April 16, 2014

The Heavy Breathing on the Phone Turns Out to Be ... a Dog

Heavy breathers on the phone have been around almost as long as the telephone itself. While it's true that the first official phone call was Alexander Graham Bell saying "Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you," it's almost a sure bet that sometime very soon after that was the first obscene phone call. Maybe someone broke into Bell and Watson's lab just for the purpose.

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Dog and Phone by Shutterstock.">
Dog and Phone by Shutterstock.">
Dog and Phone by Shutterstock.

So, it's understandable if the operators on a certain emergency dispatch line in England were not only perplexed, but a little creeped out when they answered and got nothing but heavy breathing. When the police showed up at the house, they found out that the caller was not some lewd member of what the Brits call the "Mackintosh Brigade," but Leighton, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois. Apparently, Leighton had stolen his owner's phone and somehow managed to dial 999 (the English equivalent of the American 911 service). He took the landline and ran off into the garden to ... do whatever it is dogs do with stolen phones. In this case, that turned out to be calling the emergency services and panting into the microphone.

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999 Emergency Sign by Shutterstock.

"Next thing I knew, there was a policewoman at the door asking if I was all right,"  Leighton's owner, Mary Amos-Cole, told the BBC. "That's when we realized it must have been Leighton. She said a colleague answered the call and all he could hear was heavy breathing, which I guess was Leighton panting."

But apparently, this isn't the first time that Leighton has summoned the local police for his personal entertainment. According to Amos-Cole, he has such a history of this sort of thing that it's almost become a habit with him. Several times, he's set off the burglar alarm just by running around the house, bringing the police.

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If Leighton keeps stealing phones and calling the police, it's only a matter of time before he tries to call from one of these. It's all fun and games until someone gets enslaved by the Daleks.

"He does seem to quite like the police," Amos-Cole says. "He's been in trouble a few times and seems to quite like them coming round. I actually think he has aspirations to be in uniform himself."

If so, Leighton might want to lighten up on the thievery. His owner says that he likes to steal things and is especially fond of mobile phones. Most reputable police departments frown on that sort of thing, at least as part of their public policy.

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Terrier Dog Holding Phone in Mouth by Shutterstock.">
Terrier Dog Holding Phone in Mouth by Shutterstock.

For now, Leighton seems to be sticking to his career as a plainclothes dog, albeit with a touch of larceny in his heart. And hopefully, he'll save his phone calls for more genuine emergencies.

"We all took it as a bit of a joke, but honestly, I could have ended up with the air ambulance or anything," Amos-Cole said.


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This Dog and this Baby Are the Cutest Things on the Internet

Grace Chon is a professional photographer based in Los Angeles, and because two of the cutest things in her life are scurrying around her feet every day, it was only a matter of time before she incorporated them into cute pictures. She did it beautifully. 

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On one side sits Zoey, her 7-year-old rescue dog she adopted from Taiwan. On the other, Jasper, her 10-month-old son. On both their heads: hats. The same hats. Also the same hoodies, the same headbands, the same earmuffs and so forth. She posted the photos to Tumblr, and the Internet dropped everything and headed over for a look.

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“I have a lot of really cute hats for Jasper, and its just really fun to put him in them,” Chon told Today.com. “And one day I realized it looked really good on Zoey; it fit her perfectly and she looked adorable. ... My sister was like, ‘You need to take a picture of them together wearing that hat.’"

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“Zoey loves wearing clothes and loves the camera,” Chon said of her dog. “She will dance around when the clothes come out, and she’ll go running over to her little spot as soon as I have my camera.”

You'll also notice that Zoey has a killer Blue Steel look.

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Chon says the series has allowed people to finally understand and really see her dog, who she says is misunderstood due to her anxious, shy personality.  

“Zoey is really shy, and she didn’t even let Jasper touch her until he was about seven months old,” she said. “Since we’ve been taking the photos, she’s just so into him. She’s really grown even more attached to him since we’ve been doing this.” 

“Most people don’t understand her because she’s very afraid and she barks. And I feel like finally now they’re getting to see what a beautiful, amazing soul she has through these pictures.”

