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Tag: shopping

Gift idea: Your dog’s face on your own socks

PUPSOCKS-WHITE-3With a scant 10 days left until Christmas, we present item No. 3 on our abbreviated list of gifts only a dog lover could love.

Pupsocks are socks for your feet (not your dog’s) that are emblazoned with a photo of your dog.

They are being offered, at $30 a pair, by an Atlanta company that says a portion of their profits (unspecified) goes to helping animals.

“Our products help you share love for your pet, and behind the scenes we spread that love with others! As such, every pair sold feeds a dog or cat in need. In only six months, we’ve been able to support thousands of meals.”

The company, according to its website, supports Ahimsa House which is dedicated to helping the human and animal victims of domestic violence in Georgia, and the Humane Society of the United States.

To order the socks, you can go to the website, upload a photo of your dog, or cat, or human, and specify the size and color you want.

As with our previous wacky dog-related gifts — those pit bull leggings and matching dog and human pajamas — this is in no way a recommendation for the product; rather it’s an idea flung out there for your cautious perusal.

The company will also put your dog’s photo on a tie.

Of course, there are few things you can’t get your dog’s picture on these days. From coffee mugs to blankets, from tote bags to Christmas tree ornaments, you can find a company to pepper almost any wearable or usable item with your dog’s image.

I had Ace’s photo put on a sweatshirt and a blanket, both of which were gifts to my father, and both of which I got back after my father’s death.

I break out the blanket regularly, and I still wear the Ace sweatshirt — sent to me by the nursing home my dad spent his last days in, complete with his name marked on to the collar.

Socks are about the last thing, clothing-wise, I would think of putting my dog’s photo on.

But rest assured there are plenty of entrepreneurs out there who will keep coming up with ways to make a buck off of our love for dogs, and particularly our love for our own dog.

And more often than not, we will lap it up.

Here are a few more websites that offer to put your pet’s photo on stuff:

Print Your Pet

Personalization Mall

Snapfish

Vista Print

(Photos: From the Pupsocks website)

Are Perfect Petzzz a little too perfect?

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We’ve been showcasing in recent weeks a few Christmas gift ideas that are either quirky or cute, but here’s one that’s a little creepy — both the product and its marketing.

Perfect Petzzz are “breathing” stuffed dog toys that come in 10 different breeds — all with fur so authentic looking some shoppers have assumed it was harvested from real dogs.

That, as Snopes.com reported recently, is a false rumor.

Still, some creepiness remains — mostly in the way the company markets the toy on the Perfect Petzzz website:

“These adorable pets offers a real pet ownership experience without the hassles and expense. Say goodbye to feedings and vet bills. Say hello to lots of love and cuddles. Perfect Petzzz – the ultimate pet.”
cavThey bill themselves as “a unique alternative to pet ownership, we offer a lifelike experience that all ages and walks of life can appreciate. With our ‘adoption program’ you can take your new puppy or kitten home today!

“…You can even see me breathing! Our fur is soft, and we love to be petted! I even come with my very own bed, minus the fleas!”

Perfect Petzzz are not picky eaters, “consuming only one ‘D’ battery every 3 months.” They are “factory potty-trained, with all their shots and papers, including obedience classes!”

Of course, none of that is true of “real pets,” and owning a stuffed toy dog is not really a “lifelike” experience at all.

Should those things be what you are seeking in a dog, though, by all means, get one of these — as opposed to impulsively adopting a real one as a Christmas gift.

But don’t be fooled into thinking cuddling or watching this lump of fur breathe is any way the equivalent of — or in any way will prepare your child for — the experience of owning a real dog.

yorkietoyReal dogs are messy, real dogs take work. And to imply that a “perfect” dog would involve none of that — and nothing more than batteries — is irresponsible and a little spine-chilling.

Perhaps the website is trying to send out some kind of positive message by pretending buyers are “adopting” the stuffed dogs — they even include an adoption certificate — but that side of it bugs me too, as if they are trying to make a profit co-opting the goodness of real agencies that do that.

And seeing these (about $40 each) stacked up on display in a store, on top of each other, in boxes on a rack, reminds me of something you might see at a South Korean outdoor dog meat market, or on the back of a truck taking dogs to slaughter in China.

Snopes had dispelled the real dog fur rumor, which appears to have started with a single social media post by a Facebook user who somehow jumped to not just the conclusion that Perfect Petzzz were made with fur from real dogs, but that dogs were killed for that sole purpose.

