Tag: national geographic
Dogs crave attention. Humans crave attention. So it’s only logical to assume that, being both, Boomer the dog, also known as Gary Matthews of Pittsburgh, requires large doses of it.
He got some from ABCNews.com last week. Although there haven’t been any major developments in his life or legal case, the website ran a lengthy feature on the 48-year-old retired technology worker man who eats dog food, wears a collar, barks at cars and wants to have his name legally changed to Boomer the Dog.
Matthews petitioned a court in 2010, but his request for a name change was denied. He appealed that ruling, and lost again in 2011 – a development he laments on his website, Boomerthedog.com:
“I believe that everyone should be able to choose the name that they would like. We didn’t get a choice when we were born, we were given names. Since we can build the identities that we choose to carry on in life with, why can’t we choose a name that goes along with it, recognized by everyone, even on official ID?”
The original judge ruled that the request for a name change was frivolous, but Matthews said plenty of other cases have been approved, including, a man in Oregon who had his named changed to Captain Awesome, and a man who legally changed his name to that of his band and is now known as the Dan Miller Experience.
Matthews — who was featured in June on the National Geographic Channel program “Taboo,” in an episode called, “Extreme Anthropomorphism: Boomer the Dog”– wears a costume made out of shredded paper and considers himself a furry. He can often be seen wandering around Pittsburgh, his hometown.
“When I go out, I get the feeling and I wave to people as a dog,” he said. “I go to local festivals because kids like the costume. That’s my way of reaching out to people and spreading the word that I can be myself in life. They see that you can have fun in adulthood. But I am kind of a loner dog.”
“Sometimes I sleep in my dog house, which is up in the attic – I built it myself,” he added.
He enjoys Milk Bones and eats dog food (canned), but not all the time. “I eat regular human food, too, like pizza,” he told ABC.
Matthews said he got the name from the television series about a stray dog called “Here’s Boomer,” which ran from 1979 to 1982.
But he traces his obsession with dogs to long before that.
“It’s been a long process,” he said. “It started when I saw “The Shaggy DA” in 1976 when I was 11 years old. I went with my Dad to see it. I was already a dog freak and collecting pictures of dogs. I saw this movie and there was something different about it — the dad transforms into a big sheep dog. I had never seen that idea played out anywhere.”
“I started playing dog and getting into it,” said Matthews. “It was like a kid thing. Sometimes, I would bark or maybe get into a big box and peek out with my paws over the side of it like a dog would do. In a couple of years, I really got into it. … Maybe I was looking for a personality to have.”
Matthews said he lives off a trust fund left to him by his parents.
“Going public with being a dog isn’t just about the name change,” he said. “That’s only the most recent thing that I’m focusing on, because really, being a dog is about everything — it’s the way that I live.”
Matthews said he often got teased when acting like a dog as a child. “I got flak for it,” he said. “My parents didn’t like it. Earlier on, they saw it as a kid thing and they laughed. But at a certain point in time there are adult expectations and they want you to go off to work and date. Society wants to straighten you out.”
Other children teased him and he was sent to a “special school” for teens with social and emotional problems, but he insists there is nothing wrong with him.
“I see it as a lifestyle,” he said. “I just live differently.”
(Photos: From Boomerthedog.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 13th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anthropomorphism, boomer, boomer the dog, change, costume, court, dog, dogs, extreme, furries, furry, gary matthews, man, name, name change, national geographic, paper, pets, pittsburgh, suit, taboo, wants to be a dog
As a footnote to our discussion yesterday on animals and emotions, we bring you the story of Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s when she died last year of congestive heart failure.
As the photo above shows, a crowd of fellow chimps gathered and watched solemnly as she was wheeled to her burial.
The November issue of National Geographic magazine features the photograph, which has since “gone viral,” turning up in websites, TV shows and newspapers around the world, according to a National Geographic blog
The photographer, Monica Szczupider, is a volunteer at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, where Dorothy had lived for eight years. The center houses and rehabilitates chimps victimized by habitat loss and the illegal African bushmeat trade.
After a hunter killed her mother, Dorothy was sold as a “mascot” to an amusement park in Cameroon, where she spent the next 25 years tethered by a chain around her neck, and was taught to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for the amusement of onlookers.
In May 2000, Dorothy was rescued and relocated along with ten other primates. As her health improved, she cared for an orphaned chimp named Bouboule and became a close friend to many others, including Jacky, the group’s alpha male, and Nama, another amusement-park refugee.
“Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group,” Szczupider said. “The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration. But perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blog, burial, cameroon, chimp, chimpanzee, chimpanzee rescue, dorothy, emotions, funeral, grief, grieving, magazine, mourn, mourning, national geographic, sanaga-yong
And that’s how Sidney, the high jumper above, came to grace the cover of “Raditude.” The album comes out Oct. 27.
The shot of Sidney was entered in a reader-submitted photo contest sponsored by the magazine. When Cuomo spotted it, according to Spinner, he decided to track down the photographer.