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The success of the series also gives Chon the opportunity to spread the word about rescue dogs, especially black ones.

“Black dogs have the hardest time getting adopted -- [it’s called] Black Dog Syndrome -- and I'm so glad that the whole world can see what a beautiful black dog my Zoey girl is," she told Today.com.

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After the photos went viral, Chon, remarkably, heard from the woman who rescued Zoey in Taiwan and was her foster mom until she sent the dog to live in America. Five years ago the woman, named Joy, rescued the a litter of pups from the gutter and brought them home. She cared for them for a month, then put out a call for help; Animal Rescue Team responded and found foster homes for all the dogs -- except Zoey. Joy wanted to foster the dog herself, because the dog was the runt and the sickliest. 

When she had to leave for China for a job, Joy had to give up Zoey, but she always wondered about the dog. All she knew was that a woman in Los Angeles adopted her. 

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Now, she knows who. After seeing the photos online, Joy reached out to Chon, and the pair have been exchanging stories and photos of the special dog.  

As Chon writes on her Tumblr

What a blessing it’s been to hear about Zoey’s life in Taiwan and to see photos of her as such a little baby. I always knew Zoey was loved and well taken care of while in Taiwan, I just felt it. And speaking with Joy has only confirmed how much love and care she received before she came to me.

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I know one of the hardest parts of fostering is never hearing updates about the dog you loved while searching for their forever home. And it’s an absolute miracle that Joy never has to wonder again.

Thanks to all of you who’ve shared these images around the world, something truly amazing has happened. I have cried so many tears of gratitude in the last 24 hours because I connected with Joy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Via Today.com; photos via Zoey and Jasper: A Rescue Dog and Her Little Boy Tumblr 

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Let's "Go Orange" and Help Prevent Animal Cruelty

Orange is probably my least favorite color. I know it's the color of honey and beer (two of my favorite things to consume), but I just can't dig it. There is no orange in my wardrobe or in my interior decorating. I love pink, red, and yellow -- colors normally considered obnoxious -- but you will find no orange among my belongings.

But when it comes to preventing animal cruelty, I'll gladly wear and display the color orange. Are you willing to "go orange" for the prevention of animal cruelty?

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All dogs deserve a loving embrace like this. Photo by Eunice

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month because that's when the ASPCA's charter was signed back in 1866. The ASPCA's brand color is orange, so it makes sense to "go orange" to raise awareness and help promote dog and cat rescue. Of course we believe everyone ought to be thinking about preventing cruelty to animals every month, but we're also into raising awareness any way possible, so we're going orange in April.

Sometimes it seems like there's some kind of horrific animal cruelty news every day -- so much that you might feel like avoiding it. It's easy to feel defeated and helpless, but here are some things you can do to help do your part in the fight against animal cruelty:

  • Make a donation to your local animal shelter: Whether you donate money or your time, every little bit counts.
  • Don't support pet shops that sell animals from mills: Let your money talk.
  • Encourage adoption: If you know someone who is considering a new pet, help them find a rescue or shelter to adopt from.
  • Educate: Talk to friends, family, and your community about animal cruelty, and make sure to let them know there are ways they can help. 

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We are their voice. Photo by Tony Alter

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Photo by Ben Grey

But here's the obstacle a lot of people seem to think exists between them and activism: They feel that unless they're doing something "big" for a cause, their efforts don't really count. Activism doesn't have to be a grand effort. Some of the most effective activism comes in everyday gestures and by just being yourself -- people are paying attention, and the courage and passion you display can be really inspiring.

With that in mind, I'm updating the Dogster Facebook page with a new cover image in support of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and I've created the graphics below just for you! The more of us who change our cover images all at once, the more visible our cause will be. It's a very small gesture, but it can have a huge impact -- a drop in the water can create vast ripples of change.

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What do you do to help raise awareness about animal cruelty? Share your work in the comments -- you might inspire someone!

Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Puppy Love


It's so hard to resist a puppy. If I did not struggle to exercise self-control, I'd have a household full of yapping, piddling furbabies and my house would smell like puppy breath. Puppies are great, but they take dedication. They also grow up. No matter how cute and sweet that little pup is now, before you take her home you should make sure you are ready for a dog, puppy or not. If not, get your babydog fix by checking out some puppy photos.