Snopes says the company insists the fur is entirely synthetic.

Still, Perfect Petzzz — other than maybe being right for that person who shouldn’t have a real dog — will not be making any of my Christmas lists.

Holiday gift idea: Pit bull leggings

pitbulllegsDon’t worry, we’re not becoming one of those news outlets that is dropping news to turn to schilling products for fun and profit.

But, given the ongoing need for gift ideas this time of year, we may present in the days ahead a few items that are especially weird, wacky or wonderful.

We felt matching dog and human pajamas qualified. And so do these pitbull leggings.

What pit bull-owning female would not want these — perhaps with a pair of the matching high top shoes?

Clothing and accessories featuring more than 50 other breeds are also available from the TC Shop.

According to the website, the limited edition leggings are official Dean Russo designs made of a polyester and lycra mixture. They are, the website says, “super chill.”

Now we can’t attest to that, and we have a policy of not recommending any product, or advertising anything, or accepting “sponsored posts” — so take note, all you business people flooding the ohmidog! emailbox.

We can only say this product looks cool, which, the Internet has taught us, doesn’t always mean is cool, or is of high quality, or even that it will arrive on your doorstep.

(Photo: The TC Shop)

When drones deliver will dogs get to growling? Amazon wants to know

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Reports surfaced this week that Amazon, as it continues to develop its top secret project to someday deliver packages by drones, has obtained a “simulated dog” so they can assess what obstacles dogs might pose to drones, and how to avoid them.

This is a real story. Honest.

It sounds a little like something out of an episode of Robot Wars, but the dangers dogs could pose to drones, and, more important, drones could pose to dogs, are well worth considering if this whole drone delivery idea is going to come to pass.

(Which I’d prefer it didn’t.)

Amazon doesn’t care what I think, though, and it is proceeding very secretly on the drone project, and looking at how to equip drones with enough artificial intelligence (beyond GPS) for them to cope with what postal carriers have long been coping with — everything from dogs to clotheslines.

Ironically, the Amazon simulated dog story came out same day the Postal Service released its latest dog bite figures, which are undergoing the largest increase in three decades.

Dog attacks on postal workers rose last year to 6,755, up 206 from the previous year — but the increase comes amid double-digit increases in the post office’s package business. Postal carriers are visiting more homes more frequently and at all times of day, often burdened with packages, thanks to agreements the Postal Service struck with Amazon in 2013 and 2014.

In other words, the more Internet shopping we all do, the greater burden we put on postal carriers, thereby increasing the chances for them to be victims of dog bites.

Unless of course packages are being delivered by drones, as Amazon — clearly the biggest catalyst in online shopping’s growth — proposes to do.

If there’s a conspiracy theory that might apply to all this, please feel free to apply it. Because I can’t come up with one.

According to the International Business Times, Amazon is using the simulated dogs as it conducts tests with drones in the UK.

It is not known how many simulated dogs there are in Amazon’s pack or what, if any, behaviors they’ve been programmed to imitate — barking, biting, tail-wagging?

410I1FkDAkLNor is it known whether Amazon created them, procured them from a contractor, or ordered them from themselves.

Amazon has been testing delivery drones since 2015. In July 2016 it signed a partnership with the UK government to explore the safe use of UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) to make deliveries in rural and suburban areas.

There are plenty of rough spots still to be figured out, most of them dealing with the drone’s use of air space.

But, once it comes time for a drone to land, one of the major concerns is going to be dogs. The drones will deliver packages, guided by GPS, and leave them on a special welcome mat the customer has placed on a front porch or a back patio.

Some dogs, I suspect, will cower in fear when a drone appears overhead; maybe a few will take them in stride, but many will see them as humming and hovering monsters, intent on trying to invade their territory.

(Which, to me, is a pretty accurate description.)

A drone’s blades can inflict serious damage, and ingesting a drone’s parts could also be a hazard. And Amazon is not unaware of the potential liabilities.

So now it’s researching how to give drones some artificial intelligence — to equip them with the ability to protect themselves when they sense a danger to themselves or others.

Given it’s a dog friendly company, it’s not likely Amazon will arm drones to spray cayenne pepper when a dog approaches.

Dropping a couple of treats — charming as that would be, and though it works well for postal carriers — probably wouldn’t work, either.

More likely, the drones will be taught to just abort their landing and return to their home base if a dog’s presence is sensed.

That could ruin many a “same day delivery,” but, unless you are ordering insulin, is that really so important?

