Tag: pet owners
There’s nothing wrong, most of the commenters said, with posting a photo of one’s dog, along with a sign describing how he or she has misbehaved, on the Internet.
What dogs don’t know won’t hurt them was the common refrain. Dogs don’t get on the Internet, and wouldn’t be smart enough to be humiliated even if they could. The photos, many added, are posted in a spirit of humor and love (at least most of the time). How dare I suggest that, rather than making a sign, taking a photograph and posting it on the Internet, some pet owners might be better served by applying that time to fixing the dog’s recurrent misbehavior?
How dare I raise the question of how humans might like it if they were the subject of “shaming” posts, presented of course in a spirit of humor and love, and all in good fun?
And shame on me for expressing my personal opinion — that I wouldn’t want my dog’s lasting and permanent legacy to be photo and statement of misdeed on the Internet. And for pointing out that, as species go, humans have much more to be ashamed of than dogs.
Dogs would never post pictures of us misbehaving on the Internet, I don’t think, even if they could.
But PETA would, and has.
PETA has come out with a series of photographs — these are but a few of them — that turns the tables, depicting humans confessing to their misdeeds when it comes to their pets.
As PETA notes, “Dogs give us all their love and affection, but what are some people giving them in return? Dog shaming. Dogs don’t deserve that, but we can’t say the same for some guardians.”
You can find more shame on PETA’s official blog, The PETA Files.
(Photos: The PETA Files)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, behavior, dog, dogs, dogshaming, guardians, humans, misbehavior, owners, pet owners, peta, pets, photos, shame, shameful, shaming, the peta files, training, websites
Meet Ace’s uncloned clone.
Last week, while I was bouncing around doing interviews on my book about dog cloning, a friend of mine at Best Friends in Utah sent along a photo of a dog she’d come across on the Internet.
That’s Ace on the right, and the lookalike on the left. She was found wandering in Michigan and — as as my friend noted — seems the spitting image of the dog I like to think of as one of a kind.
(And still do, no matter how many thousands of doppelgangers are out there.)
I’ve seen and met a few dogs that somewhat resemble Ace, but never one who does so as closely as this girl, especially when you compare her to the young Ace.
So with dog cloning back in the news, I’ll remake a point I made in the book, “DOG, INC.: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry.”
If you’re looking for another dog just like your current or past dog, you can find it at a shelter – if not in your hometown, somewhere in America.
And while that dog will only resemble your dog in physical appearance, that’s all the cloners really guarantee, anyway.
In all the media coverage of the most recent canine clone to come to U.S. shores, no one has explained — or even pointed out — that Double Trouble, featured on last night’s TLC special, looks little like Trouble, to the left.
The original Trouble’s face, in most pictures, was mostly white, with some dark and greyish highlights.
Double Trouble’s face (left) is amost entirely dark, with far more brown fur and just a few little patches of white around his nose. Much, if not all, of the difference could fade away as Double Trouble grows up and his coat changes color. Photos of the original Trouble show him with darker coloring around his face, too.
Still, though, the truth of the matter is that genetic copies, in addition to not always acting alike (I’m sure you can think of some twins that exemplify this), don’t always look alike, either — as was evidenced, memorably, by the first cloned cat. It was two-colored; it’s donor was tri-colored.
For those South Korean laboratories producing clones, there’s an easy way around the physical discrepancies — produce enough clones to ensure not just that there will be live births, but that at least one of them will be identical.
That means making repeated efforts, using multiple dogs as egg donors and more yet to serve as surrogate dogs. It means more dogs rented from dog farms, only to be returned after laboratory use and sold as meat, as was the case during my visit there. It also means surplus clones.
None of cloning’s many downsides received much mention in last night’s TLC special, “I Cloned My Pet,” which followed three customers seeking laboratory made replicas of their deceased dogs.
While it did show the death of one clone shortly after birth, it glossed over cloning’s cons, and, worse yet, seemed to accept the bogus idea that clones are reincarnated versions of the original.
“Cloning offered the tempting chance to bring Trouble back to life,” the narrator said at one point. “The new old dog is reborn,” he said at another.