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April 15, 2014

A Woman Dying of Cancer Seeks a New Home for Her Best Friend, Sherlock the Pit Bull

It's hard to know how to write stories that start with cancer. Just putting the word on the screen seems to bring everything to an end. It's an ugly little word, about an ugly thing, and the instinct is just to stop there, or worse, to slip into cheap melodrama.

So to put it bluntly, and without melodrama: Cancer kills, and it kills in a painful, degrading way. All the pink ribbons in the world will never change that.

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Patricia Cudd, with Sherlock by her side.

Soon, cancer will kill Patricia Cudd. Cudd is 62 years old, and she probably won't see 63. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After years of grueling chemo, it's in an advanced stage, and she's preparing to go into hospice care. Before she does, she wants to find a new home for her beloved Pit Bull mix, Sherlock.

Cudd got Sherlock as a rescue from the Longmont (Colorado) Humane Society in 2010, and he has been her constant companion throughout her illness. She recalls how, after one especially harsh chemo session, he lay curled next to her in her hotel room, both of them "watching Harry Potter movies for a full day until I felt better."

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But she doesn't feel like she can give him the care that he deserves anymore. She can't take him running any more, and even walks are difficult. And of course, soon she won't be there at all for him.

"I am passing away," she told The Coloradoan. "I don't know when exactly. Of course, everyone is passing away. But the cancer, you know -- stage four is the ultimate stage -- and he needs a home."

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Pit Bulls can be difficult to place, of course. Even for those who love them, there's still the obstacle of landlords who won't rent to owners of Pits, a problem that Cudd herself has faced. She admits that he's territorial, and he would probably be better off with a family who doesn't have any other pets, but he has been her best friend through some very hard times, and Cudd thinks that whoever takes him will learn how much that friendship can mean.

"I have to place him somewhere. It breaks my heart," she says. "But if he could go to a good home, you know, it would help me so much. It would give me peace."

Anyone who is in the Northern Colorado area and might be interested in giving Sherlock a new home can call (970) 775-0797 or email rubyphoenix36@yahoo.com.

Via The Coloradoan

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Miley Cyrus Gives Away Her Replacement Puppy, Moonie, After Having Him 10 Days

We've written a lot about Miley Cyrus in the past few weeks. We've written: 

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Now we get to write another story about Miley -- Miley keeps making dog news, you see. Moonie, that adorable little dog that Miley's mom bought her right after Floyd died using some weird Mom-logic we don't understand at all, because Miley already had plenty of dogs and didn't seem ready for a tiny, helpless one just yet (what with all her Twitter mourning and singing to giant replicas of Floyd while onstage at the Barclays Center), is hitting the bricks. Moonie is out. Moonie is leaving the island. 

Poor Moonie. The only good part about this is that it's surely the best thing that could have happened to Moonie. 

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She broke the news on Twitter, because that is how Miley communicates. She tweeted, “Moonie, thank you for giving me so much love, comfort, & peace. It's just to soon for me right now #missingmoonie.”

Naturally, one of her best friends, a fan, asked her what had happened to the little dog. Miley said the dog had gone to live with a friend's mother, who already had a puppy. We think that's what she said:

“my friends mom who has a tiny pup 4 him 2 play with Molly After wht happened Im scared 2 have a tiny dog #moonieandmolly.”

Here's the punctuation for that sentence: ',.',. (And here's the missing "o" from the first tweet: o.)

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A stuffed version of Floyd with another of Miley's dogs.

We're not sure what the "scared" part refers to, but probably to the events of 2012, when Miley's Yorkie mix, Lila, was killed by her dog Ziggy, which we wrote about here.

In any case, Moonie's disappearance does not come as a shock. Miley has been very public about her struggles with caring for a new dog so soon after Floyd died. Here are some of her tweets from last week:

I was/still kinda am torn about Moonie bc I would do anything 2 hold Floyd. But I can't  Moonie is giving me so much  & 1 day @ a time

Just don't know if it's to soon  I still have so much love to give my Floydy 

But I just gotta take it one day at a time and take in all the love little Moonie is giving me 

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Miley in concert.

