They haven’t saddled them up and landed them gigs at halftime shows, but a group of baboons in Saudi Arabia are reportedly “keeping dogs as pets.”
And, if this video is any indication, the baboons, like humans, can be alternately cruel and loving when it comes to the dogs with whom they co-exist, in this case in a garbage dump outside of Ta’if, not far from the Red Sea.
While the baboons seem to treat pups, or at least the unfortunate one in the beginning of this video, pretty roughly, rest assured nothing too awful happens, and the video goes on to show the two species living, playing and sleeping together, and even grooming each other.
The clip is from a British nature series called “Animals Like Us.”
It came to my attention via Hal Herzog, author of “Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It’s So Hard To Think Straight About Animals.”
Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, has been studying human interactions with other species for two decades — and says he has never run across a species other than humans that truly can be described as keeping pets. So he was stunned when he came upon the video of the Hamadryas baboons and what seem to be their pet dogs.
At least that’s how the documentary’s narrator explains the relationship. The baboons and dogs eat and sleep together, and travel as a pack. The dogs chase off predators and the baboons treat them as members of the family, he says.
Herzog, as he explains in Animals and Us, his blog for Psychology Today, doesn’t seem to totally buy it. He did some quick research, but thinks a lot more is needed before being certain the dogs and baboons of Ta’if have a pet-and-petkeeper relationship.
“In short, are the Ta’if baboons really keeping dogs as their personal pets or is the YouTube clip just another example of Animal Planet type TV bullshit?
“… Some authorities are doubtful. The anthrozoologist Boria Sax, author of the wonderful new book City of Ravens, wrote … ‘You can’t tell just what is happening from the video alone, and we have only the word of the narrator that the dogs are kept as pets. I am skeptical.’
“Eniko Kubinyi, a canine ethologist at the Family Dog Project in Budapest was more blunt, ‘Dogs as pets of baboons? Science fiction. Baboons and dogs share the same environment, and they are socially plastic, so they enjoy the company of others…’
“I am skeptical, too,” Herzog said. “But I have been obsessed by the video for a week. It raises a host of questions in my mind.”
Might the relationship, for example, be less peaceful if there wasn’t abundant food for all in their shared environment, he wonders.
I wonder whether the baboons use any positive reinforcement to keep the dogs in line, or, as the early part of the video indicates, they opt for the dominant, Millan-esque, pack-leader approach.
Desolate as the landscape looks, the connection between the baboons and dogs in a desert garbage dump seems some fertile ground for research.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 27th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, animals and us, animals like us, baboons, behavior, chimps, dogs, dump, environment, hal herzog, humans, interaction, monkeys, nature, pet-keeping, petkeeping, pets, psychology, psychology today, saudi arabia, shared, some we eat, some we hate, some we love, species, ta'if, video, youtube
Here, as promised, is Adam Yamada-Hanff’s big news: He and his singing dogs, Sierra and Cody, will be on the Anderson Cooper show.
Adam tells me the segment was taped last week and is scheduled to air Monday.
They’ll be performing Auld Lang Syne, one of their earlier renditions of which is shown above.
Adam said one of the program’s producers called him last week, asking him to come on the show with both dogs. She told him she’d been searching YouTube for interesting New Year’s videos when she came across Sierra and Cody.
“We think they’re hilarious!” he quoted her as saying. “We would love to have you on the show. We just thought it would be perfect for our New Year’s special …”
Adam said they drove to New York last Wednesday for the Thursday taping. Both dogs sang during a rehearsal, as they generally do when he starts playing the saxophone. But when the crew asked him to perform it again, for a sound check, neither dog uttered a sound.
“Sierra just lay on the floor and had a look as to say, ‘We just did this!’”
Adam said he was a little nervous they might not perform when the time came, and he didn’t divulge how the final performance went.
“Watch Monday,” he said.
The show airs in Baltimore at 2 p.m on WBAL. To find when and where it airs in your part of the country, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adam yamada-hanff, anderson cooper, appearance, auld lang syne, baltimore, cody, dogs, dogs singing, new years, saxophone, sierra, sierra and cody, singing, singing dogs, videos, youtube
Surely, you remember Sierra and Cody.