That, while not the reality, is the sincere hope of most customers. All three made comments about whether the clones of their dogs would “remember them.”
In addition to Danielle Tarantola, who recently received one clone of Trouble and is expecting another, the show featured Peter Austin Onruang, a California man who has spent years and hired two different labs to clone his dog, Wolfie. Two Wolfie clones have been born and survived. None of the others most recently implanted in five surrogate mothers did.
A third customer was a New Mexico woman who had made arrangements to clone her mastiff mix, Blue Frankenstein, even as she faced a prison sentence.
Identified only as Sheryl, she was allowed to meet the clone after it was delivered to the U.S. With cameras rolling, she fawned over the clone in a jailhouse visit. But, as the show pointed out, she isn’t likely to see him again given her conviction and 10-year sentence for transporting firearms.
In the most ludicrous scene in the special, Blue is taken to a “dog whisperer,” who interviews the pup. The dog, we’re told, tells the animal communicator about one memory he has from his previous life — how his owner saved one of his toenails and turned it into jewelry.
All of the owners claimed to see their old dogs in their new dogs — in terms of looks, behavior and personality.
Tarantola points out that Double Trouble lays down the same way the original did, with his rear legs splayed out behind him. “… He was bouncing around like Trouble used to do … He lays on pillows like Trouble used to do. He really, really has the same personality.”
Without going all adversarial, I’d point out this — based on what she says and my conversations with other cloning customers: When it comes to love — and that, at the root of it, is what pet cloning is all about — we sometimes see what we want to see, and don’t always see what we don’t want to see.
But that, like the ethics and morality of dog cloning, got little scrutiny in the TLC documentary.
What it did make clear — though I don’t think it did so on purpose — is that there is a degree of selfishness involved in getting one’s dog cloned. The customers all feel as if, nature be damned, they deserve their dog “back.” While it would be equally as misguided, none seem to be doing it for the sake of their dog.
And that’s another question seldom asked. As humans get their dogs cloned — to recapture a bond, erase their loneliness, or to relive, if not their own youth, at least their dog’s – how fair is it to the animals?
What does it say of the original dog if recreating him or her is a simple matter of sending a pea-sized chunk of flesh to a laboratory in South Korea?
And how fair is it to the newborn clone? On top of all the high and possibly unmeetable expectations he or she will have to live up to, will that dog ever be viewed as the unique creature it is, or only as a repeat?
Posted by jwoestendiek January 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, clients, clone, cloned, clones, cloning, documentary, dog inc., dogs, genetics, i cloned my pet, identical, john woestendiek, look alike, pet owners, pets, show, south korea, special, television, the learning channel, tlc
You don’t need me to tell you that it has gotten more expensive than ever to be the owner, guardian, caretaker, parent — pick your term — of a dog.
Over your dog’s lifespan, you can expect to dish out anywhere from $9,400 to $14,000, according to the latest estimates from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
As we’ve noted before, spending on pets seems to just keeps growing, even when the rest of the economy has a droopy, hang dog look. Despite the recession, spending on pets has gone up 6 percent annually since 2008, to $48 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
And a new survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center says that even during the “darkest days” of the recession in 2009 and 2010, when self-denial became common, only 16 percent of respondents reported spending less on their pets.
Of course, what those kind of statistics don’t take into account are all the dogs that — during those darkest days (which, as far as I can see, we’re still in) — have been surrendered and abandoned by families who have fallen into foreclosure or otherwise been forced to move into cheaper rental housing where pets aren’t allowed.
Even if the pet industry is gliding through the recession, many pet owners — and pets — are not.
Since 2008, pet food, veterinary care, and other services have risen at an annual rate of about 4 percent on average, considerably faster than the rate of overall inflation, according to the latest issue of Consumer Reports.
The magazine interviewed manufacturers, nutritionists and veterinarians, and jumped into the crowded pet product marketplace to sniff out the best bargains — and it reports that it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars a year on pet care without shortchanging your pet.
The package of stories is well worth checking out — and they’re all illustrated with photos taken of shelter pets (still the best bargain, it notes) at the North Shore Animal League. Here’s a partial summary:
A significant part of the national pet-food bill these days — Amerians spend about $20 billion a year on it — goes for so-called premium and super-premium varieties.