Again, truthfully, this is probably is the best result for Moonie. The dog might not be showered with diamond-studded collars and cashmere pet beds for the rest of his life, but many people believe that dogs do not need such things for a happy life. A friend's mom with a tiny pup named Molly might just be the best place for the young dog named Moonie. 

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If there's one thing to be learned from all this, perhaps it's that Tish Cyrus should stop immediately buying dogs for people when their other dogs die. Give it some time. A dog is not a gift. 

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Miley's other dogs, Mary Jane, Happy, and Bean.

All photos via Miley's Facebook page and Twitter

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April 14, 2014

"Share for Dogs" Video Turns Slacktivism into Fundraising

The Internet excels at few things more distributing adorable pictures of peoples' pets. Once upon a time, people had to do such things manually, by carrying pictures around in their purses or wallets. In those unenlightened times, you could show five, maybe six, people the heartbreakingly cute antics of your pup in the time that it now takes for a full-color, high-definition YouTube video to be watched on five continents.

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In Australia, the Pedigree Adoption Drive is trying to use the Internet's ability to spread mass cuteness not only for some heartwarming moments, but to help dogs in need. The way it works is this: Pedigree has created the video below, which is, without a doubt, freaking adorable. Via social media, it has pushed people to post, link, and retweet it until it goes viral. If the video gets watched enough, Pedigree gets a significant cut of YouTube's ad revenue, which it can use to promote dog rehoming programs on an international basis. It is, in short, a really clever way of turning Internet slacktivism into something with a real effect, rather than a fashion statement. Also, cute dogs!

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Will this work and get money to homeless dogs, or is Pedigree just adding to the mass of cute videos that are already clogging servers everywhere? Well, as of this writing, the video has been watched 118,145 times, and the campaign's hashtag, #sharefordogs, is moving along quite nicely on Twitter. If you really want to get behind the campaign and check out what Pedigree is doing, follow it on Facebook.

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The question is, of course, how many views does the video need to get to raise a significant amount of money for rehoming programs? For about the past year YouTube's revenue sharing program has been the target of complaints that it's harder for content creators to make money because of a combination of lowered ad prices and increased competition from all the other videos. It seems like Pedigree has a good start on making its video stick out from the crowd, though.

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It seems kind of churlish to criticize a video that is, as I say, so freaking adorable, but there is one thing that bugs me about it: Dogs are cute on their own, but Pedigree wants to hedge that bet by putting the animals in pumpkin costumes and lion suits, like a canine version of Anne Geddes. My favorite videos of dogs have always been the ones that show them in their everyday environment, and how they interact with each other and their human families. Ultimately, people should bring dogs home to be part of the family, not because they like the greeting-card ideal of a dog.

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But that quibble aside, be sure to check out the video. For once, when you're watching a cute dog video, you can tell your boss or family that you're not wasting time: You're doing important fundraising work.

Via Pedigree Adoption Drive Facebook Page

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Do You Think Dog Cloning Is a Stupid Idea?

Last week, we finally got a look at Mini-Winnie, Britain's first cloned dog. She came into being thanks to a contest run by the South Korean cloning outfit Sooam Biotech. The company held a contest in the United Kingdom for pet owners, hoping to raise awareness of its cloning services, which normally cost $100,000 a pop. The grand prize: a free cloned dog. Rebecca Smith, a caterer from West London, won the prize and offered up her beloved 12-year-old Dachshund Winnie for duplication.  

According to UPI, Sooam Biotech isolated her DNA via small samples of skin. That DNA was then injected into an egg collected from another Dachshund. Finally, the fertilized egg was implanted into the womb of a surrogate dog.

Time passed, and then: Mini-Winnie, a cute little cloned dog. 

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Almost immediately, critics came out to blast the whole thing. Noted geneticists, for one, demolised the notion that it would be the same dog. 

"You would have about as much chance of replicating your favorite pet by choosing one from Battersea Dogs Home as you would from cloning it," Robin Lovell-Badge, a geneticist at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, told the Guardian. "And the former is likely to be loved more as it will not fail your expectations."  

