In fact, he’d prefer it if you’d keep your dog to yourself — out of the park he wants to read in, away from the cafe where he enjoys his Frappuccino, and definitely not in the gym in which he works out.
It was a case of the latter that triggered a well-written, semi-playful, anti-dog diatribe he wrote for Slate last week.
Manjoo argued that dogs are getting too many privileges. He pointed out that not everybody enjoys their presence, cited health hazards they could conceivably pose, and suggested all those people who take their dogs everywhere start leaving them at home.
Not sharing one’s dog? To me, that’s the equivalent of hiding a Van Gogh behind an ironing board in the basement. Or putting a newfound cure for cancer in a time capsule. Or shielding your eyes — just to be safe — from a blazing sunset.
Still, we’d defend Manjoo’s preference to live life without somebody else’s dog in his face. That’s his right. It’s his loss, but it’s also his right.
Manjoo is Slate‘s technology columnist and the author of True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society. So it doesn’t surprise me — he being caught up in all things digital — that he has failed to catch on to or be captivated by the wonder of dogs.
Microchipping aside, dogs and technology are best kept separate. They don’t always get along, maybe because they are the antithesis of each other. Technology may be the cure for everything, but dogs are the cure for technology. We’ll get back to this point, but first let’s look at what Manjoo said — after an unwanted encounter with a Doberman inside his gym.
“The dog came up to me, because in my experience that’s what dogs do when you don’t want them to come up to you. They get up real close, touching you, licking you, theatrically begging you to respond… I guess I was fairly sure he wouldn’t snap and bite me, but stranger things have happened — for instance, dogs snapping and biting people all the time.
“Why was this dog here? And why was no one perturbed that this dog was here?
“…No one was asking because no one could ask. Sometime in the last decade, dogs achieved dominion over urban America. They are everywhere now, allowed in places that used to belong exclusively to humans, and sometimes only to human adults: the office, restaurants, museums, buses, trains, malls, supermarkets, barber shops, banks, post offices… Dogs are frequently allowed to wander off leash, to run toward you and around you, to run across the baseball field or basketball court, to get up in your grill. Even worse than the dogs are the owners, who seem never to consider whether there may be people in the gym/office/restaurant/museum who do not care to be in close proximity to their dogs. …”
Manjoo admits to not being a dog person, but at least — unlike most anti-dog types — he has a sense of humor about it.
“It’s not that I actively despise mutts; I just don’t have much time for them, in the same way I don’t have time for crossword puzzles or Maroon 5,” he writes.
“But here’s my problem: There’s now a cultural assumption that everyone must love dogs. Dog owners are rarely forced to reckon with the idea that there are people who aren’t enthralled by their furry friends, and that taking their dogs everywhere might not be completely pleasant for these folks.”
And seldom, he points out, does anyone whose dog accosts him say they’re sorry.
“… I can promise you she won’t apologize for the imposition. Nor will she ask you if you mind her dog doing what he’s doing. Nor will she pull on its leash, because there won’t be a leash, this being an office, where dogs are as welcome as Wi-Fi and free coffee.”
The same holds true, he notes, at coffee houses.
Here we should point out that the dog pictured atop this post is mine, and that, in the photo, Ace is enjoying an iced coffee product at Starbucks, offered to him by a customer whose behavior indicated she wanted him to visit her table.
When I take Ace to a Starbucks, or most anywhere else, it’s usually pretty apparent who wants to meet him and who doesn’t, and I restrain him accordingly. I don’t have to compile any data or crunch any numbers, I can just tell. It’s not brain surgery, or computer science.
Even though most people go to Starbucks for the free Wi-Fi, or the expensive coffee, I’d estimate about one of two customers wants to meet my dog. Ace — and this isn’t true of every dog — has a way of figuring that out himself, and generally will avoid those who show no interest in him, unless they are in the process of eating a muffin or pastry, in which case he’s willing to overlook the fact they may not be dog lovers.