Who better to turn to for a saxophone-accompanied Christmas Eve carol?
We met Sierra and her human, Adam Yamada-Hanff, a Baltimore area community college student, back in May of 2010, when he agreed to perform with Sierra during my “Hey, That’s My Dog!” photo exhibit at Captain Larry’s in Baltimore.
Adam later brought his other dog, Cody, in on the act, and they’ve posted several videos on YouTube.
When he’s not playing saxophone and performing with his dogs, Adam writes about automobiles for several websites, and has his own blog called Adam’s Auto Advice.
Adam’s goal is to use the dogs’ performances to raise money for animal shelters and rescue organizations.
He also has some big news to share, but we’re going to make you tune in tomorrow — and get serenaded again — to find out.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adam yamada-hanff, baltimore, carol, christmas, cody, dogs, dogs singing, oh christmas tree, sierra, sierra and cody, singing, video, youtube
A talking dog being taunted by his owner about treats is the second most viewed video of 2011, according to YouTube’s newly released list.
“Ultimate Dog Tease,” with close to 75 million views, came in second to Rebecca Black singing her Internet hit, “Friday,” which has 180 million views.
The Dog Tease video was made by Andrew Grantham, of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Grantham adds voiceovers to home videos of family pets, a hobby that has since turned into a full-time job for him.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2011, andrew grantham, animals, dog, dogs, friday, halifax, list, most popular, most viewed, most watched, nova scotia, pets, rebecca black, talking animals, talking dogs, taunted, teased, treats, ultimate dog tease, videos, views, voiceover, youtube
Sure, we frown upon the humanization of dogs, and the new heights it keeps reaching.
On the other hand, we do have a funny bone, and this — moreso than the many others of its ilk on the Internet — hits it.
So, if you haven’t already seen it — and it has gone way viral — here’s “”Two Dogs Dining in a Crowded Restaurant.”
The video, starring NoNo, the yellow lab, and Sia, a Danish Broholmer, was posted in January and is nearing 8 million views.
The video’s makers say they’ve received mostly good comments, but a few from people expressing worries that the dogs were “forced” to take part, or might have hurt themselves on the forks and knives.
“Firstly the dogs loved it – they are best friends and really like getting all the attention,” they say on YouTube. “We practiced with the cutlery in advance, and both dogs very quickly figured it out. Besides the ‘waitress’ kept on talking to them and encouraging them. They are very well behaved, and know when to sit still, take it slow and wait.
“Enjoy and don´t be worried – both dogs love it, and we love them.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, danish broholmer, diner, dining, dog, dogs, eating, forks, funny, humanization, humans, knives, nono, pets, restaurant, sia, trick, two dogs dining, video, viral, yellow lab, youtube
Nancy Schutt was painting pictures of dogs.
Rich Reising and his son were writing a country song about dogs.
Like chocolate and peanut butter, they came together, Reese’s Cup style, merging their projects into the video above.
Rich, who has three Jack Russells, wrote the song, “Life Was So Much Better With You There,” with his son Dan, much of it by exchanging emails. That’s Dan Reising performing it.
“When it was finished, I brought it to work to play for some ‘dog loving’ friends,” Rich said. “When I saw their reaction to it, I wanted other dog lovers to enjoy it.”
Rich was contemplating posting it on YouTube when he crossed paths with Nancy Schutt, who was contemplating posting a video of her artworks on YouTube.
“So we took the paintings she planned on using and arranged them in an order to go with the story of ’Better With You There,’” Rich said.
“From the feedback we have gotten … we think we got it right — so many nice letters on how it reminds people of their lost loved ones.”
Rich reports that any profits made from the song being downloaded — from Napster, iTunes, Rhapsody, etc. — will go to Hearts United for Animals in Nebraska.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, art, artist, better with you there, country, dan reising, death, dog, dog art, dog lovers, dogs, grief, life was so much better with you there, loss, loved ones, memorial, music, nancy schutt, paintings, partnership, pet, pets, rich reising, song, tribute, video, youtube
The Wake County SPCA, which received a finger-wagging warning from a wealthy music conglomerate after it had the audacity to use an Abba song to try and save animals’ lives, has managed to get their inspiring lyp-synch video back online.
