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Tag: view

Did Google “street view” car run over a dog?

googledog1

Did a Google “street view” car hit and kill a small dog on a road in Chile?

Some media outlets are suggesting just that, based on evidence that comes from  … Google.

streetviewcarWhether the Internet giant was fingered by its own technology isn’t certain, but a look at what the street view car recorded while traveling down the 2800 block of Meza Bell indicates that the lively little dog ran that ran in front of the car was, after the car had passed, apparently lifeless.

Street view cars, driven by independent contractors, travel down public streets recording a 360 degree view of  the surroundings for use on Google Maps.

The images show the dog trotting in front of the oncoming car, and laying motionless in its wake.

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Most media accounts, like this one on BusinessInsider.com, imply the vehicle did not stop.

Google says it is investigating the images to “understand and inform what happened” and ensure that they have proper guidelines in place to protect people and animals.

Last year, questions arose over whether a street view car had struck and killed a donkey in Botswana. Google said a review of the images proved that didn’t happen.

(Images from Google Maps)

 

Romo, that 150-pound doggie in the window, is leaving D.C. and moving to the burbs

romo

One of Washington, D.C.’s most revered landmarks is moving to the suburbs of Virginia.

It’s not the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial; it’s Romo — a 150-pound bull mastiff and pit bull mix who has become famous for resting half-in, half-out the first floor living room window of his owner’s home in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

Romo has been assuming his position, perched on the window sill, for years now — mellowly watching the world go by.

But now the droopy-faced tourist attraction is headed to a new life in the suburbs, WTOP reports.

His owners, Tiffany Bacon and Peter Scourby, are moving this fall out of their Calvert Street apartment to Arlington, where Romo, though losing his street-level window on the world, will have his own suburban (yawn) backyard.

Bacon is hoping the seven-year-old pooch smoothly makes the transition from urban dog to suburban dog.

“I’m a little sad because he doesn’t know anything else; all he knows is this house,” Bacon says. “He loves the city; he loves going to the park; his dog walker is his best friend in the entire world. He’s going to be devastated.”

Bacon said Romo started hanging out the window years ago. She opened it while cleaning the apartment one morning “and then all of a sudden, I looked over and he was hanging out the window,” she says.

After that, she noticed every time she walked into the house, Romo would be perched by the window, waiting for someone to open it. If Bacon just cracked it open slightly, Romo would nudge it up the rest of the way with his nose and then lay across the sill.

Since then, opening the window for Romo has become part of their daily routine — even if it does send their heating and air conditioning bills sky high.

“At 5:30, we’ll open it up, and he’ll be out there, ready, just waiting for the buses. When we’re home, it’s open,” says Scourby. “…He’s so sad when it’s closed.”

Romo rests his chest on the windowsill, and his front paws dangle outside over the edge. He rarely sees anything that gets him worked up. Instead he watches quietly, rarely barking — even when fans stop to say hello or take a photo.

He’s frequently Tweeted, and often Instagrammed, and, of course has his own Facebook page, but he takes it all in stride — even when pedestrians and drivers shout out to him.

“People yell from their cars when they’re stopped at this light here,” Scourby says. “It’s hysterical.”

The move to Arlington is scheduled for October. My guess is that — dogs being creatures of habit, dogs being highly social beasts — Romo will seek out a new front window to hang out of at the new home, no matter how fine a back yard he is offered.

There’s a world out there, and his job — or so it seems — is to watch it.

(Photo: Rachel Nania / WTOP)

Lion and dachshund: Who’s getting exactly what out of this relationship?

When it comes to animals, there are those softies among us who see nearly everything they do – especially dogs — as magical and motivated by love.

Then there are those – generally not ohmidog! readers — who see dogs as unfeeling beasts concerned only with their next meal and their own comfort.

When a dog does something that seems kind, noble or otherwise amazing, members of that first group will “ooh” and “ah,” while members of the second will say “so what?” Anything a dog does, in their view, is explainable solely by instincts, training and will to survive. That way dogs snuggle with you at night? They are just trying to keep warm. Those goo goo eyes adoringly staring at you? They’re just trying to manipulate you into providing a treat.