What makes the numbers even more impressive is that 8 of every 10 customers at your typical Starbucks are under the spell of their computer device and not at all cognizant of what’s going on around them.
Ace is sometimes able to break that spell, at least he does for me.
As for me, I’d rather have access to Fido then Wi-Fi anyday. Fido will soothe me. Wi-Fi will likely, at some point, make me angry and frustrated. Fido will focus me. Wi-Fi will distract me. Wi-Fi will accost me with uninvited and intrusive messages, and send me alerts, and remind me of all the things I need to do today. Fido will remind me all those things aren’t really that important and can wait until tomorrow. Wi-Fi will take me out of the moment; Fido will keep me in it. Wi-fi has no soul. Fido does, and his presence allows our souls – those of us who have them — to be refreshed. Dogs keep us from becoming an entirely manic society.
No one, if I have my laptop on, will want to come up and pet it, except maybe Farhad Manjoo, who — while not having the least bit of interest in my dog — is probably curious about my gigabytes and apps.
On this much I will agree with Manjoo: There are dog owners who seem unaware that not everybody will delight in their dog, oblivious to the fact that some might find their dog annoying and intrusive. Similarly, though, there are parents of children who don’t realize not everybody will delight in their antics. Similarly, too, there are grown-up people who fail to realize that they themselves are annoying and who we’d prefer not to have inflicted upon us.
Unfortunately, we can’t just ban them. Our choices are limited. We could work on being tolerant – of all ages, sizes, shapes and species, despite their noise, intrusiveness and abrasiveness levels. Or we could go somewhere else. Or we could complain.
Sometimes, when visiting a Starbucks or other coffee place, I wonder if I should lodge an official complaint with management about Wi-Fi — objecting to its omnipresence, and how it seems to be turning people into keyboard-pushing zombies.
“No,” I’d say, “I’m not technically allergic to it, but I’m uncomfortable with it near. I’ve had some bad experiences with it. Sometimes it bites people when they least expect it, and I’m pretty sure it harbors germs.”
“But it’s wireless,” the manager might say.
“Exactly,” I’d say with a huff. “Put a leash on it.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, apps, behavior, cell phones, coffee, common sense, computers, culture, devices, digital, dislike, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dominion, farhad manjoo, fear, gyms, hate, laptops, leash, leashed, love, manners, parks, pets, place, privileges, public, rights, slate, society, starbucks, technology, unleashed
We’re not big on dogs being tethered to anything — posts, parking meters, even, except when necessary, humans.
And, entanglements sometimes being easy to get into and hard to get out of, it’s definitely not a good idea, generally speaking, to leash them to each other.
But this was brief, and supervised, and kinda cute.
Ace was recruited into babysitting duty over the weekend when, on the quatro de Mayo, we went to a Cinco de Mayo party at a former neighbor’s home.
Two other guests brought their little dogs. First came a pipsqueak of a pup named Penny who, after greeting everyone, still had lots of energy to spare. With a fairly busy road nearby, it was suggested Penny be tethered to a somewhat stationary object — namely Ace.
Plus, he was used to being latched to smaller dogs, having shepherded a dachshund friend several times without stepping on him.
Plus, he was so happy to return to his old neighborhood he wasn’t about to dart off, or even saunter off, dragging two little balls of fluff behind him.
Plus, I was watching over it all pretty closely.
Ace didn’t seem to mind the arrangement a bit, and Penny put up with it, sometimes walking along in stride with him. She figured out pretty quickly, when she did try to scoot of on her own, that it was hopeless.
After exploring together, Ace decided to lay down, and Penny settled nearby, finding a stick to chew on.
About then, Charlie arrived, another fluffy little dog — slightly larger than Penny. That led to an energy surge, at least among the smaller, younger dogs, so we decided to hook Charlie to Ace, too.
As Charlie and Penny frolicked, Ace monitored them for a while, then worked the crowd, begging for food and ignoring the occasional little tugs on his harness.
