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Just in time for Christmas … well, almost

I’ve written my name in books before — but always as a reminder to other people to keep their grubby paws off of them, or at least return them when they’re done.

But yesterday was a first: I signed my own book — own, as in the one I wrote.

I don’t get mail delivery here in Petite Acres, the trailer park in Cave Creek, Arizona, where Ace and I are spending December before heading back east in the last leg of our seven months of travels.

So when my publisher called to find out where to send the author’s copies of “DOG, INC.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend,” I used my brother’s address, and he delivered them over the weekend.

I won’t compare the excitement of tearing open that cardboard box to seeing your baby arrive — that would be wrong — but there are some similarities, the main ones being, “Wow, that came out of me?” and the realization that all the labor pains were worth it after all.

The book is about the cloning of dogs — how, and why, it came to be achieved, and the colorful characters involved: from the Arizona billionaire who funded the initial research; to the scientists who produced Snuppy, the first canine clone, in South Korea; to those who marketed the service (even before the first dog was cloned); to those who bought it, the bereaved pet owners seeking replicas of dogs dead or near death.

It was two years in the making (the book, not dog cloning) — a project I undertook right after I left the Baltimore Sun, and one that wouldn’t have been accomplished were it not for the help of a lot of people.

My first autographed copy is being sent to one of them, Rona Kim, a law student in Seoul who served as my guide and interpreter during my visit to Korea, and without whom I would have probably spent three-fourths of my time there hopelessly lost.

The official release date of “DOG, INC.” is Dec. 30, but it can be pre-ordered now from all the major retailers.

By then, Ace and I will be headed back east — first to Washington for a scheduled appearance on the Diane Rehm show Jan. 5 (me, not Ace), then to Baltimore, where we hope to host a couple of book signing parties (details to come) and find a place to call home.

New stamps will feature once homeless pets

stampsOn April 30, the Postal Service will issue a 44–cent, Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet stamp series.

With the 10 stamp designs — five cats and five dogs — the U.S. Postal Service hopes to raise awareness of the need to adopt shelter pets.

The pets depicted on the stamps were photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce near her home in New Milford, Connecticut. All had been homeless at one time; all but one had been adopted when they were photographed.

The stamps were designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC.

In celebration of the new Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet stamps, the Postal Service, together with Ellen DeGeneres and her dog food company, Halo: Purely for Pets, will be donating a million meals to animal shelters around the country.

To pre-order the stamps, go here.

Here’s a closer look at the dogs chosen for the stamps:teddy

Teddy, a wired-haired Jack Russell terrier: The owners of Teddy’s mother were surprised when she gave birth to another litter. They couldn’t afford to raise more puppies, so they gave Teddy and his siblings to a shelter.

Today, Teddy lives with a loving family, their other Jack Russell, and a cat. 

trevorTrevor, a yellow Lab: Trevor and his litter mates were found abandoned at 8-10 weeks of age at a new home construction site.

They were rescued by Labrador Retriever Rescue of CT, Inc. Trevor was adopted by a couple who are a perfect match for his outgoing personality.

 

buddy

Buddy, a golden retriever: Buddy is a pure-bred golden who was purchased from a pet store. At only eight months old, he had such bad hips that his family gave him to a shelter.

Now, Buddy is flourishing with his family who have improved his health through regular exercise and a good diet. 

bindi suBindu Su, an Australian shepherd: Bindi Su’s mother was handed over to a rescue group when her owners found out she was expecting.

Bindu Su was adopted at eight weeks old.

Now she competes in agility events and visits a local nursing home weekly. 

jakeJake, a Boston Terrier: Purchased at a pet shop on Thanksgiving when he was eight weeks old, Jake’s original family quickly realized that they couldn’t take care of him.

The pet shop had a no-return policy, so Jake was turned over to a shelter.

Pennsylvania pulls license of big puppy dealer

The Pennslyvania Department of Agriculture has revoked the kennel license of CC Pets, a Lancaster County puppy broker with a history of violations under its previous name.

Once known as Puppy Love, the kennel, owned by Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits for at least 20 years, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

CC Pets sold more than 2,000 puppies last year, making it one of the state’s highest-volume dog dealers.

In 2000, the kennel was fined $35,000 by the state for selling sick puppies and misinforming buyers about the health or breeding qualities of the animals. In 2001, kennel owner Joyce Stoltzfus was cited for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. In 2005, the kennel was the subject of a consumer fraud settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 171 customers in seven states.

