Those New Zealand shelter dogs we told you about last week — the ones being trained to drive a car — succeeded. And two of them may soon be moving to new adoptive homes.
The New Zealand Herald reports that adoption offers have been pouring in for two of the three dogs that made their driving debuts on Campbell Live.
Monty and Porter seem to be in high demand, while Ginny, a 1-year-old whippet mix — though she can drive as well as the others — isn’t generating lots of interest.
The dogs underwent eight weeks of training, culminating in piloting a Mini Cooper around a track Monday.
It was all part of a promotional campaign by the Auckland SPCA to show how intelligent, and worthy of adoption, shelter dogs can be.
Auckland SPCA CEO Christine Kalin said many adoption offers have been received for two of the driving dogs – Porter, a 10-month-old beardie cross, and Monty, a giant schnauzer cross.
She thinks Ginny receiving less “airtime” might be the reason there is less interest in her.
As for Porter and Monty, the SPCA is still determining which of the many applicants will get to adopt them.
“The key issue for us is about finding the best home possible for those dogs because they’ve done an exceptional job of being ambassadors for all SPCA animals throughout the country,” Kalin said.
You can find more details at the Auckland SPCA website.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopt, adopted, adoption, animals, applicants, auckland, car, dog, dogs, drive, driving, driving dog, driving dogs, drove, ginny, intelligent, monty, new zealand, pets, porter, shelter, spca, success, trained, video
Three shelter dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car by a local SPCA, and one of them will be demonstrating his skills behind the wheel on live television next week.
The SPCA in Auckland had the dogs trained in how to shift gears, brake and steer — all part of a marketing campaign aimed at demonstrating the intelligence of rescued dogs.
The SPCA hired animal trainer Mark Vette to teach driving to the dogs — Monty, an 18-month-old giant schnauzer whose owner was unable to control him; Ginny, a one-year-old whippet cross who was rescued from abusive owners; and Porter, a ten-month-old bearded collie cross who was found roaming the streets.
The dogs underwent five weeks of indoor training to encourage them to touch and move brakes, gear sticks and steering wheels, and received treats along the way, New Zealand’s TV3 reported. Once they mastered the basics, they were given a mock car to practice with.
“No animal has ever driven a car before so what we’re going to do is we’re going to do a straight and we’re going to head off, so we’ll start the car, get into position, brake on, gear in place, back onto the steering wheel, accelerator, take off and hoon along the straight and then stop.”
(Not speaking New Zealandese, we can’t tell you what “hoon along” means.)
“In this case we’ve got ten behaviors we’re all putting together, so each behavior is a trained behavior and then you put them into a sequence,” Vette said. “So it’s a lot to do, and for the dog to actually start to get an idea of what actually is happening takes quite a long time.”
On Monday, Monty the dog’s driving abilities will be tested on the television show Campbell live, shown nationally in New Zealand. (You can learn more about the project on its Facebook page.)
“I think sometimes people think because they’re getting an animal that’s been abandoned that somehow it’s a second-class animal, SPCA Auckland chief executive Christine Kalin to Newscom.AU. “This really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”
(Photos: Auckland SPCA)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abandoned, adoption, animals, auckland, bearded collie, brake, car, dog drives car, dogs, drive, driving, gear, giant, ginny, learn, mark vetter, mix, monty, mutts, new zealand, pets, porter, rescue, schnauzer, shelter, shift, spca, stray, taught, trainer, whippet
One of Queen Elizabeth II’s corgis has passed away.
Monty, who was 13, died at Balmoral, the royal family’s Scottish estate, over the weekend, USA Today reported.
Monty appeared with the queen and actor Daniel Craig in a James Bond sketch that opened the London Olympics in July. He was in the news more recently after getting into a fight with a terrier owned by the queen’s granddaughter, Princess Beatrice.
Monty, whose cause of death wasn’t mentioned, once belonged to the queen’s mother, and was named after American horse whisperer Monty Roberts, who has advised the queen on both her horses and her dogs.
All of the queen’s corgis — there have been more than 30 — were descended from Susan, the corgi she received for her 18th birthday from her father, George VI, who got his first corgi in 1933.
Monty is expected to be buried at the pet cemetery at Balmoral started by Queen Victoria in the 19th century.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, balmoral, corgis, dead, dies, dogs, elizabeth, james bond, monty, olympics, pets, queen, queen elizabeth, queen elizabeth II, royal family, royalty, sketch
At the Yale University Law Library, you can check out ”Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law.” You can check out “The Supreme Court A to Z: A Ready Reference Encyclopedia.”
Or, you can check out Monty, a terrier mix whose mission, in an experimental program started this month, is to de-stress, during final exam time, the litigators of tomorrow.
You’d think a genius farm like Yale University would have figured out sooner — as some smaller and lesser known colleges have — that dogs can, physically and emotionally, help students through troubled or stressful times.
But, for the school whose mascot is an English bulldog named Handsome Dan, it’s better late than never.
In the pilot program, students can check out Monty – a 21-pound “certified library therapy dog” who provides 30-minute sessions of what ABCNews describes as “unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.”
“The interest in available slots has been high,” said Jan Conroy, a spokeswoman for Yale Law School.
In a March 10 memo, law librarian Blair Kauffman said she hoped the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program would be “a positive addition to current services offered by the library … It is well documented that visits from therapy dogs have resulted in increased happiness, calmness and overall emotional well-being.” The memo directed students to the website of Therapy Dogs International for more information.
The school has yet to decide if the program will be ongoing. Likely, it being Yale Law School, there are liability concerns — the type that are known to paralyze bureaucracies and often limit the good dogs can do, based on mostly baseless fears.
Monty, for example, though he is said to be hypoallergenic, will hold his visits in a “designated non-public space” in the library to eliminate “potential adverse reactions from any library user who might have dog-related concerns.”
Concerns have also been expressed about the sign-up list for Monty being in a visible spot. That, the overly fearful fear, results in students having to expose their need for a mental health session — or at least some time with a dog — in public.
Monty — whose full name is General Montgomery – belongs to librarian Julian Aiken. And the pilot program got started after a Yale legal blog jokingly suggested making Monty available for checkout.
Therapy dogs have been introduced at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Oberlin College in Ohio and UC San Diego to help students get through the pressures of mid-terms and finals.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, exams, experimental, final, general montgomery, julian aiken, law school, law students, lawyers, legal, liability, librarian, library, mental health, mid term, monty, oberlin, pets, pilot, program, relief, stress, students, therapy, therapy dogs, tufts, university, yale