Eventually, Charlie and Penny were freed, and they were so into playing, they didn’t go anywhere, except in tiny circles around each other — ignoring their babysitter entirely.
I think Ace liked briefly having a mission.
Like all good things though, it came to an end.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, babysitter, babysitting, backyard, charlie, cinco de mayo, dogs, harness, leash, leashed, party, penny, pets, play, supervision, tethered, tethering
In the old days, when a newspaper columnist started writing about his dog, it meant — at least in the eyes of your more crusty and jaundiced types — he or she had run out of things to write about.
Of course, it (usually) wasn’t true then. And it’s even less true now.
Newspapers, as they did with the Internet, have belatedly realized that dog stories are important, that dog stories draw readers, and that dog stories are actually human stories, in disguise. They’ve finally begun to catch on to dog’s new place on the social ladder, and the wonders within them, and the serious issues surrounding them, and that they are far more than just cute.
None of which probably mattered to Steve Lopez when he decided last week to tell the story of his family’s new rescue … rescue-me-again … rescue-me-one-more time … dog.
Who is also pretty cute.
Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, decided with his wife that their daughter, at age 9, was ready for a dog. Their search took them to Tailwaggers, a pet store in Hollywood, where adoption fairs are hosted by Dogs Without Borders. Though dogless for many years, Lopez knew rescuing a mutt — as opposed to purchasing a purebred — was the preferred route these days.
Canine ownership has gotten a lot more complicated than it was when he was a kid, noted Lopez, who definitely has a crusty side.
“First of all, unless you want a rescue dog, you face the withering judgment of do-gooders who have devoted their lives to saving pups from the boneyard,” he wrote. “…I live in Silver Lake, not far from a sprawling dog park. And if an abandoned infant were spotted on the curb of that busy corner, across the street from a dog with a thorn in its paw, I guarantee you dozens of people with porkpie hats and tattooed peace signs would rush to the aid of the dog instead of the child.”
At the adoption fair, his family became enchanted with a 3-year-old Corgi mixed named Hannah, who was described as “a very timid, shy and fearful little girl ” in need of “a home where she can blossom!”
(As Lopez, author of “The Soloist” and other books, may have noticed, those involved in the world of rescuing and rehoming dogs tend to use a lot of exclamation points!)
They then began the adoption process, which, he noted, required many forms: “As I recall, applying for a mortgage wasn’t quite as involved. And many of the agencies insist on a home inspection, as well as a donation fee of up to $450.”
They took Hannah home for a trial period, as a foster. There, unlike at the fair, she refused to walk on a leash.
To get her to go to the bathroom, Lopez says he carried the dog, who they renamed Ginger, to the bottom of the driveway. Given she didn’t move when he put her down, and to build some trust, he said, Lopez unhooked the leash.
Ginger took off.
Lopez ran to his car and began the search.
“My daughter had waited five years for this pup, and I’d lost her in five minutes.”
His wife called the adoption agency to report the escape and got a scolding for letting the dog off her leash. “I must admit, they had told us rescue dogs can be runners, and that we shouldn’t let them off the leash,” Lopez wrote. “On the other hand, if you’re going to call yourself Dogs Without Borders … what message are you sending?”
They searched all day, put up fliers, and posted Ginger on Craigslist as a missing dog. The next day, they found her on a neighbor’s patio and took her home.
The next day, a Monday, Lopez returned from work to learn Ginger had jerked away while being walked and disappeared again, this time dragging her leash. Reasoning that maybe Ginger didn’t want to be there, he and his wife agreed that — once they found her again — they might want to return her.
“Maybe she’d been abused, but it seemed unlikely she’d ever be the warm and cuddly family pet we wanted our daughter to have.”
On Tuesday morning, Lopez was awaked by a scratching sound on the front door. When he opened it, Ginger walked in, her leash still attached. That sight, it seems, cut right through the columnist’s crusty parts.
