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Tag: professor

One-time landfill provides backdrop for photographer’s portraits of throwaway dogs

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Once a week, Meredith College art professor Shannon Johnstone takes a homeless dog for a walk to the top of what used to be a landfill.

The Raleigh area landfill has a new life now, as a park.

The dogs she photographs there are still waiting for one.

They all come from the Wake County Animal Center, where, after being abandoned or surrendered, they’ve been living anywhere from a couple of weeks to more than a year.

The park, located atop a 470-foot peak formed from 20 year’s worth of Raleigh’s trash, serves as a scenic backdrop, but also, for Johnstone,  as a metaphor.

Johnstone has photographed 66 “landfill dogs” so far — either on her climb up or atop the hill, according to a column in the Raleigh  News & Observer.

Shot at what’s now one of the highest points in Wake County, the pictures of throwaway dogs playing atop a hill made from other things people threw away are sometimes haunting, sometimes hopeful, sometimes a little of both.

Some of the dogs she photographed have found homes right away; others remained at the animal shelter. Five have died.

johsntone2Johnstone, 40, has degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and she’s on a yearlong sabbatical from Meredith.

Johnstone has photographed shelter dogs before. While she declined to name the city, one project she was involved in photographed animals before, during and after euthanasia.

She said the idea for the current project came from Wake County’s former environmental director, who envisioned dozens of dogs at the park.

Instead Johnstone brings them there one at a time, and doesn’t remove their leashes (except later with Photoshop).

Landfill Dogs, according to its website, is a project with three overlapping components: fine art photographs, adoption promotions, and environmental advocacy.

The project  was made possible by a year-long sabbatical granted by Meredith College’s Environmental Sustainability Initiative, and with cooperation from the staff and volunteers at Wake County Animal Center.

(Top photo by Shannon Johnstone; bottom photo by Corey Lowenstein / News & Observer)

 

Hachiko had cancer, Japanese scientists find

Seventy-five years after his death, scientists say they have determined what killed Hachiko, the legendary Akita whose story has been immortalized in his native Japan and the rest of the world.

Japan’s most famous dog — though rumors have persisted for decades that worms did him in, or that he swallowed a chicken skewer that ruptured his stomach — had heart and lung cancer, scientists now say.

Hachiko became legendary for the loyalty he showed by waiting for his owner every day at a train station — for 10 years after his master died.

Hachiko died in 1935 at the age of 13. After his death, researchers at what is now the University of Tokyo performed an autopsy on Hachiko’s body and discovered roundworms in his heart and liquid collected in his abdomen.

Using more sophisticated tests like MRI’s,  the Mainichi Daily News reports, a team of scientists at the University of Tokyo team analyzed Hachiko’s preserved organs and discovered large cancers in the heart and lungs. They speculated that the cancer may have spread from the lungs to the heart. Hachiko also had filariasis (a worm-caused diseased), and it’s possible that could have caused his death as well, said professor Hiroyuki Nakayama, part of the research team.

Hachiko’s preserved organs are displayed at a University of Tokyo resource center in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, along with a bust of his owner. A “stuffed” Hachiko is also on display at the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo’s Taito Ward. A statue of Hachiko was erected in his honor at Shibuya Station.

Hachiko accompanied his owner, a university professor named Eisaburo Uyeno, to the train station every day and watched him leave for work. Every evening the dog would be waiting for him when he returned. When Uyeno died, Hachiko continued going to the train station every day to wait for his master for about ten years.

The legend has been told in numerous forms in the 75 years since, most recently as a childrens’ book and a 2009 movie remake, re-set in Rhode Island, starring Richard Gere.

Gory details: Will this poop song go viral?

Gory Bateson and Dougie Mac chose what they call “the famous dog poop sculpture in Beverly Hills” to record this “public service announcement” — a musical reminder to pick up your dog’s poop.

The sculpture isn’t really of dog poop (though there is some resemblance), it’s just modern art.

Similarly, “Gory Bateson” isn’t really Gory Bateson – he’s a modern-day artistic creation, as well.

Gateson is the internet persona of Nick Trujillo, a California State University, Sacramento, communications professor  who, a la Spinal Tap, established an alter ego as the burned out former lead singer of the mythic band The Ethnogs.

It’s all aimed at exploring how viral media works — how popular sensations emerge within the new media landscape. Trujillo has posted more than 70 videos on YouTube under the guise of Gory in hopes of seeing the character go viral.

Gory said he was inspired after he happened by the silver sculpture ( “Erratic,” by artist Roxy Paine, on Santa Monica Boulevard, across from Beverly Hills City Hall). “It looked like dog poop to me. I had dogs for 25 years so I tend to see the world in dog terms.”

Gory points out that he was not paid by Beverly Hills to make the announcement, but undertook it on his own, with his fellow Ethnog, ”Dougie Mac” (who’s really Dr. Bob Krizek, a professor of communication at St. Louis University.)

The song may be a fake public service announcement, performed by a made-up characters, in front of a sculpture that’s open to interpretation, but its message, Gory says, is real:

Pick up that poop.