We showed you the video not long after it was posted on YouTube. And we told you about it when Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music content company, polititely instructed the Wake SPCA, in Raleigh, to take it off.
The SPCA did so, but now it’s taking another chance on “Take a Chance on Me,” the Abba song which staff and volunteers lip synch in the video, all while showing off adoptable pets.
Performing a little magic of its own, the SPCA returned the video online in a silent version, providing instructions on how to link simultaneously to a recording of the Abba song that’s already on YouTube, one that has somehow avoided the wrath of the corporate giant.
If you time your click right, you can hear the song from the other source while watching the SPCA video, which is silent except for a few barking dogs in the background, and the voices of staff and volunteers singing at the end.
The SPCA explains on its website that it came up with the solution after trying to convince UMG that its video was not a commercial, that it was similar to hundreds of other user-created YouTube videos using the same song, and that, as a charity, it was using the song for noble purposes.
“So we begged, we pleaded, we promised to single-handedly bring Abba back to the U.S. pop charts, and finally we tried to purchase the license. The animal loving music rep in Calilfornia reported that the songwriters actually watched the video, and the answer was still, ‘no, it’s a commercial.’ But like we said, we don’t blame them. After all, homeless pets and animal shelters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.”
Because of its popularity during its short life — 65,000 viewed it on YouTube in six days — the SPCA came up with the alternative viewing method, which, though it requires a little more work, is still worth the effort.
The SPCA says it holds no ill will toward the production company:
“We don’t blame them really. Who could believe that our total budget was only $32? Who could believe that an incredible production company would be so committed to helping animals that they would work for hours and hours without pay? Who could believe that more than 50 volunteers and staff would be so dedicated to helping homeless animals that they would come together and pretend to sing and dance and be silly for the animals? Well, we all can believe this, but lawyers in Sweden can’t.”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 8th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: abba, adopt, adoption, animals, charity, commercial, dogs, homeless, lip-synch, non-profit, ownership, pets, production, rights, shelter, song, spca, staff, take a chance on me, umg, universal music group, use, video, volunteers, wake county, warning, youtube
UPDATE: The Wake County SPCA video is back — in a fashion. Find details here.
Wouldn’t you just know it: The Wake County SPCA’s inspiring music video — lip-synched to Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” — has been taken down, apparently after threats by the giant music company that holds the rights to the song.
The following message is displayed where the video once was.
“This video contains content from UMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.”
UMG stands for Universal Music Group, a global corporate giant and the world’s largest music content company.
Another message adds, “Sorry folks. We are working to convince them of video’s educational content and promo value.”
We could all boycott Universal Music for being such sticks in the mud, for putting their turf concerns and profits above saving the lives of dogs, but that would mean no:
Akon, Erykah Badu, Justin Bieber, Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Melissa Etheridge, Fergie, 50 Cent, Nelly Furtado, Vince Gill, Godsmack, India.Arie, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Jennifer Lopez, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nicky Minaj, Rihanna, Gwen Stefani, Sting, George Strait, Shania Twain, Stevie Wonder, and Kanye West — just to name a few.
I could handle that, particularly the Justin Bieber part.
How ridiculously greedy. How uncivically minded. How, in a word, bullying — why else would the company feel the need to flex its muscles at a non-profit organizatiion trying to save the lives of dogs.
We hope the SPCA can work things out and get the video back online.
They seem to be taking the matter in stride, and not calling UMG a bunch of greedy, selfish, joy-smashing pigs — that’s just me that’s doing that.
The Wake County SPCA website offers this explanation:
“Sorry about this folks, we got a very cordial email from the folks in Sweden that we are using this commercially (as opposed to non-commercially). So while we try to convince them of its educational content and value and that we will single-handedly bring ABBA back to the top of the US pop charts, please enjoy another SPCA of Wake County video.”