The band then lucked out big time. When they got in touch with the winning photographer, Jason Neely of Middletown, Conn., to seek his permission to use the shot, it turned out he was a big Weezer fan. Here’s Jason’s Flickr page.
There’s a cat in the photo, too, though it’s difficult to spot.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: album, band, cover, dog, dogs, flickr, jason neely, music, national geographic, photo, photograpy, raditude, rivers cuomo, sidney, weezer
An orangutan named Suryia and a dog named Roscoe — both now residents of a South Carolina animal sanctuary — will be showing up today on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
And the unusual friendship — reminiscent of the one we showed you between Tarra and Bella, the elephant and dog who are buddies at a Tennessee animal sanctuary — will be part of an upcoming National Geographic Channel program as well.
Suryia and Roscoe, a blue tick coonhound, live at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (TIGERS) in Myrtle Beach.
The pair encountered each other two years ago when Roscoe followed institute staff home. He was spotted by Suryia, who came over to introduce himself. They’ve been fast friends ever since.
“As soon as he saw Roscoe, Suryia ran over to him and they started playing,” Bhagavan Antle, founder of TIGERS told UK’s Daily Mail. “‘It was unusual because dogs are usually scared of primates but they took to each other straight away.”
“‘Roscoe looked really thin and a little lost so we fed him and took care of him … We made a few calls to see if he belonged to anyone and when no-one came forward, Roscoe ended up staying.”
Suryia, while helping to raise baby primates at the sanctuary, always takes some time to spend with Roscoe, swimming, rolling around in the grass, or going for walks.
“Suryia will take Roscoe for walks around the enclosure and even feeds him some of his monkey biscuits,” Antle said.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 15th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bhagavan antle, blue tick coon hound, dog, dogs, friends, myrtle beach, national geographic, oprah winfrey, orangutan, primates, relationships, roscoe, sanctuary, south carolina, suryia, the institute of greatly endangered and rare species, tigers, video
When singer Emmylou Harris contacted DogTown — the last hope shelter operated by the Best Friends Animal Society in Utah — for help with an unpredictable German shepherd mix, they reacted much as I would have, rushing to her estate/animal shelter in Tennessee to offer their assistance.
(I would have gotten there quicker, and most likely listened to her music on the way.)
Instead, Best Friends animal behavior specialist Sherry Woodard got the call, and her work with Gunnar, a dog deemed too violent to be adopted, is featured in tonight’s episode of the National Geographic Channel’s “Dogtown” series.
While the 12 time Grammy winner doesn’t get a lot of screen time — she’s goes off on tour shortly after Woodard arrives — Gunnar makes some major headway, first accepting Woodard, then accepting another dog who’s intended to serve as a role model for him.
Harris runs a small shelter at her home in Nashville, which she started in honor of her dog Bonaparte.
Gunnar was found on the streets of Nashville, and Harris suspected he met with some ill treatment there, leading to his fear and lack of trust with humans. The four-year-old dog has bitten a dozen of her shelter volunteers, Harris said.
Hoping to get Gunnar socialized enough to be adopted, Harris called in several trainers, and DogTown was her last hope.
Tonight’s “DogTown” episode also tells story of Little Girl, a painfully shy Catahoula mix from a California shelter that shut down, and Theresa, an abandoned pit bull with a mysterious obstruction in her stomach.
The show airs at 10 p.m. tonight on the National Geographic Channel.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 17th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal, behavior, best friends, catahoula, dangerous, dog, dogs, dogtown, emmylou harris, german shepherd, gunnar, little girl, national geographic, national geographic channel, obstruction, pets, pit bull, problem, rescue, sanctuary, shelter, sherry woodard, shy, shyness, stomach, theresa, unpredictable, utah, violent
Dumped into an underground death pit, two homeless dogs named Haley and Hana are rescued and rehabilitated on tonight’s episode of National Geographic Channel’s “DogTown,” proving once again that dogs are a lot more forgiving than us more “intellectually developed” humans.
The dogs are believed to have spent two months in an underground cave in Ethiopia where locals periodically dispose of unwanted dogs, unfortunately while they are still alive. With no food or water, they may have survived by consuming the bodies of other dogs that died in the cave.
Best Friends Animal Society behavior consultant Sherry Woodard works with the former street dogs to help them overcome their fears and improve their social skills.
Also on tonight’s episode are the stories of Hugo, a 100-pound bloodhound, returned to DogTown after seriously biting a family member, and Ava, a golden retriever whose paw has been ripped apart by a coyote trap.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 3rd, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal society, ava, behavior, best friends, bloodhound, cave, channel, disposed, dogtown, ethiopia, golden retriever, haley, hana, homeless, hugo, kanab, national geographic, sherry woodard, street dogs, underground, unwanted, utah
A “bad” dog, an “ugly” dog and a gaggle of “unwanted” beagles all prove that, deep down, they were not those things at all in the season premiere of “DogTown” Friday night.
All three stories show the benefits of looking a little deeper than the surface, but it’s the tale of Aristotle, a scab-ridden and a hairless mutt, that’s going to tug your heartstrings the hardest.
