Another dog guru debuts this week, joining the ranks of televised trainers who straighten out the bad behavior of dogs, usually by straightening out their human owners.
“Dogs in the City” follows New York City trainer Justin Silver, who in the premiere episode confronts a celebrity bulldog who doesn’t seem to like his owner’s new wife; a Bernese mountain dog with a weight problem; and an office mutt who doesn’t get along with strangers.
The hour-long summer reality series will air Wednesdays on CBS, at 8 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific time).
Silver, a dog trainer, behaviorist and owner of a pet care company, is also a comedian and founder of Funny for Fido, a nonprofit organization that raises money for homeless animals by producing a yearly stand-up comedy event.
According to the show’s press release, Silver “has a creative and instinctive ability to connect with his canine customers while solving dilemmas for their two-legged masters. In each episode, he meets with clients who present a range of relationship problems, lifestyle changes or domestic issues. Justin gets as imaginative as necessary to reach a satisfying resolution, often finding that the owners can be a special breed themselves.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aggression, animals, beefy, behavior, behaviorist, bernese mountain dog, bulldog, cbs, dogs, dogs in the city, guru, issues, justin silver, mutt, new york, overweight, pets, reality, relationships, strangers, television, trainer, training, weight
“I Cloned My Pet” lives again.
And, no — unlike the dogs the show is about – it’s not a repeat.
It was back in January that TLC aired a special broadcast about people who have gotten their dogs cloned — a “documentary” that amounted to little more than an advertisement for the dog cloning industry.
Now the production company that made it has put together a second installment, featuring three new pet owners seeking to resurrect dogs that have died, and TLC will air it tonight at 10 p.m.
If it’s anything like the first, expect another soap opera/infomercial hybrid, with three more highly passionate dog owners, some possibly bordering on bonkers, willing to go to whatever lengths are necessary to bring back a cloned version of their departed dog.
And expect virtually no discussion of any of the disturbing ethical and animal welfare issues surrounding the process.
(You can find those, and the real story behind dog cloning, in my book, “DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”)
The first installment of “I Cloned My Pet” focused on three customers of dog cloning — a service that began being marketed before dog cloning was even achieved (in 2005) and, for a while, was being marketed by three different companies. It’s now provided by only one laboratory in South Korea.
In the first show, viewers saw Danielle Tarantola receive a clone of her beloved dog Trouble; Peter Austin Onruang finally got a clone of his dog Wolfie; and Sheryl Carpenter of Albuquerque got to meet the clone of her mastiff mix, Blue Frankenstein, even though she was serving a 10-year prison term for gun running by the time the dog arrived.
In tonight’s episode, we meet George Semel, a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon seeking a clone of his rescued Chihuahua, killed last year when attacked by a Rottweiler; another Los Angeles resident, identified only as Myra, who’s still struggling with the loss of her dog Kabuki and wrapped up in other emotional turmoil as well; and Edgar and Nina Otto from Boca Raton, who won an online cloning auction with their bid of $155,000 and got a copy of their golden retriever, Lancelot.
If it’s like the first one, the new show will put a premium on creating drama while conveniently overlooking cloning’s dark side. Things like:
- The number of dogs used in the cloning process — both as egg donors and surrogate mothers, all of which are sliced open in the process.
- That those dogs — both in the research stages and in commercial cloning — often come from South Korean dog farms, where they are being raised for meat. The dogs responsible for making a clone of your dog possible could end up on dinner plates.
- What happens to the surplus clones that are often produced, because the process doesn’t work everytime and is done repeatedly to ensure a healthy lookalike.
Expect it to perpetuate the myth most customers seem to believe — that a clone of their deceased dog is the same dog, resurrected. While clones are genetic copies, that doesn’t assure they will have the same personality or behave as the original did.
We’re hoping the second installment of “I Cloned My Pet” doesn’t behave as the original did, but that’s doubtful, because the makers of bad television are a lot like cloners — they like to stick with the formula, churning out the same thing over and over again.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal welfare, animals, blue frankenstein, book, clients, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, commercial cloning, concerns, copying, customers, danielle tarantola, dark side, death, documentary, dog cloning, dog inc., dogs, edgar otto, eternal, eternity, ethics, genetics, george semel, issues, john woestendiek, laboratory, lancelot, life, media, myra, nina otto, peter onruang, pets, science, sheryl carpenter, south korea, television, tlc, trouble, wolfie
In San Francisco, that might be happening — dog owners have mobilized to play a role in the upcoming mayoral election.
Whether it ends up being a decisive role or not, signs are it’s already making the much-needed and often overlooked point that, while dogs can’t vote, their owners can and do.