“We’re keeping this dog,” he said.
I’d be willing to bet they do, and that someday — when there’s nothing else to write about, or even when there is — we’ll be reading about her again.
(Photo of Ginger by Steve Lopez / Los Angeles Times)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 7th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, author, best friend, column, columnist, corgi, dog, dogs, dogs without borders, family, ginger, hannah, home, leash, los angeles, los angeles times, media, mix, news, newspapers, pets, rescue, runaway, soloist, steve lopez, tailwaggers
A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday on behalf of Gary Hesterberg, the California man who was Tased by a National Park Service ranger after being detained for having one of his two small dogs off-leash.
“There is something seriously wrong when walking your dog off leash in a National Park can get you Tased,” said Michael J. Haddad, Hesterberg’s attorney.
”The law is clear that an officer may only Tase someone who poses a substantial and immediate threat. All Gary Hesterberg did was walk away after receiving his leash warning.”
Hesterburg, an electrician from Montara, California, had previously filed an administrative claim seeking $500,000 in compensation from the United States and the ranger for his injuries and the violation of his civil rights.
That claim — a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government — was rejected by the Department of the Interior on January 25, 2013. The complaint filed in court yesterday is a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Park Ranger Sarah Cavallaro stopped Hesterberg in January of 2012 as he was walking his dogs in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and warned him that both of his dogs needed to be on a leash.
When Hesterberg attempted to walk away with his dogs she shot him in the back with her Taser, caused him to be arrested, and had him taken to jail, the lawsuit says.
Hesterberg, the lawsuit says, told Cavallaro he had a heart condition before she Tased him.
The lawsuit says the type of Taser used can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. After the ranger pulled the Taser barbs from his back, Hesterberg remained in handcuffs for three hours, and remained in jail until after midnight, the lawsuit says.
The district attorney declined to pursue any charges against him.
The United States Department of the Interior found that Ranger Cavallaro’s conduct was consistent with park service policies: “From our review of the circumstances surrounding the tasing for Mr. Hesterberg, it appears that the officer’s actions were reasonable.”
(Photo: Hesterberg and his dogs, a beagle and rat terrier, San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, civil rights, dog, dog walking, dogs, federal court, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, lawsuit, leash, national park service, pets, ranger, rules, tased, taser, tasing, unleashed, walking
Lucy, a husky mix from Greenville, S.C., has been named the worst behaved dog in America by Camp Bow Wow, the pet care franchise — and as winner of that dishonor she’ll receive some much-needed training.
Camp Bow Wow reviewed hundreds of entries in its national “Bad to the Bone” contest before deciding on Lucy, an obedience school dropout who chews so much her nickname is “The Destroyer.”
Owned by Eve Memmer, Lucy will receive a full year of services from Camp Bow Wow and formal dog training from a Camp Bow Wow Behavior Buddies certified trainer, according to a press release.
“We’re so excited to have won the ‘Bad to the Bone’ contest,” said Eve Memmer. “Lucy is a close part of our family – we love her dearly. But she’ll chew on anything in sight, she dashes out of doors and lunges at other dogs when she’s on a leash. Lucy is in need of some serious dog training …”
The 60-pound, 11-month old husky mix once used her teeth to bend the bars of her crate and escape. She has tried a training class before, but it produced few results.
“We’re eager to see Lucy’s transformation from naughty pup to star pupil,” said Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow. “All dogs need a little direction when it comes to training and behavior and we anticipate that Lucy’s lovable nature will outshine any mischievous conduct.”
Camp Bow Wow’s efforts to reform misbehaving dogs won’t end with Lucy. Fifty of the “Bad Dog” finalists have been entered into the next phase of the contest known as the “Face Off,” whose winners, determined by Facebook voting, will receive a gift certificate for Camp Bow Wow or Home Buddies services.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 22nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bad dogs, bad to the bone, behavior, behavior buddies, camp bow wow, chewing, contest, dog training, dogs, eve memmer, greenville, husky, leash, lucy, lunging, misbehavior, mix, naughtiest, pets, south carolina, the destroyer, trainers, training
What happens when you decide to walk a dog whose head alone probably weighs more than your entire body?