One of the agreement’s conditions was that Stoltzfus, had to identify herself and the business correctly to customers rather than use an alias. Her failure to comply with that condition led to the license revocation, officials said.

Gizmo ordered to get out of town

A municipal judge in Aspen has ordered a Pomeranian named Gizmo to get out of town.

Judge Brooke Peterson last week told Gizmo’s owner to find the dog a new home — outside of Aspen — adding that, if Gizmo, who has a history of biting people, returns, he will be euthanized.

“As a judge, the hardest decision I ever have to make is to take someone’s pet away or euthanize it,” Peterson told Melinda Goldrich, Gizmo’s owner. “But you and I have been dealing with your dog since 2006 … and your excuses have worn out my patience.”

Read more »

Semper Fido

Add the Marines to the list of military branches banning “dangerous” dog breeds from some of their bases — most recently Camp Lejuene in North Carolina.

Nearly a year after a 3-year-old boy was killed by a visiting pit bull at Camp Lejeune, the base has changed its pet policy to ban full or mixed breeds of pit bull or Rottweiler, wolf hybrids, “any dog of any breed with traits of aggression as determined by the base veterinarian,” and any dog with a record of vicious behavior, according to a base spokesman.

A Pentagon memo issued earlier this year bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and chows from living on Army bases. The Air Force also has enacted a breed-selective policy and the Navy is expected to do the same.

The change at Camp Lejeune follows the death of Julian Slack last May, according to a letter written by Camp Lejeune’s commanding officer Col. Rich Flatau.  At the time of the attack, no specific breeds of dogs were forbidden on base, though animals deemed vicious were not allowed to stay, according to the Jacksonville Daily News.

In a letter distributed to family housing residents, Flatau said the breed choices chosen for the ban were based on ”a significant body of empirical evidence indicating they are apt to violent behavior, often unpredictable and have the capability to inflict severe harm or death.”

(Clearly, the Marines would never tolerate that kind of behavior.)

Camp Pendleton in California limits the number of dogs or cats residents can have, though no particular breeds of dogs are banned. Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia, bans “potentially dangerous dogs such as full or mixed breeds of pit bulls (Stafford Bull Terrier, America Staffordshire Terrier and other similar breeds).”

The revised order also will apply to dogs brought aboard the base by visitors, Flatau wrote in his letter.

(Photo: Petoftheday.com)

Former “Army brat” remembers best friend

We don’t know how much heat the Pentagon is getting for its edict banning “dangerous” dog breeds from Army housing, despite many of those breeds having served the country honorably.

We do know, though, that the new Army policy, which singles out Rottweilers, chows, Dobermans and pit bulls as undeserving of life on American military bases, has led to at least one letter – a copy of which was sent to us by the writer, one-time Army brat and ohmidog! correspondent Anne Madison.

With her permission, we reprint it here:

Dear Ms. Vanslyke,

I am writing to respectfully but vehemently protest the banning of certain dogs (deemed “aggressive”) from military housing.

I have a somewhat different viewpoint. Though I am now in my fifties, I grew up as the daughter of an Army officer, an “Army Brat” if you will. I had one younger brother. Our beloved dogs followed us from one posting to the next, getting us through strange, new schools, new cties and towns, new people and teachers, and all the huge (and I will say unnatural) adjustments that Army children are forced to make.

They provided us with comfort, love, stability, and loyalty. The first dog I ever had, Cho-Cho, was half-Doberman. She was with us while we were stationed at the Ryukyus Command. I was between three and five years of age, and she was my best friend.

Our soldiers–and their families–give up so much for us! I believe that their lives are much more difficult now than the life that I experienced. At least we were at peace during most of my childhood, so we didn’t have to experience fear and worry for our father.

Is this “breed-oriented persecution” really going to accomplish anything besides tearing families apart and separating respected war veterans from their loved pets? It seems to me that the Army has many means at its disposal to to control any unwanted canine behavior without simply
going through and eliminating all dogs of certain types. If there’s a problem dog of any breed, by all means–address the issue with the adult involved.

This is just too sad and terrible a burden to lay on the shoulders of those who are doing so much for our country at such a cost. And it’s completely unnecessary!

Sincerely yours,

Anne Madison