"It is extremely unlikely that a puppy cloned from a favorite pet will grow up to behave the same way," he went on. "I see no valid justification for cloning pets. It is a ridiculous waste of money and hope as well as being ethically very dubious."

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His colleagues agreed.  

"It is an absolute waste of money," said Dusko Ilic, a stem cell scientist at King's College London. "Cloned animals are like monozygotic ["identical"] twins –- similar, but never the same. As time passes by, the differences will be more and more pronounced, especially personality traits."

Lovell-Badge also said that cloning procedures often go wrong, citing among the risks abnormally developing embryos, consequences to the mothers carrying clones, stillborn animals, live-born animals with defects, and adults with compromised anatomy, physiology, and health.

It doesn't help that Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, the lead scientist at Sooam Biotech, is a intensely controversial figure. He was behind one of the worst scandals in modern science in 2004, when he claimed to have successfully cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them; that study, however, turned out to be fabricated. He was forced to resign from his job at Seoul University, and he was convicted of fraud.

Other people coming out against dog cloning include Sir Ian Wilmut, who led the team that produced Dolly the Sheep, the first mammal to be cloned. He told the Guardian, "I think that the owners might be disappointed -– so much of the personality of a dog probably comes from the way that you treat it. I think you would treat a cloned dog, particularly if you had spent $100,000, differently, so the dog would be different. I am sufficiently skeptical that I personally would not have a dog cloned."

Three judges of the cloning contest with two cloned puppies, via Dog Cloning Competition UK's Facebook page

And Lou Hawthorne, the forefather of dog cloning, is against the practice as well, years after he created the first cloned dog in 2007. 

“A cloned dog contributes to the happiness of a family, but I do not think it is possible to do it without a huge amount of suffering to hundreds of others," he told the Mirror. “I couldn’t care less if the cloning business world collapses, but I care about suffering.”

Hawthorne told the Mirror that Asian producers raise "up to 80" regular dogs as egg donors or surrogates to create one cloned dog. Then, once the dogs are past their usefulness, they are slaughtered for meat or destroyed.  

“Dog cloning is unviable. It cannot be achieved at a price people can afford," he said. "But the biggest issue is the suffering. Man’s best friend is a dog, but when it comes to cloning, it isn’t the case.”

What do you think? Is dog cloning a waste of time and money? Does the harm it causes outweigh the usefulness? Tell us your feelings in the comments.

Read more about the bond between humans and dogs on Dogster:

Meet Walter, an Inbred Min Pin Who's Getting a Second Chance

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Yes, this is another sad story about people being irresponsible. It's like, what the heck? Right?

Walter is a Miniature Pinscher whose severe deformities are the result of careless inbreeding. He was surrendered by his former owners who gave him up after a year of keeping him in a cage and barely feeding or caring for him. They weren't trying very hard -- they weren't trying at all. It's one thing to maybe not train your dog in foundational obedience, but to be too lazy to provide even the most basic care is almost beyond my comprehension.

However, dumping Walter was the best thing his good-for-nothing former owners ever did, because that's when Angels for Animal Rescue took the little dog in. A visit to the vet revealed the worst: His year in a cage exacerbated Walter's congenital birth defects, causing his muscles to atrophy. As you can imagine, Walter can't walk or run as well as a healthy Miniature Pinscher can.

But you know what? Whatever. Walter is still tiny and adorable, and we love him despite his differences. Just how tiny and adorable is Walter? Allow me to demonstrate:

1. Walter is so tiny and adorable he can wear this Barbie sombrero and sunglasses

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2. Walter is so tiny and adorable that he makes a child's stuffed animal seem huge

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3. Walter is so tiny and adorable that you might mistake him for the remote control

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4. Walter is so tiny and adorable that, for him, a laptop computer is the size of a desktop computer

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5.  Walter is so tiny and adorable that he could star as an ant in a remake of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

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5. Walter is so tiny and adorable you won't even notice when he crawls into your arms and steals your heart until you look down and you're all like, "Awww!"

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All photos are from Walter's Facebook page. Go like his page so you can check out his progress. Let him know Dogster sends our best.

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About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

It's Puppy Time!

