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Tag: maryland

Techno-whipped? I pity the fool

In our eighth month of bouncing about this expansive and expensive country, Ace and I seemed headed for our most frugal stretch yet – thanks mainly to lucking out and finding some free housing upon our return to Baltimore.

For the first time, in our continuing effort to see America while spending less than what we were while sedentary and housed – about $1,500 for rent, food and utilities – we were looking at a three digit number instead of four.

Now, thanks to my stupidity, and with an assist from Verizon, we’ve blown it, and somebody has some explaining to do.

Before we left on our journey, I canceled my home Internet service (through Verizon) and signed up for wireless mobile broadband (through a different part of Verizon), allowing us to get online no matter where we were for $59 a month – the package they suggested for a heavy user.

It worked pretty great. There were only two or three locations in our 22,000 miles of travels, where service was non-existent or spotty.

I was so pleased, I even eventually sent Verizon the payment they were seeking from me for home Internet service for the month following the date I moved out of my house. It was basically a choice between paying the money I didn’t really owe, being regularly harassed by the credit agency to which they turned the matter over, or spending far too much time on the phone, holding and then some, to try and straighten it out.

All was going smoothly with my wireless mobile broadband — or so I thought until last week, when Verizon informed me that for the past two months I’d gone over monthly limit, and that I owed them more than $400. Read more »

Does your Valentine await?

Here’s your chance to find true love in Savage, Maryland.

Once again, Camp Bow Wow in Columbia is holding a “Cupids & Canines” event, designed to match up adoptable dogs from various rescue groups with new, loving homes.

This year’s event will be held at Historic Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry Street, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 12.

Similar events are being held throughout February by Camp Bow Wow’s 108 locations across the country, and you can visit their website to find one near you.

The events aim to place rescue dogs in homes, and raise awareness and funds for local animal rescue organizations and Camp Bow Wow’s Bow Wow Buddies Foundation.

The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the health and welfare of dogs worldwide by finding foster and lifetime homes for unwanted dogs, advancing humane education and treatment, and investing in research and treatment for dogs devastated by illness and disease.

“As we grow, it’s truly wonderful to see so many of our franchisees giving back to their communities by helping dogs and shelters in need,” said Heidi Ganahl, founder and CEO of Camp Bow Wow. “The money we raise for our foundation will not only support foster care and adoption programs, but it will also help fund research for canine cancer which takes one in four of our beloved pets.”

Guests at the Savage Mill event can speak with representatives of various rescue groups and meet some of the available dogs. There will also be refreshments, door prized and raffles, as well as discounted micro-chipping. Unless your dog is getting micro-chipped, Camp Bow Wow advises you to leave him or her at home, due to the number of rescue and shelter dogs that will be there.

Out of a Dumpster, into your heart

Here’s a blog we’re hooked on, and one we hope comes to an end soon — for, when it does, that will mean Lollie, the 3-year-old pit bull whose adventures in foster care it chronicles, will have found a forever home.

The blog recounts the foster care experiences of Lollie — full name “Lollie Wonderdog” — who was discovered in September by animal control officers after they received a call about an animal making noise in a dumpster. When they arrived and opened the container, there was Lollie, filthy, half-starved, and covered in cuts and bruises.

Lollie licked the hand of the officer who reached in to scoop her up, and she’s been winning hearts ever since — first at the  Montgomery County Humane Society, where she was known as Lolita. She spent a month there before being taken in as a foster dog by Aleksandra Gajdeczka and family, in late October, at their home in Takoma Park, Md.

“She had clearly been bred for money, abused, and then thrown away — quite literally,” Gajdeczka writes on the blog, entitled ”Love and a Six-Foot Leash: One family’s quest to open minds, win hearts and save lives through the foster program.”

Lollie’s foster family took things slow, introducing her to their other dog, Chick. They taught her to walk on a leash, sit and cuddle — though that last one seemed to come pretty naturally once Lollie became less fearful and more playful.

Gajdeczka says the blog has multiple purposes, but it’s mainly aimed at finding Lollie a home.

