Archive for February, 2010

Boulder Daschund featured in USA Today’s “Working Like a Dog”

One of our very own local canines has recently become a national celeb featured in USA Today — and taking a look at Fritz I think you can see why. Fritz is a working dog, putting in hours of overtime as the personal assistant to Carol Brock, editor of Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine.

Fritz the Gardener - photo by Peggy Doyle

When Brock adopted Fritz from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley about a year ago, he was in sad shape. Now he is regularly featured in the magazine and has become quite the socialite. “Everybody knows him. It’s ‘Hi, Fritz’ wherever we go,” she says.

He earns his kibble by performing by performing tricks for his office peeps and adoring fans. “He learns things in a second,” Brock says. “I thought I’d teach him some tricks and he’s so smart — he learns after just one or two times — I ran out of ideas for tricks.” She went to the bookstore last week for help: a book of 101 dog tricks. She figures it’ll be a few weeks before he masters them all.

That’s what she gets for adopting a smart dog. Stick with Great Danes and you’ll work on the same six commands for the rest of their lives. Heaven help me, I do love ’em big and dumb.

How awesome is the new World’s Largest Dog?

I am so in love with the newly crowned World’s Tallest Dog: Giant George the Great Dane! Of course, he’s a Great Dane, what’s not to love? But this guy has twice as much to offer as most Danes. He weighs in at 245 pounds (my teeny little delicate Ferdinand only weighs 107 pounds and my largest Dane, Norman, only weighed 180) and is 7’3″ from the tip of his handsome nose to the end of his billy club of a tail.

As much as I love Giant George, I don’t envy his people’s food bills. George eats more than my Great Dane’s entire weight every month — about 110 pounds in kibble, which costs a princely $250 to $300. I also don’t envy the amount of real estate they’ve had to give up in their home; George has his own queen size bed. But the joys of having such an enormous snuggle buddy to ride shotgun in the golf cart more than makes up for those minor inconveniences I’m sure.

See original story (and a video on page 3) here on Oprah’s website

Doghouse Studios wins national photo contest! See the winning photo

Just found out I won the Examiner.com “Faces and Places of the World” photo contest in the professional category of Animals/Pets. Yea Me! Here’s the winning photo below, called Tango de Los Perros. Check out the article and slide show of all the winning photos here: Photo contest winners slide show

Dancing Dogs

Tango de los Perros

Sadie the Scottish Terrier Wins Best of Show at Westminster!

Sadie, the gorgeous black Scottish Terrier has won the Best of Show at Westminster! Here’s a look at Super Sadie:

Let’s All Vote for the New Guy: The Pyrenean Shepherd

Westminster dog show opened today. I have never, ever, ever picked the winner. Not even picked the winner of the breed or category or anything. But I love it anyway. I’m torn this year between Westminster and the Olympics but Bob Kostas’s new hair color is throwing me off so I’ve decided to stick with the dogs. Fave newly recognized by AKC dog of the year: The Pyrenean Shepherd. Check this dog out!

Picture from Canine Coalition

Get more info on the Pyrenean Shepherd here at Canine Coalition

Extreme Dog Grooming: Camels, Buffaloes and Horses, Oh My

Ever seen a camoodle? Or a Clydesdoodle? Thankfully these are not new cross-species designer dog breeds, they are poodles groomed to look like a camel and a Clydesdale, respectively if not respectfully.

Clydesdoodle

A couple of these dogs actually seem to be enjoying themselves. Most of them are just enduring the humiliation. So while I applaud the groomer’s over-the-top creativity, I still feel really, really bad for the dogs. But not so bad that I could resist sharing these photos with you.

Buffaloodle. For the CU fans:

Buffadoodle

Keep in mind that the abominations sculpted and dyed into their fur will in most cases be shaved and washed away the next day. They don’t have to go to the dog park looking like that.

Camoodle


Holy Muttrimony: Man’s Best Friend as Best Man

Snuffy the Saint Bernard was ringbearer at her folks' wedding


Eddie Van Halen’s new bride was escorted down the aisle by her venerable old Pomeranian. Gwen Stefani was escorted down the aisle by her sheepdog, Winston. Sir Elton John’s best man was his Cocker Spaniel, Arthur. Other celebrities who included their pooches in their nuptials are Adam Sandler, Tori Spelling and Gisele Bunchen and Tom Brady.

But it’s not just Hollywood where dogs are playing the role of groomsmen, bridesmaids, ring bearers and flower girls. It’s become an ever increasing trend in modern weddings all over America and Europe. Some couples even have their cats or birds participate.

Some couples choose full participation in the ceremony, some choose to just have their pets join them for the wedding photos or as guests at the reception. Snuffy, the lovely Saint Bernard pictured above, got to do both. First she was the ringbearer – she carried the rings in her cask of course — and then attended the reception and danced the night away with the newlyweds.

More and more churches, banquet halls and hotels are making allowances for pets to attend. But just because you can have your dog at your wedding, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. There are many factors to review when considering whether or not Fido should be one of your groomsmen.