14 dogs involved in fatal attack on couple

Authorities say up to 14 dogs were involved in the fatal attack on a former University of Georgia professor and his wife, as they walked near their home in Lexington.

The dogs that mauled Lothar Karl Schweder, 77, and Sherry Schweder, 65, were known to neighbors, belonged to a many who used to live nearby, and had not shown signs of aggression before, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. The newspaper reported later today that the dogs, all mixed breeds, will be euthanized.

The dogs were still standing over the slain couple when the coroner arrived at the scene on Saturday.  They seemed to be guarding the bodies as if they were prey, said James Matthews, coroner for Oglethorpe County. “They were not aggressive whatsoever,” he said. “I guess that’s what makes the attack so hard to figure out.”

An autopsy performed at the GBI Crime Lab concluded that the dogs were responsible for the deaths. “There’s nothing to indicate foul play,” said Jim Fullington, special agent in charge of the GBI’s Athens office.

Sherry Schweder was out looking for one of her own six dogs when she was attacked. Her husband was killed after he went looking for his wife, Matthews said. Their mutilated bodies were found by a pair of visiting Jehovah’s Witnesses about 12 hours after they went missing.

The dogs belong to a man who used to live in the area but was forced to move because of medical problems, neighbors said. A friend would take the former owner to the property to feed the dogs, they said.

Matthews said the dogs, rounded up Monday afternoon by animal control officers from a neighboring county, showed no signs of malnourishment or rabies and said Oglethorpe County had never received complaints about the dogs.

Fullington, the GBI agent, said he was not sure what would happen to the dogs.

Lothar Schweder taught German at UGA, and his wife worked as a humanities bibliographer at the university’s main library. They were known as avid animal lovers and often walked their dogs on the same quiet road where they died.

Retired professor and wife killed by dogs

A former University of Georgia professor and his wife found dead along the highway Saturday morning were apparently killed by a pack of dogs, according to the state medical examiner.

Lothar Karl Schweder, 77, who had taught German at the university, and his wife, Sherry Schweder, 65, who worked at the university’s main library, were found on a road where they often walked their own dogs, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The couple were found by visiting Jehovah’s Witness members.

After an autopsy Monday morning, Oglethorpe County Coroner James Mathews told the University of Georgia student newspaper, The Red & Black, that a dog attack was to blame.

“It was the results of a brutal dog attack,” Mathews said. “Without being graphic there were bites from head to toe… There are a lot of weird circumstances with this one. I’ve been coroner for 28 years, and this is one of the weirdest cases I’ve investigated.”

The state Bureau of Investigation responded to a call about the bodies around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Oglethorpe County animal control officials were out Monday looking for the dogs in the area, along Highway 77, near Highway 78.

Hachiko: Japan’s dog story gets Americanized

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The story of Hachiko, an Akita who came to a train station in Tokyo to wait for his master every day – and for another 10 years after the man died — is coming to the big screen in an Americanized version that stars Richard Gere and takes place in Rhode Island.

The movie still features an Akita, and it’s still named “Hachiko,” but his master isn’t Hidesaburo Ueno, the professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo whose dog never stopped looking for him.

Instead, the story of one dog’s lifelong devotion to his owner centers around a Rhode Island music professor, played by Gere.

Lasse Hallstrom’s “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story” recently had its North American premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, and reportedly produced enough sniffling to rival “Marley & Me.”.

The movie, from Sony Pictures, is based on a screenplay by Stephen P. Lindsey’s, who adapted a Japanese film about Hachiko made 20 years ago.

Lindsey changed the setting to Rhode Island and updated the story, according to Reuters,  but retained the basic idea of a loyal Akita who achieves an almost transcendental bond with his owner.

Gere , who’s no stranger to things transcendental, is one of the producers of the film, the story line of which begins when the professor discovers an Akita puppy that has been abandoned at the train station where he commutes to work. He brings the dog home on a temporary basis, but it soon becomes a permanent member of his household.

The role of Hachiko is  played by three dogs as an adult and about 20 as a puppy.

The real Hachiko was present in April 1934, when a bronze statue in his honor was erected at Shibuya Station. The statue was recycled for the war effort during World War II, but recommissioned after the war. Takeshi Ando, son of the original artist, made the second statue, which was erected in August 1948, and still stands at one of the exits of Shibuya Station.

Ace shows his colors

Ace, being both neutered and neutral, isn’t normally one to take sides, but he will be pulling for the University of North Carolina Tarheels in tonight’s final four game against Villanova, at his master’s command.

In Chapel Hill yesterday, Ace, after picking up a new bandana, attended a journalism school picnic for some retiring professors — and got to enjoy some Bullock’s barbecue, once when high winds flipped my plate over, again when a kindly Bullock’s employee brought him a plateful.

In addition to a little gas, Ace also got to pass along his best wishes to the retiring – or halfway retiring — professor Donald Shaw, who, many years ago taught Ace’s master a thing or two, including calling things by their correct names. So make that School of Journalism and Mass Communications.

Best of luck to Donald, and if I may — against his teachings — be slightly less than objective: 

Go Heels!