But “premium” is a virtually meaningless term, with no real legal definition.
Any food you see on supermarket and pet-store shelves that’s labeled “complete & balanced,” “total nutrition,” or “100 percent nutritious” should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. That indicates that it’s adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets.
Pet insurance generally costs more than it pays out, the magazine said. Only in uncommon cases, when a pet requires very expensive care, does the coverage pay for itself.
CR compared the three biggest brands — ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, 24PetWatch QuickCare, and VPI, and a fourth, Trupanion, that is a relative newcomer.
In the case of Roxy, a basically healthy 10-year-old beagle in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. whose lifetime medical expenses were examined, CR reported that none of the nine different policies it compared would have paid out more than the projected premiums.
Instead, the magazine suggests starting your own emergency fund, or “kitty,” to help with unforeseen vet bills.
CR says you’ll probably be better off having your dog’s prescription filled at a chain drugstore, supermarket pharmacy, or big-box retailer than through your veterinarian.
Walgreens, for example, allows customers to enroll their pets as family members in its Prescription Savings Club. Giant/Eagle, Kroger, and Target also have discount programs that are open to pets. At 35 of its pharmacies in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee, Target is trying out a program called PetRx to fill prescriptions for veterinary medicines.
Several online pet medicine dispensaries offer significantly lower prices as well.
Despite all that, about two-thirds of the pet owners CR surveyed said they buy their pet medicines from the vet who prescribes them.
CHOOSING A VET
The CR survey found that while most people love their vets, they don’t love the prices he or she charges.
“Because veterinary care is an infrequent, sometimes emergency expenditure, it’s difficult for consumers to gauge what constitutes a fair price for any of the hundreds of services their pet might require. The best time to comparison shop is when your pet needs a routine checkup, not when you’re stressed out by a sick or injured animal,” the article says.
CR suggests calling two or three nearby vets to ask what their physical-exam fee is. Nationally, it can range from roughly $35 to $46, according to a 2008 survey of 826 U.S. vets by the American Animal Hospital Association.
FLEA AND TICK TREATMENTS
There are more choices than ever here, some of them even affordable. With the patent expiring on fipronil, one of the active ingredients in Frontline Plus, a leading brand, the market has opened up to competitors.
CR found two that were new to the market, Sentry FiproGuard Plus at Petco and PetArmor Plus at Walmart, offered sizeable savings. A three month supply of PetArmor Plus cost $28, compared with $50 for FiproGuard Plus and $62 for Frontline Plus at Petco.
“We found other brands for as little as $9, but be careful. Some inexpensive products might not be as effective and might require you to spray or treat more often … The more insecticide you find yourself using, the greater the health and safety risks to you and your pet.”
(Photos: Top photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!; other photos by Michael Smith, courtesy of Consumer Reports)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bargains, care, caretakers, cat, consumer reports, consumer reports national research center, costs, dog, dog food, economy, expense, flea, frontline, guardians, insurance, market, medicine, north shore animal league, nutrition, pet, pet insurance, pet owners, pet products, pets, premium, prescriptions, prices, raising, recession, retailers, rising costs, saving money, survey, tick, treatments, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary care, vets
Molly, 29, followed, snagging her dog, hoisting her up on a plank beneath the pier and calling for help as she hung on to a pylon.
“I saw her go down into the water and I went after her,” Pfeiffer told the New York Daily News. “The current was pretty strong. She was going to drown … I grabbed Boogie and pulled her up on to one of the wooden supports on the pier. It was covered with algae and really slippery.”
Pfeiffer thanked the stranger who called for help: “He saved my life and Boogie’s.” She said she’d do the same thing again: “I love [Boogie] very much or I wouldn’t have done it otherwise.”
Most Daily News readers feel the same way. In an online poll, the newspaper asked readers if they would jump into a river to save their pet.
Eighty percent answered “in a heartbeat.”
