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Tag: video

Revolt of the robot dogs?

It may look like this robot dog is attempting to escape and carry out whatever other carnage he was programmed to inflict.

But it’s only a test by Boston Dynamics, the company developing these creatures for wartime and other uses.

The robot dog has been directed to open the door and leave the room. The technician has been assigned to pose an obstacle, using a hockey stick. The resulting struggle — in which the technician ends up grabbing the metal beast’s tail/handle, and breaking a piece of it off — is shown in this newly released video.

Boston Dynamics describes the video as a test of the dog’s (named SpotMini) “ability to adjust to disturbances as it opens and walks through a door” because “the ability to tolerate and respond to disturbances like these improves successful operation of the robot.”

In other words, they want to be sure the dogs will complete their assigned mission at all costs.

It’s that “at all costs” part that gets a little scary. When you program a robot to “do this and don’t let anything get in the way,” you want to be sure that you, and other living breathing humans, aren’t in the way.

In this case, the robot succeeds in getting out the door. Boston Dynamics assured watchers that “this testing does not irritate or harm the robot.”

The company, owned by Google at the time, took a little heat three years ago when it released a video that showed a technician kicking a robot dog. Even back then, they assured watchers, “No robot dogs were harmed in the making of this video.”

Last year the company was sold to SoftBank.

Seeking pancakes, dog starts house fire

A house fire in Massachusetts has been blamed on a pancake-seeking golden retriever — and home surveillance footage seems to confirm the dog was the culprit.

Footage from the family’s Nest home monitoring system shows the dog, one of two living in the home, getting up on its hind legs to scarf down some leftover pancakes on top of the stove.

In the process, some items slide off the stove top and the gas stove’s ignition button gets turned on.

A few minutes later a flame can be seen rising from the stove, growing larger. As smoke fills the house, the two dogs can be seen lying on the couch as an alarm sounds and the system alerts emergency responders.

Fortunately, they arrived within minutes and, after the dogs greeted them, proceeded to douse the blaze before too much damage occured.

The Southwick Fire Department posted the footage on its Facebook page last week, the New York Post as a warning to homeowners.

Dog’s tongue freezes to manhole cover

Be prepared to cringe a bit at this — just like you did with that flagpole scene in “A Christmas Story.”

The unlucky dog was spotted attempting to pull her tongue free after it froze to a manhole cover in Vladivostok, Russia, where temperatures have been running around 5 degrees.

A good Samaritan spotted her and poured bottled water on her tongue hoping to free it.

After draining the bottle, the stranger shouts for help.

The dog is later shown free and apparently uninjured as she gets a pat from the good Samaritan.

It is not known if the dog had an owner or was a stray, or whether she received any treatment from a vet.

The video was made in Vladivostok on Thursday.

Two men jailed in China after insulting police officer who clubbed a dog to death

(The video above is disturbing and may offend some readers.)

 

Two men served five days in jail in China after publicly insulting a police officer who killed a golden retriever on a street in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province.

The arrests were made Dec. 31, the same day one of the men posted pictures and personal details about the policeman on a Twitter-like social media platform called Weibo.

The second man was arrested on charges of publicly insulting the officer.

The policeman was filmed beating the leashed dog to death with a wooden club.

According to Changsha Police’s social media account, each of the two men was given a five-day detention for disclosing confidential information of a police officer and showing disrespect to a police officer.

The policeman’s actions were praised by some, the Daily Mail reported, while others criticized the “cruel” and “heartless” manner he employed to kill the dog.

The leashed dog had lunged at several people walking by on the sidewalk where he was tethered and bitten at least two of them.

The officer said he did not have access to a tranquilizing gun and decided to use a wooden club to kill the canine instead.

Dogs herding sheep, as seen from above

Counting imaginary sheep has never worked as a sleep aid for me, but maybe that’s because I always visualized them at ground level.

A bird’s-eye view (or drone’s-camera, in this case) is something entirely different, and quite fantastic. It may not be sleep-inducing, but it is definitely soothing and mesmerizing.

This footage of dogs herding sheep in New Zealand, captured by a camera-equipped drone, is from Tim Whitaker, a filmmaker and aerial photographer in New Zealand. It was taken at a farm in Rangitikei.

As for the choreography, we can thank dog for that.