Visitors to the website are taken instead to another SPCA video featuring scenes from the shelter and songs by Sara McLachlan and The Beatles.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abba, boycott, copyright, justin beiber, lip-synch, music, non-profit, removed, shelter, spca, take a chance on me, umg, universal music group, video, wake county spca, youtube
Between a YouTube video gone viral, the Oprah Winfrey Show, the National Geographic Channel and Animal Planet, the playful antics of Cassie the cat and Moses the crow have been viewed my millions.
“Cat and Crow: An Amazing Friendship” tells story of the four-year relationship between a stray kitten and the crow who befriended her in the yard of Ann and Wally Collito in Attleboro, Mass.
Conveying a hopeful message of love and peace, the book was written by Lisa Fleming and pubished by Collage Books, Inc. It is aimed at ages 3 and up.
Fleming, a former newspaper columnist and freelance writer, first saw Cassie and Moses on YouTube. She contacted the Collitos. They encouraged her to tell the story, and gave her access to their collection of photos and videos.
The book is illustrated by Anna Marie Domink-Harris, and includes contributions from naturalist Bernd Heinrich and Nancy Peterson, cat programs manager for the Humane Society of the United States.
It is scheduled for release on Oct. 16 — National Feral Cat Day.
To learn more about “Cat and Crow,” visit the book’s Facebook page
Posted by jwoestendiek September 12th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, ann collito, attleboro, book, cassie, cat, cat and crow, cats, childrens book, collage books, crow, friends, lisa fleming, moses, pets, unlikely friends, video, viral, wally collito, youtube
NPR’s Scott Simon took up the subject of dogs today — specifically, those two tsunami survivors we first showed you four days ago. (Here they are again, above.)
They were caught on camera by Fuji TV in Mito, Japan – the brown and white dog seemingly guarding over the apparently unconscious other one, and placing its paw on the other’s head when it finally stirs.
The heart-wrenching images quickly spread around the world on YouTube, and the lack of any confirmed reports on what became of the dogs left many wondering, and trolling the Internet for information.
Simon reports, as others have — based primarily on a Facebook posting by Kenn Sakurai, the president of a dog food company, who has been among the volunteers –that both dogs were rescued and are in a veterinary clinic in the Ibaraki Prefecture.
Simon’s interpretation of the scene, like most, was: ”The dog was sticking by his friend, and asking for help.”
It was similar to what he saw with humans, he says, while covering Hurricane Katrina: “…It seemed that the commonest reason people who stayed through the storm gave for refusing to evacuate was, ‘I couldn’t leave my pet.’
Simon goes on to say: “Among the thousands of volunteers who have been mining the rubble of the earthquake are Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, who look and listen for dogs and cats among the ruins. To those who might find such relief work frivolous when so many people are hungry and homeless, Animal Rescue and Support says, ‘helping the pets in Japan is to help people. All of us who are animal lovers can relate to what it would feel like to be reunited with a pet after a disaster.’”
While dogs go homeless in Japan, Simon notes, it’s business as usual in China, where Tibetan mastiffs continue to bring in huge bucks. An 11-month old Tibetan mastiff puppy named Hong Dong, or Big Splash, sold last week for $1.5 million, the highest price ever paid for a dog (unless you count cloning).
In China, Simon says, “Tibetan mastiffs are massive, fluffy status symbols … Hong Dong has been raised on beef, chicken, abalone, and sea cucumber. His breeder told Britain’s Telegraph, ‘He is a perfect specimen.’”
Simon concludes the piece by asking this question: “The million-dollar puppy that’s been fattened with abalone, or the grimy dog with brown and white splotches who stood over his friend until he found help: which do you think of as a perfect specimen?”
I’ll have to go with the grimy, wave-tossed mutt who has made a far bigger splash than Big Splash — and who is a symbol of something far more important than status.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, big splash, china, cloning, dogs, dollars, earthquake, facebook, friendship, fuji tv, hong dong, japan, japanese, kenn sakurai, loyalty, million, mito, npr, pets, rescue, scott simon, simon says, status symbol, tibetan mastiff, tsunami, tsunami dogs, two dogs, two dogs in japan, video, youtube