The best solution is pretty obvious. Drop the fanciful and futuristic pipe dream. Keep the skies clear. Let humans make the deliveries.

I’ll gladly wait another day, or two, or three, for my package in exchange for the benefits that would offer — jobs, peace and quiet, and safer dogs and children among them.

(Photos: At top, an Amazon delivery drone, courtesy of Amazon.com; lower, the Genibo SD Robotic Dog, available from Amazon)

Woof in Advertising: Bouncing boxer

Nothing in the UK says the holiday season is here (and says it more prematurely) quite like the annual appearance of the new Christmas ad from John Lewis.

The chain of upscale department stores goes all out on the yearly ads — presenting memorable ads that range from the soul-recharging to tear-inducing to heart-wrenching.

woof-in-advertisingThis year they’ve gone with the tale of a little girl who wants a trampoline for Christmas and her dog, who — after viewing assorted wildlife try it out the night before — is the first to jump on it Christmas morning.

Buster is played by a real dog, named Biff.

His acrobatics, though, are accomplished with the use of CGI. So too are the playful antics of the wildlife menagerie that tries the trampoline out the night before, including two foxes, two squirrels, a badger and a hedgehog.

The department store spent £ 1 million to make the ad, and will spend a total of £ 6 million on the campaign.

The ad, with the tagline “Gifts that everyone will love,” represents a return to gentle comedy after last year’s sentimental story of a lonely old man stuck on the moon.

As with previous ad campaigns, this one also raises money for a charity —
the Wildlife Trusts will get 10% of sales of stuffed toy versions of the animals.

The ad is being launched today, kicking off a campaign that will include various social media tie-ins and apps.

Visitors to John Lewis’s Oxford Street store will be able to try a virtual reality version of the trampoline, where they can bounce alongside the animals using Oculus Rift goggles, The Guardian reported.

John Lewis says its Christmas ad campaigns have fueled an average 16% increase in holiday sales.

(Woof in Advertising is a recurring ohmidog! feature that looks at how dogs are used in marketing. You can find earlier posts in this archived collection.)

Letting dogs help with the grocery shopping

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I doubt all of America would be ready for this concept, but a grocery store in Italy is equipping shopping carts with designated dog compartments.

The owner of the Unes store in the city of Liano said he made part of his shopping cart fleet dog friendly so dog owners would no longer have to worry about leaving their pets in cars, or tied up outside the store.

“The owners of small dogs can now avoid having to leave them outside, giving them peace of mind to take all the time they need to make their purchases,” Gianfranco Galantini told La Repubblica.

cart“The initiative launched just recently, but we’ve already noticed how much our customers appreciate it.”

He fitted some of his fleet with a  partitioned section with a solid bottom, allowing dogs to sit at the front of the cart (where the view is best).

How many germs might a dog leave in a grocery cart? Probably far fewer than nose-picking toddlers do.

Small dogs are legally allowed to enter stores like Unes as long as they are kept under control.

Galantini said the adapted carts are cleaned after each use — and so far there have no problems or complaints.

To the contrary, the carts have been so popular with customers that the grocery chain is considering introducing them at other branches.

(Photo: Lucia Landoni / La Repubblica)

What you can count on this holiday season

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a computer was working, not even a mouse

The connections were tight, all plugged in with care
But even after rebooting, my desktop was bare

There was no way to email, no access to data
No Facebook on which I could update my status

Without any Internet, there was no way to Tweet
And that Obamacare deadline would be tough to meet

There was no YouTube, no Google, no Huffington Post
No Instagram, or Tumblr. I missed Amazon most

For last-minute gifts, there was no online shopping
That meant going outside to do some store hopping

The traffic was awful, but lucky old me
I found what I needed at Target for cheap

It was with things looking up and with nothing to fear
That I handed my credit card to the smiling cashier

Back home I felt something quite close to bliss
My computers were working, my shopping finished

But my website I learned was nowhere to be found
The server had crashed, I realized with a frown

I had a poem in my head, some good cheer to spread
But ohmidog!, on the web, was for all intents dead

I started shouting un-Christmas like phrases:
Dagnabbit, gosh darnit, fiddlesticks, what the blazes?

Far be it from me to say there is no St. Nick
I don’t think his magic is all just a trick

What I believe in much less is the Internet
For something to count on, your dog’s your best bet

(ohmidog! wishes all its readers the happiest of holidays, and apologizes for recent server-related downtime.)

(Image: From the Etsy website of artist Todd Young)