First, you grab the leash and pull. When he doesn’t budge in the slightest, as is often the case when that dog is a bulldog, you pull again.
What happens when the bulldog finally gets pointed the right way and builds up some momentum?
Quite possibly, if you weigh less than his head, you will fall down.
What happens when you fall down?
You get back up.
(George, a 70-pound, 3-year-old English bulldog, was attending Tuesday night’s Winston-Salem Dash game. It was the first of five “Pups in the Park” nights to be held this summer, sponsored by the Forsyth Humane Society.)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baseball, bulldog, dogs, english bulldog, forsyth county humane society, george, how to walk a bulldog, leash, minor league, north carolina, pets, photography, pups in the park, walking, winston salem dash, winston-salem
A Greenfield, Mass., woman is facing animal cruelty charges after her car apparently dragged her dog for four miles.
Police received a report Sunday morning that a black dog was being dragged from the driver’s side of a car in Turners Falls.
When police arrived, they found a man and a woman coming out of a wooded area, where the body of a dog had been discarded, WWLP (22News) reported.
The woman was identified in police records as Shylo Valego of Greenfield. The man is identified as Casey A. Aiken of Turners Falls.
The two had originally told police that they did not know who the animal’s owner was and had found it dead in the road. Later, Valego admitted the dog belonged to her, police said.
An examination of the vehicle led police to conclude the the dog’s leash was trapped in the vehicle’s driver’s side door as the woman drove from her Greenfield home into Turners Falls; a distance of about four miles.
She was charged with cruelty to animals, obstruction of justice, and possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Aiken is charged with obstruction of justice and being an accessory after the fact.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animal cruelty, animals, car, charged, cruelty to animals, dog, dogs, door, dragged, four miles, greenfield, leash, massachusetts, owner, pets, turners falls
There’s a new product on the market called “Dog Flags” — designed, their maker says, to “simplify the relationship between dog owners and the public at large.”
They come in five colors, with five labels — “Please Don’t Approach,” “Friendly,” “I’m in Training,” “Special Needs,” and “I’m Shy.”
You attach them to your dog’s leash. They cost five bucks. They also come in bandana form.
“With over 80 million owned dogs as pets in the United States alone, being able to know at a glance which canines you can approach and which ones you should leave alone goes a long way to avoiding unwanted incidents,” the company behind them says.
The flags may not be an entirely stupid concept. But they do over simplify things. Flag or not, it’s still best to ask the owner. Dogs, like humans, can be friendly one day, shy the next. To put a “Special Needs” label on your dog would seem to raise more questions than it answers — not that there’s anything wrong with that. And as for “I’m in Training,” aren’t we all? Pretty much always?
As for those dogs who need a red flag, some of them shouldn’t be out in the park/streets/coffee shops in the first place — at least not in those cases where they are still under the guardianship of the human who most likely turned them into a red flag dog. Then again, those humans aren’t likely to purchase a flag for their dog, anyway.
The tiered color system is similar to that used at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah, but that’s a special environment where dogs are being rehabilitated. To suggest that all dogs in society should bear temperament flags (though nobody is, yet) is a little too Big Brotherish for my taste.
While there may be situations in which they come in handy, Dog Flags seem a shortcut to a more desirable scenario, a public — and I’m talking about both dog owners and non-dog owners — that’s more educated about dogs and how to approach and treat them.
Planting flags on dogs — “I hereby proclaim you … Shy” — seems a tad paternalistic. As with shock collars, my opinion is, unless you’re willing to try one on yourself first, don’t subject your dog to it.
Then again, Human Flags could come in handy.
I would probably get a yellow one — not for Ace, but for myself — and perhaps a red one for times I want to be alone, and maybe a green one for when I’m feeling frisky.