(Photos: From the New York Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boogie, devotion, dives, dog, dogs, hudson river, leashed, life, molly pfeiffer, new york, pet owners, pets, pier 54, poll, rescue, risk, river, unleashed, wheaten terrier
If you happen to be strolling around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Sunday and run into a pack of pit bulls, fear not — they are there to make friends, influence people, and lick away any misconceptions you may have about the breed.
B-More Dog, the organization behind “Pit Bulls on Parade,” plans to make group walks like Sunday’s a monthly event, held in various parts of the city — all aimed at erasing the stereotypes surrounding the breed.
While all breeds are welcome, dogs must be signed up in advance to take part in the parades. So while it’s too late to get your dog into Sunday’s, you can find out about participating in next month’s by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To check out Sunday’s parade, show up around the Inner Harbor at 11 a.m.
Pauline Houliaras, a founding member and current president of B-More Dog, came up with the idea for the parade after noticing how often she’d be stopped and asked about the dogs she was walking. Her own dog, Ravenopolis, she found, often got greeted on walks around the harbor by tourists and locals alike, who’d stop to ask questions and pet the dog.
Taking the concept to the next level, B-More Dog organized groups of pit bull owners to walk together and spread goodwill about the breed. Then they decided, rather than just do it once a year, to try and parade pit bulls every month.
B-More Dog is an outreach and education organization that formed in the fall of 2007 to speak out against breed specific legislation being proposed in Baltimore County. That legislation, which would have required all pit bull owners to muzzle their dogs and confine them in locked kennels, was not passed.
Since then, B-More Dog has gone on to focus on improving the breed’s image and promoting responsible ownership of pit bulls and all other breeds through education, mentoring, and outreach.
Its members work with local shelters to provide information packets about the breed to adopters. B-More Dog also offers a “Humane Education” program in which members take their friendly, trained and well-mannered pit bull to community centers and after-school programs.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, b-more dog, baltimore, bmoredog, breed, breed specific legislation, breeds, dogs, downtown, goodwill, harbor, humane education, image, information, inner harbor, march, myths, outreach, parade, pauline houliaras, pet owners, pet ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, pride, responsibility, responsible, stereotypes, training
“All Over Albany” has noticed that dog poop is, well, all over Albany — and they’ve fashioned a helpful flow chart to help address the (fecal) matter.
(Click on the illegible version above to be taken to the full size chart. Then come back, for this isn’t just an upstate New York issue, but a national, nay, global one.)
At my park in Baltimore, and probably your’s, it seems that, when the snow and cold arrive, the manners of some otherwise responsible dog owners depart.
Whether it’s because people don’t want to traipse throught the snow to scoop it up, or because it’s just so darned cold, there are a lot more lingering dog droppings to be seen, and stepped in.
In a perfect world, those not scooping would be the ones stepping in it — but it never seems to work out that way.
And while, granted, solidly frozen poopage won’t despoil your footwear, neglected droppings, amid continued freeze and thaw, can come back to haunt us.
“We’ve thought a lot about this issue,” Alloveralbany.com reported in a piece last month. “And we finally came to the conclusion that winter somehow impairs the ability of some people to make good decisions about whether they should pick up their dog’s poop.
“So, we’re here to help. We’ve constructed a flow chart to assist citizens of the Capital Region in their decision-making process on the all important question: ‘It’s winter. My dog has pooped. What now?’”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 29th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: albany, all over albany, animals, civility, cold, dog, dog poop, dog poop flow chart, dogs, feces, flow chart, freezing, frozen, ice, manners, pet owners, pets, pick up the poop, pick-up, poop, poopsicle, responsible, scoop, shit, snow, turd, waste, weather, winter, wintry
You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows — at least not if you have a dog.
Two-thirds of American pet owners say their pets have a sixth sense about bad weather, according to a recent poll by the Associated Press and Petside.com.
Seventy-two percent of dog owners said they’ve gotten weather warnings from their pets, compared with 66 percent of cat owners.
More than 40 percent of pet owners say their animals can sense the arrival of bad news, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications.
“A sixth sense is something we can’t explain but we tend to trust. It’s a matter of belief and faith,” psychologist Stephanie LaFarge, the senior director of counseling services for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the Associated Press.
