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Tag: rhode island

“No comment” would have sufficed: TV reporter bitten while seeking interview


A woman who didn’t want to tell a TV news team “how she felt” about her daughter being shot threw a rock at them, shook a baseball bat at them, and then sent her dogs after reporter Abbey Niezgoda of ABC 6 News in Rhode Island.

The crew was on assignment in Providence, seeking to interview the mother of a teenage girl who was shot at a graduation party over the weekend.

Instead of politely declining to speak on-camera, Melissa Lawrence hurled a rock at ABC6 photographer Marc Jackson, then went inside for a baseball bat. Seconds later, she told her dogs to attack.

As Lawrence shouted commands, the dogs chased Niezgoda into a backyard a few houses away.

Niezgoda was a treated for a bite on her forearm.

Melissa Lawrence was charged with two counts of felony assault with a dangerous weapon.

Lawrence’s daughter, who was shot in the lower back, has since been released from the hospital.

On the way to Provincetown

With the sun in our faces, a coffee — both venti and bold — in my cupholder, and a gas tank half empty, we’re departing Connecticut for the 3-hour drive (we hope) to Provincetown, located at the wispy tip of Cape Cod.

We won’t be making it in time to see Provincetown get its official award as the dog-friendliest town in America, but we’ll be pulling in at some point.

Already we have veered off the course taken by John Steinbeck and Charley. His first stop after crossing the sound was to visit his son, at a school called Eaglebrook in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Our route is veering widely east, through Providence, along Cape Cod and up to the island’s northern tip.

The honor of being the dog-friendliest town is being bestowed on Provincetown today by Dog Fancy magazine, which put it at the top of its list of the of dog-friendliest cities in its 2010 DogTown USA contest.

The criteria used to select the winning city included dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, events celebrating dogs and their owners, ample veterinary care, abundant pet supply and other services, and municipal laws that support and protect all pets.

Provincetown’s Pilgrim Bark Park finished at No. 2 in the magazine’s national dog park ratings, and Dog Fancy editor Ernie Slone called Provincetown “an entire town where virtually every establishment opens its doors to dogs – even the bank.”

We’ll see about that – chances are, it being a ritzy sort of area, we’ll be needing to visit a bank.

The drive, I expect, will be an invigorating one. Already the trees are showing a tiny tinge of fall color, a hint of the breathtaking blast and crisper temperatures that lie ahead as the season progresses and we go further north.

Come to think of it, my gas tank isn’t half empty after all; it’s half full.

Hachiko: The movie trailer, in Japanese

Here — just because it all seems so circular — is a Japanese trailer for an American movie based on a Japanese legend.

The soon to be released “Hachiko: A Dog’s Story”  is an Americanized version of the true account of the Akita who waited everyday at the train station for his master, a University of Tokyo professor, to return home from work. When his master died on the job, Hachiko continued the vigil — for another 10 years.

In the American movie, Richard Gere plays the professor, with Rhode Island substituting for Japan.

Hachiko was brought to Tokyo by his owner, Eisaburo Uyeno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo. For a year, the dog greeted him at the end of the day at Shibuya Station. In May 1925,  Professor Uyeno, after a stroke, died at work. While the dog was passed on to new owners, he continued to go to the train station everyday, in hopes of seeing his owner.

A bronze statue of Hachiko is now a permanent fixture at the train station in Shibuya, and his mounted remains are kept at the National Science Museum of Japan in Tokyo.

You can find the trailer in English on YouTube. The movie — and you can count on it being a tearjerker — was originally scheduled to come out in August 2009. It will be released in the U.S. by March.

Rhode Island clinging to greyhound racing

As Rhode Island debates the fate of its only greyhound racing track, an advocacy group is planning a weekend rally calling for an end to the sport in the state, the Associated Press reports.

The group GREY2K USA, a chief proponent of a successful ballot question in Massachusetts last year to ban greyhound racing at the state’s two tracks, is planning a Saturday rally in Providence to urge Rhode Islanders to ban the sport as well.

The Massachusetts ban takes effect in January. And New Hampshire’s two remaining tracks plan to end live racing.

“The handwriting is on the wall, and it makes little sense for lawmakers to stand up and buck this trend,” said Christine Dorchak, president and general counsel of the organization.

In Rhode Island the debate has focused more on the sport’s profitability rather than on the treatment of dogs.  Legislators awant to expand greyhound racing. Over the objection of Gov. Don Carcieri, lawmakers have moved to force a bankrupt, state-licensed slot parlor to run 200 days of live racing at its greyhound track even though current law only requires 125.

Carcieri, a Republican, vetoed the legislation, but lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated General Assembly say they expect to override it. Supporters of the dog racing bill say it’s necessary to save 225 jobs, including pari-mutuel clerks, bartenders and security workers, and preserve tax revenue. They also argue the public shouldn’t be penalized for what they say are the bad business decisions of the owners of the gambling parlor, called Twin River.

Hachiko: Japan’s dog story gets Americanized

hachiko

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.