And, by virtue of that, this point as well, with apologies to Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, this land is my land, but it’s also dogs’ land. So give them access to some of it.
Dog PAC, a recently formed political action committee in San Francisco, held a forum over the weekend attended by seven of 16 mayoral hopefuls. It has since endorsed a candidate in the upcoming election — John Avalos.
At the forum, candidates for mayor in the Nov. 8 election were asked about the cost of dog licenses, dog waste, pet-friendly rental housing and about what has emerged as the biggest doggie issue — the federal government’s proposal to ban off-leash dogs in much of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service is considering mandating leashes in some open spaces and fencing off some popular dog-walking areas to protect native plant and animal species.
With an estimated 100,000 dog owners in the city — with San Francisco being one of several cities in which dogs now outnumber children — dog-owning voters, some pundits are saying, could have a major impact in the November election, and beyond.
In a way, they already are, with some candidates making it a point to publicize their stands on dog issues.
“Making San Francisco a family friendly city means recognizing the multitude of ways in which we define families,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera says on his campaign website. “And in the city of St. Francis, that includes dogs and companion animals.”
Candidate Joanna Rees held her own “Bark in the Park” forum several weeks ago, according to USA Today.
“Dogs are an important part of many families and neighborhoods across our community,” said Rees. “Open lines of communication between City Hall and pet owners … are the foundation of good policy.”
“Dogs are as much an issue as children … There are a lot [of] parent-teachers associations, we’re just like them, but only for the dogs,” said Dog Pac president Bruce Wolfe.
“All different people and all different industries have lobbyists and political action committees looking out for them,” said dog owner Justin Kleisley. “I think it’s good for dogs.”
We agree, and we’d like to see a lot more local dog PACS — from California to the New York island.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, candidates, dog pac, dogs, election, endorsement, forum, golden gate national recreation area, issues, john avalos, mayor, mayoral, national park service, numbers, off-leash, political action committee, politics, power, race, san francisco, vote
Behavior problems are the main reason dogs end up in shelters, the main reason they get returned, and the main reason that some of them never get out.
So it only makes sense that helping dogs and the families that adopt them resolve those issues would lead to far more happier endings and far fewer dogs being put down.
Realizing that, Best Friends Animal Society in Utah has developed a new program in conjunction with the Monmouth County SPCA that matches dog trainers with shelters and families whose dogs have behavioral issues.
Sam Wike, the first trainer accepted into the program, is shown in this video working with Rufus, one of the first dogs referred by Best Friends’ Community Training Partner program. Wike is the lead trainer at Purr’n Pooch, a pet boarding/training/grooming facility in New Jersey.
Rufus, who was in the Monmouth County SPCA, needed a “finishing school” environment in order to be ready to be adopted, Best Friends says. Now he’s completed the training and is ready for adoption.
The main goal of the program is to lower the number of dogs returned to shelters and to counsel people considering relinquishing their dogs because of behavior issues.
When a family comes into the shelter to turn in their dog, a staff counselor sits down with them, and talks through the reasons the family is considering giving up their pet. Owners then are offered the option of training and behavior modification for their dogs, which is funded through the Best Friends program.
“We started this January working with the staff and we’ve also initiated doggy play groups with the shelter dogs,” Wike said. “The play groups help the dogs to learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs. The dogs burn off excess energy romping with each other and it’s a great showcase for their personalities when potential adopters come by the shelter,” Wike said.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: behavior, behavior modification, behavioral, best friends, best friends animal society, community training partner, counseling, issues, monmouth county, new jersey, program, purr'n pooch, relinquish, return, sam wike, shelters, surrender, training
The Humane Society of the United States thinks it’s time animals have a representative in the White House — a human one.
Both the society and the Humane Society Legislative Fund are asking the Obama Administration to appoint an Animal Protection Liaison who would work with the executive agencies and Congress to advance animal protection policies.
The liaison would get involved in matters such as protecting dogs from abuse at large-scale puppy mills, enforcing the federal laws against animal fighting and inhumane slaughter and defending the international ban on commercial whaling.
“These are just some of the critical animal protection issues that depend on the active involvement of federal agencies — in fact, there are 18 different agencies that oversee animal welfare!” HSUS says.
“We have developed a change agenda for animals, which outlines 100 immediate steps the Obama Administration can take to help animals — including millions of pets, farm animals, laboratory animals, and wildlife. With your help, we can ensure the Administration is addressing these critical animal protection issues in an ongoing and sustained way.”