Some scientists believe animals sense bad weather because of changes in barometric pressure, and that they can sense seizures, low blood sugar or other medical problems through changes in their owner’s hormone levels.
How some pets know when earthquakes are coming, or that bad news is on the horizon, remain more mysterious.
The ASPCA’s LaFarge says she has personally experienced the latter.
“I have been awakened in the middle of the night by a dog,” she said. “Very shortly after that, I received some very, very shocking bad news. I was awake when the phone rang. I couldn’t explain why I was awake except the dog was next to me nudging me. How did the dog know my father died at midnight?”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, anxiety, aspca, associated press, bad news, behavior, cats, dogs, earthquakes, intuition, pet owners, pets, petside.com, poll, science, seizures, sense, sixth, sixth sense, storms, warnings, weather
A majority of pet owners would pay $500 for life-saving veterinary care, but less than half would fork over $1,000, only a third would spend $2,000, and only about 20 percent would be willing to pay $5,000.
So says an Associated Press-Petside.com poll about the cost of health care for animals, conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.
Only at the $500 level were dog owners (74 percent) more likely than cat owners (46 percent) to say they would likely seek treatment. In the higher price ranges, the two are about equally likely to seek vet care.
“Euthanasia is always sad but when finances have to be considered, when you feel there is a possibility you didn’t or couldn’t do the right thing, you feel guilty,” said veterinarian Jane Shaw, director of the Argus Institute in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. “We are at a point where we are talking about basic life needs or survival needs.”
One in five pet owners said they fret a lot about being unable to afford seeing a vet. Dog owners are more likely to worry than cat owners, and low-income people are among the biggest worriers, which is probably because they have the biggest worries.
About one in four people, or 27 percent, said pet insurance is a good way to save money on vet bills, though only about 5 percent of pet owners actually have it.
The AP-Petside.com Poll was conducted April 7-12, 2010, and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afford, affording, animals, ap, associated press, care, cats, cost, dogs, euthanasia, expense, health, insurance, medical, news, pet owners, pets, petside.com, poll, spend, spending, surgery, vet, veterinarian, veterinary
We like this little story out of Van Buren County, Michigan.
The county board has rejected a proposed ordinance that would have allowed ticketing of dog owners if their pets barked, yelped or cried for more than 15 minutes straight between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
The ordinance, which also required that dogs be on leashes while outdoors, had been debated for more than two years, with critics calling it an intrusion on their rights. Hunters objected, as did those who use guard dogs. Only one member of the county board voted for it.
But the real reason we like it is for its dateline, for the vote was taken in the county seat – a little town called Paw Paw.
(The town is named after the Paw Paw River, which was named by Native Americans after the paw paw fruit that grew abundantly along the river’s banks.)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark, barking, behavior, citations, county, county board, dog, dogs, laws, leash law, michigan, off-leash, ordinance, paw paw, paw paw fruit, pet owners, pets, proposal, tickets, town, van buren, vote
A recent study by Ohio State University confirms what would seem to be pretty obvious — microchipped pets have a better chance of being reunited with their owners than those without microchips.
Microchipped pets find their way back home about 75 percent of the time; in the case of dogs, that’s about 2.5 times more often than those without microchips, according to the study.
Less than 2 percent of all stray dogs and cats taken to shelters participating in the study had microchips implanted in their bodies. Nationally, experts estimate about 5 percent of pets are microchipped.
Microchips have yet to become widely popular — and they aren’t foolproof, the study notes. That one of every four microchiped pets isn’t reunited with its owner is a function of the number of different microchip companies and registries, and owners who fail to keep those registries updated on address changes.
Still, the study suggest that pet owners should give strong consideration to microchipping their companion animals — a conclusion that isn’t that surprising, either, considering one of the authors is a consultant for a company that, through one of its subsidairies, manufactures microchips.
The study notes that identification tags, with the pet’s name, owner’s name and phone number, are still the most effective way to ensure a lost pet is returned.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 8th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dog, dogs, found, id, identification, implanted, linda lord, lost, medicine, microchipped, microchipping, microchips, ohio state university, pet, pet owners, pets, registries, registry, return, reunite, reunited, school, shelter, shelters, study, tags, veterinarians, veterinary