Newborn Puppies

Now that Spring is here, you might start to see more puppies around than usual. In fact, this time of year is sometimes dubbed "puppy season." Of course, plenty of puppies are born year-round, but there seems to be a boom in the Spring. Animal shelters often have a puppy surplus beginning in March or April, so if you are ready for a dog, please consider adoption! And, don't forget that adult dogs need homes too.


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April 11, 2014

Pa Kettle, a Soulful Bloodhound, Is Now Mayor of Divide, Colorado

Meet Pa Kettle. He's the new mayor of the Colorado mountain town of Divide, according to the Gazette. Walter is a search-and-rescue Bloodhound. Handsome fellow, isn't he: 

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Here's the old mayor, Walter the cat. Walter is pisssssed off. He thought would be mayor indefinitely, or at least work the gig into a cushy life running the town on the sly, grafting off a nice chunk of revenue in the process. Things didn't turn out that way. 

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Actually, that's not entirely true. Walter wasn't even on the ballot this year. Pa Kettle battled Herbie the donkey, Gracie the mustang, Keyni the wolf, Blackberry the hedgehog, Buster the cat, and a bunch of other dogs for the mayorship. Pa Kettle won. Pa Kettle got 2,387 votes, beating the wolf, Kenyi, by only 55 votes.

Only 55 votes stood between Divide being run by a wolf instead of a dog. Can you imagine? 

By now you might wonder: What in the world are we talking about? Well, it seems the town of Divide has a sense of humor. It's a small town, and it doesn't officially have a mayor. So the local animal shelter, Teller County Regional Animal Shelter, runs an election every year to elect something non-human to be mayor. Every vote costs $1, which goes to the shelter. 

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In each of the 2010 and 2012 elections, the animal shelter raised more than $10,000; two weeks ago the 2014 campaign had already raised nearly $9,000. 

This year, Pa Kettle won, largely because of those soulful eyes, but also because of those long ears. Kenyi the wolf gets to be vice mayor. I imagine he's going to be the one doing the dirty work.  

Via the Gazette

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Want to Help a Dying Dog? The Denver Police Will Arrest You

One topic that I find myself covering repeatedly here at Dogster is police officers gunning down dogs for no discernible reason. The story plays out the same again and again: A cop is out on some call, a dog barks at the officer, and the cop pulls the trigger. In February, a cop in Idaho was caught on his very own dashcam as he killed a service dog that had gotten out of his backyard. The act sparked enormous public outrage. The case was typical in everything except that it was caught on video.

But as sick as I am of them, all these the cases have one merciful aspect to them: When the police officer pulls the trigger, the dog dies, quickly and easily. That's more than can be said for what happened in Denver yesterday, when police prevented a local resident from helping a dog who was lying in the street after being struck by a car. The dog lay there for some 90 minutes, uncared for, before dying from the injuries.

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Police officer by Shutterstock.">
Police officer by Shutterstock.">
We don't know whether guns were drawn, but what difference does it make?Police officer by Shutterstock.

Ross Knapp, who lives in the area, tried to comfort the dog and provide water, but police officers told him that if he didn't get away, they would arrest him.

"I had one of the officers tell me I had to leave and couldn't be near it. I tried a couple of times to go back and he just finally said I'm impeding on an investigation and if I came back I'd be arrested," he told Denver TV station RTV6.

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Neighbor Ross Knapp tried to give the dog water and comfort, but was threatened with arrest.

Video taken at the scene shows the dog lying helplessly on the road, gasping for breath, with bystanders forbidden to approach by police.

"It was in shock, its pupils were totally dilated. It couldn't really move," Knapp said.

Neither did the officers themselves attempt to care for the dog; they did call animal control, about 15 minutes after arriving, but no one showed up for more than an hour. When the animal control officer did arrive, the dog had been dead for several minutes.

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Spokesman Sonny Jackson said that the officers followed department policy.

The Denver Police Department is defending the officers' actions. Spokesman Sonny Jackson said that the officers had followed policy: "It's always about the personal safety of that individual. It's not trying to be cruel to the animal or cruel to the individual," he said. "It's best if we get the animal control people in there, let them do what they do as experts and let them take the actions."