“We have a few humble goals in this pursuit: to find our current foster a great ‘forever home’ by revealing her sweetness and her big personality; to encourage others to fostering by sharing our experience; and to show the gentle, loyal nature of pit bull type dogs when kept as family pets.”

Lollie, believed to be a pit bull-bulldog mix,  is available to families within a two hour drive of DC.

“Lollie comes to you with a heart full of love, a clean bill of health, all of her shots/vaccines up-to-date, and already spayed. She is housebroken, does not chew on furniture, shoes, or clothes, and is quiet and cuddly. She is a smart dog, an ultra-fast learner, and has a lot of energy– she would make a great running partner, and may excel in agility training … She is wonderful with adults and children alike, and fine with some dogs– though she would be happiest in a single-dog house. Per MCHS rules, she cannot be adopted by a family with small kids, small animals (cats, rabbits, hamsters . . .), or no prior dog experience.”

The blog tells you all you need to know, should you be interested in adopting Lollie.

It has some great photos (Aleksandra is also a photographer, reachable at dcpetographer@gmail.com), some sweet videos, and nicely depicts not just Lollie’s growth during her time in foster care, but all the love she, like all dogs — even those spurned, ditched or dumped — has to give.

Even better yet, it shows that humans do, too.

(Photos and video by Aleksandra Gajdeczka)

A Penny saved is an honor earned

Even more than we love his name …  Americus Rambeau … we love what the Baltimore police officer did on Dec. 29, 2010 — namely, jump into the icy waters of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to rescue a dog named Penny.

“She was happy to have somebody to hang onto,” he was quoted as saying after saving the dog’s life.

Aren’t we all.

On Jan. 26, at noon, the Baltimore Humane Society (BHS) will honor Rambeau and three other members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Marine Unit for their rescue of Penny, a black lab mix who ran out of her Federal Hill home, across Key Highway and into the harbor.

The ceremony will take place at the shelter building on the grounds of BHS.  The event is open to the public.

Rambeau, along with Sergeant Michael Kain, Officer William Edgar and Officer  John Wagner, arrived by boat to save Penny. She avoided them at first, but once Rambeau was in the water, she allowed him to get close enough to help her.

Once ashore, Penny was treated for “cold-water exposure and hypothermia,” said a spokesman for the BPD Marine Unit.

Penny’s owner, Rachel Naumann, was at work when her roommate opened the front door to sign for a package and Penny, who’s about a year old, got out and headed straight for the harbor, possibly in pursuit of a seagull.

Rambeau, who has multiple cats, told the Baltimore Sun he didn’t hesitate to jump in the water for Penny. He has done the same thing for other dogs, cats, deer and, in 1998, a 79-year-old man.

Naumann picked Penny up from the shelter the next morning, happily paying a $95 fee to pay to reclaim her pet.

“I’m just happy she’s back,” she said.

(Baltimore Sun photos by Kim Hairston)

Back in Baltimore, looking for a home

 

The past week has been a hectic one, mostly spent avoiding snowstorms, seeking out landlines for radio interviews and, just when we thought our traveling was done, traveling some more.

No sooner were Ace and I back in Baltimore than we left again — this time back to North Carolina for my mother’s 85th birthday celebration.

Now we’re back again, just in time for a snowstorm – that’s the ohmidogmobile at the bottom right of the picture — seeking a place to squat for a month or so while we ponder our long terms plans.

Step one is to visit my storage unit to try and find some winter clothes.

We packed for a three-month summer trip. It turned into a seven-month one that didn’t wind up — and in a way still hasn’t — until January was upon us.

Living out of one’s car — convenient as it is in some ways — is a pain in the butt in others. I can easily locate most things I need in the course of a day, but when it comes to things that I only sometimes need, and are thus buried deeper, it’s nearly hopeless, requiring a good bit of unpacking and repacking.

It will be nice to have that chaos straightened out. And Ace, though he has said he enjoys the constant traveling — 22,000 miles of which we’ve done since May – is, in my interpretation, ready for a return to something resembling a routine.

Back from North Carolina, we lodged one night at the home of his godmother, and we’re freeloading for two nights at the home of my teacher friends.