As the dogs direct them, the massive herd of sheep wash over the green hills like a wave, spreading and narrowing as they make their way to the destination.

Beautiful as this footage is, it raises the unfortunate question: If you’ve got the drones, do you need the dogs?

(The answer — at least until drones start cuddling and looking up at us with big soulful eyes — is yes.)

That’s not to say drones can’t herd dogs. Paul Brennan of Carlow, Ireland, employed a drone nicknamed “Shep” a couple of years ago to herd sheep from one field to another, capturing the process as Shep saw it from the air.

Unlike the video at the top of this post, it’s not nearly as peaceful and soul-enriching — but maybe that’s just the fast-motion pace and the Benny Hill music.

Newfoundlands deliver Christmas trees

One day each Christmas season, the owners of a Pennsylvania tree farm let their dogs do the hauling.

Being Newfoundlands, they are up to the task.

At the cut-your-own Christmas tree farm in Mohnton, one day each season sees the dogs — three that belong to the owners, and others that join in — haul the cut trees in carts to customer’s cars.

Lindsay Eshelman, whose parents, Gregg and Brenda Eshelman, founded Plow Farms in the early 1980s, said her family got its first Newfoundland in 2001. Now they have three — Lillie Bell, Stella and Matilda. They are regulars at the farm, and popuplar among visitors.

Last year, Plow Farms began hosting an now-annual gathering for dozens of Newfies in the weeks before Christmas, Today.com reported.

The dogs who pull carts have all been trained in draft work, Eshelman says.

“Dogs must have a draft certificate to pull, meaning they have been through multiple classes and training, so they know all of the commands and how to properly execute the exercise,” she said. “Outside of being in the fields, our dogs live in luxury, and we can assure if they didn’t want to work, we would gladly let them lay around the fire.”

Next year’s event is scheduled for Dec. 8, 2018.

Man cuts vacation short after seeing his dog kicked, dragged on doggie daycare webcam

An Ohio man on vacation in Mexico cut his trip short and flew home after seeing his dog kicked and dragged across the floor on a dog daycare webcam.

Mike La Salvia, of Cuyahoga Falls, left his dog, Leo, with Tails R Waggin’ Doggie Daycare in Tallmadge, and was shocked last week when he saw the pit bull mix being, in his view, mistreated when he checked the center’s webcam.

“Total pain, I mean there’s no words I can describe. Haven’t really slept since I’ve seen the video,” La Salvia said.

La Salvia immediately cut his vacation in Mexico short and got on a plane back to Ohio. Meanwhile, he had his sister, Nancy, pick Leo up from the daycare, Fox 8 reported.

The footage shows a worker placing her foot on Leo’s neck, dragging him by the collar, and kicking him in the rear as she puts him into a separate room.

It’s a reminder that, as much as they are touted by the companies offering them, webcams offer only minor reassurance to a dog owner. They’re not everywhere. They can be blocked. They can be turned off. And they don’t always keep staff from acting irresponsibly, under the assumption that few clients really have the time to watch all the footage.

Tails R Waggin’, which has locations across the country and three in the Akron area, said the worker pictured in the video was the operator of the Tallmadge and Macedonia locations.

Her franchise agreement has been revoked and she has been prohibited from returning to the daycare property, said Rebecca Brockmeyer, the founder and owner of the company.

Brockmeyer asked the public “to not group this entire company and all its amazing staff members in with one incident that none of them had any involvement in or participated in. We are working on a quick and effective resolution to ensure this never happens again at one of our facilities.”

La Salvia says he plans to file a police report against the person in the video.

He has also started a push for Leo’s Law, which would require that dog care facilities have cameras in every room that the dog can go into, WKYC reported.

A petition calling for a law requiring webcams in every room at dog day care centers had more than 800 signatures as of this morning.

Amy Beach, the woman in the video, released a statement Monday, saying she agrees the video is disturbing, but providing what she called some “context.”

“At the beginning of the video, as I let the pit bull out into the common area, it immediately approached another dog’s back. The pit bull’s hair was standing up and he was low-growling – three very distinct signs of an impending attack. It was at that very moment that I made a split-second decision to subdue the pit bull for the protection of myself and the two dogs. In the emotion of the moment, I was scared and reacted instinctively …

“I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for the heartache this has caused the pit bull’s owner and family, as well as our clients.”