For sure, the first group may often read too much into the motivations behind a dog’s behavior. But, just as surely, the second group sometimes isn’t reading en0ugh.

I, being author of a blog on the amazing things dogs do, am clearly a member of the first group. But, also being a realist and even more of a cynic, I can sometimes – just sometimes – see the second group’s point. As soon as I watched this video, for instance — once my “awwwwwwww” came to the final “w” — I started wondering about the motivations of the lion and dachshund, and, realistically, who was getting exactly what out of this relationship.

Bonedigger, the lion, and Milo, the dachshund, live together at Garold Wayne Exotic Animal Park in Wynnewood, Okla. Milo was among a litter of puppies living a the park when Bonedigger, who suffers from a bone disease, arrived as 4-week-old cub. The pups and lion eat together every day.

After the meal, Milo licks Bonedigger’s teeth clean.

I’d venture Milo is not exhibiting love — or at least not love alone — when he sticks his head into the mouth of a lion. I’d submit, too, that Bonedigger’s dental hygiene is not Milo’s top concern. (Then again, you never know.)

More likely, Milo is after a few final morsels, and Bonedigger, for his part, cooperates because he appreciates the attention, or the gum massage, or having a wiener dog who serves as his own personal flossing aide.

Park president Joe Schreibvogel says the dogs and lion have eaten together since they were youngsters. They also cuddle with each other, and sometimes even mimic each other. It’s as if, species differences aside, they’ve become a pack.

“The dogs thought it was just a big puppy and have loved each other since,” Schreibvogel, who goes by the name “Joe Exotic,”  told Today. The video of the lion and the dog has brought some needed attention to the Oklahoma zoo, which suffered about $18,000 in damage during the recent tornadoes. A spokesperson for the zoo says they’ve taken in about 100 homeless animals — domestic and exotic — since then.

But back to Milo and Bonedigger, and the question at hand.

Who’s getting what from this unlikely inter-species relationship, and who is benefitting most – the tooth-sucking canine, or the massive feline, who, rather than roaring at the little dog, says “ahhh” (or is it awwwww?) and lets him have at it?

My guess, is it’s a third species, one whose members sometimes over-analyze, and sometimes under-analyze, but still haven’t loss the ability to be amazed; one whose members – just as Bonedigger seems to appreciate a good tooth-licking — like to have their hearts warmed now and then.

Judging from the half million views this video has gotten in the past month,  I’d say it ’s us.

Coming out of the (walk-in) closet

There’s something I need to tell you, and I hope it doesn’t lower your opinion of me. On top of coffee and cigarettes, I now sport a third addiction: HGTV.

About three weeks into my stay in the mansion basement, I realized I had access to more than just the handful of channels I was getting on my small TV – that simply by reprogramming the remote I could get more than 100. Three weeks after that new horizon opened up, there is only on channel number I have memorized, the one for HGTV. (It’s 69 on my dial.)

When I’m eating lunch, when there’s a lull in my day, when I need to step away from the keyboard and let my carpal tunnels reopen, I tune in Home and Garden Television and watch designers upgrade homeowner’s kitchens, or install a media-filled “man cave” in the basement, or turn a bedroom — from blah to ahhhh, from drab to fab – into a serene and spa-like paradise.

At the end, the homeowners get to see the transformation and say “ohmigod” a lot.

In other HGTV programming, shows follow people — young couples usually — as they search for a new home altogether, viewing three homes and then making their choice.

The part of it I like, when it comes to the design shows, is watching a project from conception to fruition, with, of course, the final touch of colorful accessories that really make the whole thing “pop.” It appeals to the Virgo, or something, in me. With the househunting shows, I like guessing which house the couple will pick (I get it right every single time), and predicting how long the marriage is going to last.

(When you can’t agree — or at least rationally discuss – something as simple as hardwood floors versus Mexican tile, your union’s days are numbered.)