Our goal is to find someplace dirt cheap to stay for a month or two before we wear out our welcomes. I have not been focusing on it as I should, and I think, deep down, it might be because I don’t want to return to the routine.

I want a bed, and a refrigerator, and a TV and heat. I want a big table on which to spread things out. But part of me hesitates to get back into that situation of paying all those bills every month — rent, utilities, Internet, cable, telephone, and all those other things I’ve come to see as sucking away not just my money, but my freedom.

Then, too, promoting my new book “Dog, Inc.: The Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend” — is also taking up a lot of time, most of it spent searching for landlines to borrow for radio interviews.

Speaking of the book, which has been out about 10 days now, it has been having some pretty nice things happen to it.

It got nice mentions in Mother Jones and Real Simple magazines, and was chosen by Parade magazine as a “Parade Pick.” This week, it was named one of January’s ”Mover and Shakers” by Goodreads.com, where it has also gotten some good reviews from the public.

Thanks, public.

Some kind of miracle

Was it an Internet miracle, or a Christmas one? Or does that even matter now that Willis, a Clumber spaniel who went missing just before Christmas last year, is back home?

Willis belonged to Karen Martin, of Portsmouth, Va. Four days before Christmas last year, she went out to her back yard to find him gone. After a year of posting fliers and searching, she’d all but given up hope of finding him.

Little did she know, he was hundreds of miles from home, and had a date with death, metro columnist Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post reported last week.

Picked up by animal control officers in Charles County more than a month ago, Willis had been taken to the Tri County Animal Shelter in Hughesville, Md.  Shelter workers scanned Willis for an identification chip, but, though he had one, it was not detected. Shelter workers put a photograph of the  7-year-old dog on the facility’s “at-risk” list, meaning euthanasia was ahead.

The at-risk list, including a photo of each dog, is e-mailed to animal rescue groups and other dog lovers around the country in hopes that someone might be willing to adopt the animals listed before they are euthanized.

Terry Walker, an office manager for a veterinary hospital in Calvert County, was one of those who received it and recognized the dog pictured as a Clumber spaniel.

After an Internet search, Walker found an organization called Clumber Spaniel Rescue of America, and forwarded the dog’s photograph to the three contacts whose names were listed.

One of them ended up in the spam folder of Sally Day, of Washington Crossing, Pa. — a friend of Willis’ owner, Karen Martin.

She said she was deleting her spam when something told her to open this one.

“A voice said, ‘Open it,’ and the hair stood up on the back of my neck,” Day recalled. “The e-mail was from a stranger, and there was a photograph attached. I instantly thought I recognized the dog. I said, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Karen’s boy.’ ”

Martin called her friend Day, then e-mailed her the photo, and Willis is back home now — a bit the worse for wear from his journey of more than 200 miles. He had an injured eye, a respiratory infection and a skin allergy that had resulted in scratching off patches of hair.

Martin, who now lives in Williamsburg, said she expected this Christmas to be a lot more joyful than last year’s.

(Photo: By Jay Paul / from the Washington Post)

Miracle on Baltimore’s 34th Street

Through the month of December, Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) has been holding a bake sale on 34th Street, an area of Baltimore known for its over-the-top display of Christmas lights.

In addition to raising money for the shelter, BARCS is using the opportunity to educate the public about the shelter and about pit bulls – and how, despite the stereotypes, they aren’t innately evil. Generally, when a pit bull turns bad, it’s a human who has turned him that way.

As if to prove that point — that our problem is not bad dogs, it’s bad humans – a particularly heartless member of the latter species approached the BARCS booth last night, asked a BARCS volunteer if the money was being raised for charity, then ran off with the donation box.

A BARCS staff person chased the thief down the street, and he was eventually caught by another man and an off-duty firefighter.  When police arrived, the box of donations was recovered and the suspect was arrested.

Meanwhile, back at the BARCS booth, 34th Street residents and citizens there to enjoy the lights came forward in droves, offering assistance and donations to replace those that had been stolen.

“Yes, we DO believe in Santa Claus!” BARCS said in a press release yesterday.

 BARCS will be selling baked goods on 34th Street from 7 to 9 p.m. every night through December 31.


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