“Some dogs get scared or aggressive in the midst of a lot of people and activity,” explained Jennifer Burgess, a clinical instructor of animal behavior and welfare at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “A dog may be able to handle a crowd, but then add loud noises, strangers, children and a costume, and it may be pushed over the edge.”

Iraq Vets Receive Service Dogs Trained by Prisoners

puppies behind bars, iraq war vet

Iraq war vet receives service dog from Puppies Behind Bars program

Four Veterans of the war in Iraq recently participated in a two-week Team Training course. The veterans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of their military service in Iraq. The group consisted of one woman and three men who are from different states.

The dogs are trained by inmates that reside in medium to maximum security prisons in New York State. Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) oversees this program known as the “Dog Tags” program. Inmates receive puppies as young as eight weeks of age and teach them eighty plus Service Dog commands over their 16-18 month stay. When the dogs have attained a certain level of training, they will move on to Colorado where they are matched with wounded Veterans from across the country as a Service Dog. PBB also trains “Explosive Detection Canines” (EDC’s), some of which end up in Iraq and Afghanistan, saving many lives there as well as in the United States.

The Service Dogs are provided free of charge to the veteran. All expenses, including lodging and transportation are covered by Puppies Behind Bars “Dog Tags” program and its donors.

In addition to the usual Service Dog tasks of retrieving, opening doors, and turning on lights, these special dogs have learned how to look both ways before entering a dark room, how to “watch my back” and dial 911 in an emergency, as well as to stop people approaching too closely and protecting the handler’s personal space.

The Team Training for the veterans consists of learning Service Dog handling skills, learning the dogs “language”, canine health, handling stress, and public access issues to name a few. Citizens in Berthoud, Loveland, Denver and Ft. Collins saw the veterans in the community applying their newly learned skills as a Service Dog team.

To donate to PBB or find out more information about the program, please go to the website at: www.puppiesbehindbars.com

Oscar the death-predicting cat: his powers explained

We’ve all been reading about the amazing cat named Oscar who lives in a Rhode Island nursing facility and has an uncanny ability to predict the patients’ deaths. Oscar has correctly predicted the deaths of about 50 patients in the last four years and now has his own book chronicling his spooky ability. ( “Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat,” by Hyperion, $23.99).

The story goes that when Oscar enters a patient’s room to curl up on their bed or sleep in the window sill, the staff knows that patient is reaching the end of their life. Once, the staff believed a patient to be very near death but Oscar kept avoiding that room, opting instead to spend time with a different patient who was believed to be in much better health. The healthier patient that Oscar chose died within hours. Then two days later Oscar went to visit the first patient who died within a couple hours. The patients and their families are said to really appreciate the comfort Oscar brings.

Has anyone other than me considered the idea that maybe Oscar isn’t predicting their deaths, maybe he’s causing them? Maybe he climbs into their beds and curls up over their faces to suffocate them. Or maybe he’s swatting at their life support tubes and unplugs them. Or maybe he’s Death personified. A furry Grim Reaper? I’m just saying….

How to Happily Include Your Dog in Your Wedding



In an ever increasing trend in modern weddings, dogs are playing the role of groomsmen, bridesmaids, ring bearers and flower girls. Some couples even have their cats or birds participate.

More and more churches, banquet halls and hotels are making allowances for pets to attend. But just because you can have your dog at your wedding, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. There are many factors to review when considering whether or not Fido should be one of your groomsmen.

“Some dogs get scared or aggressive in the midst of a lot of people and activity,” explained Jennifer Burgess, a clinical instructor of animal behavior and welfare at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “A dog may be able to handle a crowd, but then add loud noises, strangers, children and a costume, and it may be pushed over the edge.”

Here are some questions Burgess recommends couples consider carefully when incorporating a four-legged buddy:

• Does the venue allow dogs?
• Is the dog comfortable around large groups of people and loud noise?
• Is the dog comfortable around children?
• Will the dog wear a costume?
• Will the dog have access to water, food and a place to relieve itself?
• Who will be responsible for caring for the dog before, during and after the ceremony?
• Will guests be uncomfortable around the dog?

The key is to have a plan for the dog and make sure its needs are attended to before, during and after the festivities. “During the festivities, dogs need to be supervised 100 percent of the time,” Burgess said.

“Brides and grooms should designate someone to supervise their dogs,” Burgess said. “This should be someone they trust and someone the dog already knows.” Close supervision is not only good for the pets, but also for the guests. Some animals can easily damage property or sneak food set out for the reception. Also, some guests may not appreciate face time with your dog, no matter how fond you are of him.

It’s also a good idea to bring treats to reward the dogs’ good behavior and to use in case there’s any difficulty getting them to respond to commands.

And as with everything, practice makes perfect. If you’re expecting the dog to walk down the aisle, carry the rings or perform some sort of trick, you should practice it with them several times beforehand and reward them generously. The wedding rehearsal is an obvious time for this since you’ll be able to practice in the actual setting.

After the ceremony, you may want to let the dog relax in a nearby hotel room or back at home if it’s close. Dogs often find being around so many new people quite tiring. If they do attend the reception, make sure they get plenty of chances to rest and take breaks from all the excitement.

With plenty of planning and forethought you can easily include your pet in your wedding and live happily, tail-waggingly ever after.

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