Each episode of “Househunters” ends with a visit, a few months later, to the couple in their new home, into which they have comfortably settled and fixed those things they found most intolerable — whether it be wallpaper that is “too busy” or the devastating lack (it’s a cruel, cruel world) of granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Then – and this explains a lot of why I’m hooked – as soon as one episode ends, another begins, with no commercial break … “Tom and Nancy have outgrown their modest home in Modesto, and, with another baby on the way, need someplace larger, with a large master bedroom, an en-suite bathroom and a fenced yard for their dachschund, Scooter.”

That’s all it takes. Based on that simple plot introduction — and my need to see the tidy outcome – I’m in for another 30 minutes.

Why every station doesn’t do the no-commercials-between-episodes thing – it’s sort of the TV viewer equivalent of chain smoking — is beyond me.

I think another part of the HGTV addiction – in addition to having crushes on at least two of the designers (Howyadoin’, Genevieve?) — is that the urge to nest is growing stronger in me, after nearly a year traveling the country with my dog, living out of suitcases and staying in too many Motel 6′s.

I don’t know if urge to nest is making me watch HGTV, or if HGTV is adding to my urge to nest, but I definitely have an increasing desire to have a box of my own, put my stuff in it, make it functional and decorate it with some colorful accessories that really make it pop.

There is a third factor, I think, to the addiction. Watching HGTV makes me mad, and we, for some reason, like to watch people who make us mad  — hence the success of shows like Survivor, and The Apprentice, and all those “real” housewives with artificial parts, not to mention sensitive bachelors willing to probe the souls of multiple women in search of their true lifemate.

On “Househunters,” there can be a perfectly cute and loveable young couple — the kind I could be friends with — that I instantly start hating the moment one of them turns up their nose at a laminate wood floor, or a stove and refrigerator that are, gasp, white. They seem convinced they can’t find true happiness without granite countertops.

The wealthier and pickier they are, the more I hate them, and want to send them to go work for the Peace Corps for a couple of years.

I find myself getting infuriated even more by “Househunters International” where homebuyers, usually seeking a second home, say, in the south of France, are forced to confront the bitter reality that there is only one walk-in closet, or that the ocean view from the Mexican villa they are looking at is slightly blocked by a palm tree.

Part of it, I’m sure, is jealousy — the fact that my financial situation for the moment precludes stainless steel appliances, the fact that a commodities broker, whatever the heck that is, can afford a $2.3 million second home while I can barely afford a commode.

Then again, maybe these people aren’t so greedy, and this is just another stereotype that HGTV, by taking things out of context, is reinforcing — that of the spoiled rotten gimme generation.

For sure, HGTV reinforces gender stereotypes. With every househunting couple, the woman demands walk-in closets and, generally, jokes about maybe giving her husband a little space in it. Just as the female needs closet space, the male needs a man cave, where he can watch sports on a large flat screen TV, play video games, have the boys over for poker and otherwise avoid the wife, who’s probably out buying shoes anyway.

Just once I’d like to see a man who wants a space to work on his scrapbooking, or a woman who’s interested in a barbecue pit.

My final objection to HGTV — though, of course, I don’t object enough to change the channel — is grammatical in nature.

It’s the use of the term “price point.”

I don’t know if HGTV invented this term, or if it’s something real estate agents came up with to make their jobs seem multi-faceted and complex, as opposed to something a monkey could do. For centuries, the word “price” worked just fine. Now, we have “price point,” as in ”You’re not going to find anything else like this at this price point.” Or, “granite countertops are rare at this price point.”

I don’t think just cutting back on HGTV will work for me. I think the only solution is clean and total break (sorry, Genevieve) — a moratorium on HGTV. Like onion dip and coffee, it seems I can’t be happy with just a little of it. Instead, it makes me — much like the stainless-steel-appliance-seeking homebuyers — want more: More episodes, more closet space, more upscale home furnishings, and of course more colorful accessories that will really make things pop.

Portraits of Ace, in sculpture

Ace will clamber right up on a picnic table. He’ll settle on a park bench just like a human. And when it comes to public sculpture, he will –  with the slightest encouragement and if there is room — climb aboard as well.