The Humane Society is urging people to sign the online petition to ask President Obama to appoint an Animal Protection Liaison.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 6th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal, animal welfare, dogfighting, government, hsus, humane society of the united states, issues, liasion, obama, petition, president, protection, puppy mills, whaling, white house
It’s a familiar chain of events in many a city — a particular neighborhood, usually by virtue of its location, emerges as desirable. Young and affluent people move in. Real estate prices rise and, with them, taxes. The old neighborhood bars get upscaled. Mom and pop shops close down. Oldtimers start leaving. A Whole Foods opens. Then you step in dog poop.
The fancy word for it is gentrification — and while dogs are, for the most part, innocent bystanders (byrunners? bypoopers?) they often seem to surface as the issue around which gentrifications wars play out.
I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between a recent story out of Venice, California, appearing in the Santa Monica Daily Press, and our situation right here in South Baltimore.
The story looked at a growing conflict between long-time black and Latino members of a Venice neighborhood and affluent newcomers and their dogs. Long-time residents are complaining about the presence of off-leash dogs in the park.
“When families in the neighborhood see the blatant disregard for the law and there is signage throughout the park, it sends a message that they’re above the law and privileged,” said Lydia Ponce, who serves on the Oakwood Park Advisory Board, “It sets up a cultural divide.”
Dog owners, meanwhile, say they are simply seeking a place for their dogs to run — an activity that, properly monitored, impinges on no one’s rights or space. “We’re law-abiding citizens and we don’t want to get tickets for exercising dogs in the morning,” said Dr. Douglas Stockel, who has lived in Venice for five years.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: baltimore, california, cultural divide, divisions, dog owners, dog parks, dogs, gentrification, gentrified, gentrify, issues, leash law, neighborhoods, off-leash, parks, perceptions, residents, stereotypes, tensions, venice
The Humane Society of the United States does not run or regularly fund the nation’s 3,500 animal shelters.
HSUS President and CEO admitted that yesterday on his blog, “A Humane Nation.”
Of course he would have told you that a month or year ago as well, because, despite an “investigative report” out of Atlanta, later retracted, and despite the criticism from a group called the Center for Consumer Freedom, HSUS has not become the mammoth non-profit that it is by proclaiming it provides shelter for America’s homeless pets.
It has implied that it cares about animals, and that it works to improve their lives. It has tugged at your heartstrings in its fundraising spots, and it has made the most of publicizing its work. It has done some things I wouldn’t agree with and failed to do some things I wish it would have. To disagree with its priorities, or some of its policies, is one thing. But to say its an organization built on deception — that it has tried to lead Americans to believe it’s tucking shelter dogs in at night — is off the mark, and overlooks the work the organization does.
“If anyone reads my daily blog, looks at our website, reads our magazines, or scans our email and direct mail letters, you’ll find no claims that we run America’s 3,500 animal shelters, or serve as a granting agency for them—or that any one organization serves this function,” Pacelle wrote on his blog yesterday. “Their accusation is a fiction.”
“CCF and our opponents would love it if we just gave money to shelters. That way, the corporations that fund CCF would have much clearer sailing in conducting their animal exploitation activities … Right now, we’re their worst nightmare, and we are not going away.”
Some critics say HSUS has a secret “vegan agenda” — that it wants to take our steaks away. As a meat lover, and a smoker, and a person who likes smoked meats, I say, even if that were the case, so what? The animals I eat deserve a spokesperson.
“It would be a terrible dereliction of duty if we did not address the other problems of animals in society,” Pacelle wrote. “There are 10 billion animals raised for food, principally on factory farms, in America every year — and that’s nearly 30 million a day. There are tens of millions of animals used in laboratory experiments. More than 100 million killed for sport. Tens of millions killed in the fur trade, and tens of millions killed worldwide in cockfights and dogfights.
While most animal lovers have a pet issue, Pacelle notes, HSUS is trying to look at the big picture, and the roots of what it sees as the biggest problems.
“We have to be there for as many animals as we can, and use our finite resources in a highly strategic way to achieve the biggest impacts,” he wrote.
“While we help many thousands of animals in distress … our primary strategy is to strike at the root of the problem, rather than to address the symptoms. Whether it’s in the field, in the courts, in legislatures, in influencing public opinion, conducting undercover investigations, or by some other lawful and mainstream means, there’s no group that is a greater agent of change or brings the arsenal of tools we do to the fight for animals.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 30th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, atlanta, center for consumer freedom, criticism, experiments, farms, funding, fur, hsus, humane nation, humane society, investigation, issues, laboratory, priorities, report, resources, strategy, tv, vegan, vegetarian, wayne pacelle