If they ever come out with a purple one that says “Freak,” I would probably get it, too, for there are times — rare though they are — that I feel like letting my freak flag fly.
If I did get one for Ace, it would have to be the green one. Sometimes, people veer away and cross the street when they see him. People often assume because he’s big he must be mean, or at least don’t want to get close enough to find out. But I’d probably rather a select and interested few take the time to slowly approach and get to know him than slap a “friendly” label on him and have children start climbing aboard.
“With … dogs increasingly going to human destinations, such as coffee shops, and cafes, Dog Flags become an important tool in preventing unnecessary incidents,” the Dog Flags website says. “… When your dog is wearing Dog Flags, everyone will know what to expect.”
It’s not that quick and easy. One can never totally know what to expect, with dogs or humans. So we suggest approaching both with a little bit of caution — no matter what their flags say.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bandana, behavior, blue, colors, dog flags, dog products, dogs, flags, friendly, green, humans, i'm in training, labels, leash, orange, pets, please don't approach, products, public, red, relationship, shy, special needs, tags, temperament, warning, yellow
The county worker, who was not named by the Sheriff’s Department, was treated for leg injuries and released from a hospital hours after the Friday incident.
Arune Kavaliauskaite, 28, of Altadena, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Los Angeles Times
The Sheriff’s Department said Kavaliauskaite was warned repeatedly after her dog was spotted running without a leash at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena.
After the third warning, Kavaliauskaite became angry, grabbed her dog and got into her car, the sheriff’s department said in a statement.
“The victim was standing a short distance away from the vehicle taking a picture of Ms. Kavaliauskaite in the vehicle for future identification. Ms. Kavaliauskaite accelerated forward with the vehicle into the victim striking her in the legs and knocking her back into a parked vehicle,” the statement said.
Kavaliauskaite drove away from the scene but was arrested at her home later that evening.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arrest, Arune Kavaliauskaite, assault, behavior, california, county, dog, dogs, Eaton Canyon Nature Center, employee, leash, leashed, news, off-leash, park, pasadena, pets, rules, struck, unleashed, warnings
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is asking for an investigation into last weekend’s arrest of a dog walker who was Tasered by a park ranger in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Montara.
Speier sent a letter to GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean expressing her concerns and requesting information about the arrest of Gary Hesterberg, of Montara, who was walking his dogs off-leash when stopped by the park ranger.
“Many of my constituents are understandably angered by what appears to be an excessive use of force by a park ranger,” Speier said “From the information I have to date, it does not appear that the use of a Taser was warranted.”
Speier worked closely with state officials on the use of tear gas, stun guns and pepper spray while she was in the California legislature, a local NBC affiliate reported.
She says she has requested information about training in Taser usage for park rangers and also about how the public was informed about dog policy changes at Rancho Corral de Tierra.
According to witnesses, the dog owner — who had one of his two dogs leashed when he was stopped — repeatedly asked why he was being detained, and eventually told the ranger to cite him or he was going to walk away.
“He started to walk away and she told him that she would Tase him if he walked another step,” one witness said. When the man turned, the ranger deployed her Taser, causing him to fall to the ground.
Advocate groups for dog owners, including Montara Dog and DogPAC of San Francisco, have asked the National Park Service to investigate the incident and to cease ticketing dog walkers in Rancho Corral de Tierra.
GGNRA officials said the dog walker provided false information to the ranger and refused the ranger’s repeated orders to remain at the scene while his identity was confirmed. They said they are are reviewing the incident.
The 3,800-acre property was transferred to the park service by the Peninsula Open Space Trust in December. While dogs were once allowed off leash there, the park service changed the rules, requiring all dogs be on leashes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, congresswoman, dog walker, dogs, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, jackie speier, leash, leashed, montara, national park service, park ranger, pets, rancho corral de tierra, rules, stun gun, tased, taser, tasered, unleashed