A terrier mix rescued from a hoarding situation, Aristotle comes to DogTown with a skin condition that has left him a pitiful sight — his hair has fallen out, his skin is covered with scabs, and he has no apparent eyelids.
Veterinarians at Best Friends Animal Society, the southwest Utah sanctuary where the National Geographic Channel program is centered, set out to make a diagnosis on Aristotle and relieve his itching, in hopes his coat might grow back and he might get adopted.
Aristotle’s story is one of two told in “The Survivors,” the first episode of the new season of “DogTown,” which airs Friday at 10 p.m.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 19th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aristotle, bald, best friends, best friends animal society, channel, chow, coat, dermatologist, dog town, dogs, dogtown, fur, hair, mange, national geographic, rehabilitation, rescue, scabs, shelter, skin condition, terrier, treatment, utah, veterinarian, veterinary
National Geographic Channel’s critically acclaimed “In The Womb” series returns this month with two new one-hour specials — including one that follows the fetal journey of four litters of canines.
Featuring some amazing visual images, the show follows the development of litters inside a Neapolitan mastiff, golden retriever, chihuahua and wolf – from fertilization through the remarkable 63-day journey that takes them from a single cell to man’s best friend.
“In the Womb: Dogs” airs Jan. 4 at 8 p.m.; followed by “In the Womb: Cats” at 9 p.m.
I screened the dog special last week, and can report that it’s both a visually riveting hour of TV and a highly informative account of what’s happened in the 15,000 years since wild wolves began making the transition to domesticated dogs — and of what man did to them after that.
The show intersperses dog history with visits inside the womb, showing how all breeds (more than 400 of them) stemmed from wolves, thanks to selective breeding of them by humans. So hunters wouldn’t have to go pick up the birds they shot, we made retrievers. To scare off intruders, we made mastiffs. To rid our land of varmints, we made short-legged dogs that could burrow into holes. It wasn’t always in dogs best interest — sometimes quite the opposite — but as a result, dogs became the most diverse species on earth.
Despite all that diversity, the four canines tracked in the womb are remarkably similar for the first month or so in the womb — both to each other and any other vertebrate, including us. Even then, though, they practice behaviors they will need once born, like running and panting.
After that, they begin to take on distinctive shapes. By day 39, the ears are formed. Floppy ears are a sign of the submission humans have bred into dogs, but erect wolf-like ears persist in a few species, including the Chihuahua. Snouts, too, develop relatively late. After 55 days of development, the wolf, mastiff, golden retriever and Chihuahua all exhibit traits particular to their breeds.
Sixty-three days after the eggs were fertilized, the puppies make their debut, leaving the solace of the womb for the real world.
For more information, on the series, click here
(Image courtesy of National Geographic Channel)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 2nd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: birth, cameras, cats, chihuahua, dog, dogs, embryos, fetal, golden, in the womb, litter, mastiff, national geographic, photography, retriever, television, wolf, womb
As the Humane Society of the United States and other organizations continue their rescue efforts, crews are finding that improved evacuation procedures â€” and a bit of luck â€” helped many of the area’s animals weather Hurricane Ike, according to National Geographic.
Shelters set up to accommodate pets and livestock offered relief to people who were forced to evacuate while providing a safe haven for their animals.
“The sheltering process went really well. There was a place for the animals and they were all cared for,” said Angela Clendenin, director of communications at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in College Station. “Overall I think the preparations paid off.”
Posted by John Woestendiek September 18th, 2008 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, evacuation, hsus, hurricane, hurricane ike, katrina, national geographic, preparations, rescue, shelter, texas, texas A & M
Here’s a clip from Dogtown, the National Geographic Channel series that will begin its second season Friday (Sept. 5 at 9 p.m.) with a special two hour episode, “Saving the Michael Vick Dogs.”
Viewers get to follow the recoveries of four of the most challenging dogs seized from the former Atlanta Falcon quarterback’s Virginia dogfighting ring — Cherry, Meryl, Denzel and Georgia — as experts at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary work to help them overcome their violent pasts.
Dogtown is part of the 33,000-acre animal sanctuary in southern Utah. Best Friends took in 22 of the 47 dogs seized from Vick — the dogs that were viewed as the least likely to be able to be rehabilitated.
Dogtown’s philosophy — “There’s no such thing as a bad dog” — seems to have worked with Vick’s dogs. Even Meryl, who was ordered by the court to stay at Dogtown permanently, has gained new social skills and confidence.
The sanctuary hosts hundreds of dogs, along with cats, horses, rabbits, goats and other farm animals — as many as 1,500 at one time. A staff of about 60 oversses them, taking care of the medical needs, training and rehabilitation, with the hope that as many as possible will be placed with new owners.
For those that don’t make that transition, Best Friends continues to care for them for the rest of their lives.
After focusing on the Vick dogs, the National Geographic program this season will look at some of the other guests at Dogtown — including a hound named Wylee who was hit by a car and lost the use of his front legs; a golden retriever with a learning disability, a border collie with dislocated hip, and a Weimaraner paralyzed with anxiety.