So with no disrespect to the artists intended — actually quite the opposite — here are some photos of Ace, who is feeling much better, thank you, posing on and in public sculpture in Seattle.

Being, in my view, a work of art himself, Ace only adds to the artists’ works, breathes new life into them, and, hey, they are public. If they were fenced off, of course, we wouldn’t trespass upon them, I’m pretty sure.

Above and to the left is “Changing Form,” by Doris Chase, located in Kerry Park in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood .

I’d like to think that Doris, who died two years ago, would have no problem with Ace climbing into her 15 foot tall steel sculpture — that she and other creators of outdoor art would actually want people to touch and climb on and fully experience (except for peeing, which Ace didn’t) their works.

The sculpture consists of stacked geometric shapes with cutouts opening to views of downtown Seattle. (The view of the skyline from Kerry Park is a famous one, and also served as the view from Frazier’s condominium on the television show.)

Chase, a Seattle artist who later became known for her pioneering work in video art, finished the sculpture in 1971. The piece was commissioned by the daughters of A. Kerry, the benefactor who gave the city Kerry Park.

This donut-looking work is “Black Sun,” by Isamu Noguchi, a prominent Japanese-American artist who died in 1988.

It’s located in Seattle’s Volunteer Park, where tourists frequently photograph it with the Space Needle showing through the hole.

We managed to capture the Space Needle and Ace, who,  though he would have preferred a real giant donut, still eagerly approached and jumped up on the sculpture.

I suspect that doggy types will have no problem with Ace climbing up on treasured works of art, and that artsy types might view it as rude, and that doggy-artsy types will have mixed feelings.

But I would argue that art placed in a park — as opposed to behind a glass case in a museum — is meant to touch, and be touched by, the populace, and I consider dogs part of the populace.

There was one statue Ace didn’t have a chance to climb aboard. The artist beat me to the punch. It already sported a canine – a coyote, to be precise.

This statue of a coyote standing atop a cow used to be in Pioneer Square in Seattle. It now calls a sidewalk in Kirkland home.

It was the first statue cast by artist Brad Rude — a Montana born artist who grew up in Walla Walla and attended Maryland Institute College of Art.

He sculpted the life-sized cow and coyote in plaster while working at a foundry. When he asked the foundry owner for a raise, the owner volunteered to cast the cow and coyote in bronze.

Some people find the concept odd — a cow with a coyote standing on his back.

But it makes perfect sense to me.

Dog TV: All pups all the time

In case you get tired of watching your own dog — and if you ‘re like me, you never do — there’s always the Internet, where a visit to Ustream.tv will hook you up with a live cam show of these Jack Russell puppies, and much more.

You can check in with Madi, a sick Havanese (her temperature has dropped), a litter of Shiba Inus from San Francisco, some mastiff pups from Idaho, a gaggle of Chihuahuas in San Antonio and, of course, Grandma Beth’s bulldogs, who, I can report, made quick work of their dinner last night.

In addition to watching, you can also chat with fellow dog watchers.

All in all, as of last night anyway, there were 41 dog cams to choose from — many, if not most, of which seem aimed at selling pups, as opposed to just warming the cockles of your heart.

The Jack Russell show takes place just north of Syracuse, New York, and features a mom and her five pups. The father, Ollie, makes an occasional appearance.

The website offers about 75 other animal cams — everything from birds and fish to goats and squirrels.

Pedigree Super Bowl ad will tout adoptions

Pedigree, the dog food company, has put together a pretty funny Super Bowl ad — one that once again will be encouraging pet adoptions.

Here’s a sneak peak at the new ad, which will air during the Super Bowl on Sunday. (Don’t worry, it contains no graphic representations of vegetables.)

Pedigree, which took out an ad in USA Today late last year urging then President-elect Obama to adopt a dog, has also put together “behind the scenes” videos, related to the Super Bowl ad, which can be found at www.pedigree.com.

For each view of the “Crazy Pets” spot or the behind-the-scene footage between now and February 23, 2009 Pedigree will donate 8 ounces of dry Pedigree dog food to animal shelters, up to a total of $1 million.