entertainment app,” called it “an exercise in extreme stupidity,” and noted in its review the parallels to Dr. Moreau, the fictional mad doctor who created new beings from vivisected animals:
“There’s nothing cute or cuddly about slapping Fido’s eyes and snout on a random baby’s head. In fact, if you saw some half-infant/half-schnauzer mutant on the street, you’d kill it with fire and not a jury in the land would convict you. Babies? Cute. Dogs? Even cuter. But Pet Baby? Ugh. It’s the most warped photo-warping app on the market.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: android, animals, app, apps, babies, cellphone, cloning, dogs, furbabies, furries, humans, iphone, morphing, pet baby, petbaby, pets, photos, technology, warping