But the fact is that no actions were taken, either by the police or the animal control officer. Actually, perhaps that's not true: The police did take action to make sure that no aid was given to a helpless, suffering animal that was in pain.

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Strobelight on top of police car by Shutterstock.">
Strobelight on top of police car by Shutterstock.">
Strobelight on top of police car by Shutterstock.

As of now, the name of the dog and its owner are unknown. The animal had no tags or collar. However, resident Connor Leiva has started an online petition demanding that the Denver Police Department issue an apology for its conduct to the neighbors and the dog's family.

"As leaders of our community it is within their responsibility to handle any emergency, even one concerning the life of an animal, with compassion and concern," the petition states. "When the department fails to do this they let down the public and create an image of mercilessness and cruelty."

The petition had 1,300 signatures. Cruelty by police officers, both against humans and dogs, is far too common. The Denver Police Department should take this opportunity to have a good hard look at their policies, instead of threatening citizens who try to help.

Via Denver Post and RTV6

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April 10, 2014

Has Your Dog Ever Caught a Train?

Meet Tie. She's a shepherd-Collie mix from New York City who saw a train start to move in a rail yard on 149th Street in the Bronx. Being a dog -- an energetic one at that -- Tie took off after the train. It seemed like a fun thing to do. She ran on a parallel track. She ran on and on and on ...

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... and on and on and on. The train was headed to Manhattan. The train went on a bridge over the Harlem River. Tie stayed right with it. 

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“The dog was in front of me, running in front,” engineer Joseph Delia told the New York Observer. “She’s not a very big dog. I was worried she wouldn’t make it and get electrocuted.”

Yep, the third rail. Even for dogs running after trains, the third rail must be respected. 

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Tie fell between the railroad ties a few times, but she made it all the way to Harlem. Passengers crowded the windows to watch her. Engineer Delia made sure to slow the train when Tie got too close. 

“She was just running like she didn’t have a care in the world,” he told The New York Post.

When they made it to the platform in Harlem, there was a crowd waiting. 

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“Yesterday there was a Yankee game so there were at least 100 people clapping and cheering,” MTA officer Luis Alvarez told DNAinfo New York. “They must have been animal lovers like myself.”

Officers whistled to Tie. She wagged her tail and trotted over. 

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“We whistled, called and it actually came to us,” Alvarez said. “It was actually very happy to see somebody, because remember, it came from the Bronx.”

The dog had no tags, so officers named her Tie (after railroad tie) and took her to Animal Care and Control to get her checked out. She had no microchip, but the center is certain she has an owner. 

“She looks very well cared for and very well-fed,” said Risa Weinstock of Animal Care and Control. “She did a lot of tricks and knows a lot of commands, that’s not something you learn on the street.”

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But if no owner comes forward, Tie won't have long to wait. One of the officers is ready to step in.

“If the owner doesn’t claim the dog hopefully I’ll be on the list to adopt her,” Alvarez said. “I have three girls, they are all texting me to get the dog.”

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Dogs Help the Rescue Effort in the Washington Landslide

As of today, the death toll from the landslide in Oso, Washington, has reached 35, with 11 people still missing. The most recent body to be identified, as of this writing, was a two-year-old child, Brooke Spillers.

Since a nearby hillside collapsed on March 22, covering an entire square mile of land and destroying about 50 homes, the news media has reported the efforts of workers to recover the dead. President Obama has announced that he will visit the site later this month.

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National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons)">
National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons)">
Source: National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Dogs have been on both sides of that equation, as rescuers as well as victims. Trained dogs have been scouring the area to the point of exhaustion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has assembled a team of 20 dogs from around the country to search for human remains. This is an unusual duty for FEMA's dogs, which are usually used for search and rescue operations. However, two and a half weeks after the mountain collapsed, there is little hope of finding survivors in the muck and debris.

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National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons; Photo by Spc. Matthew Sissel)">
National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons; Photo by Spc. Matthew Sissel)">
Lisa Bishop and rescue dog Cody search in the Oso Landslide. Source: National Guard/Flickr (Creative Commons; Photo by Spc. Matthew Sissel)

Sally Dickinson of FEMA says the dogs have been a success amongst all the tragedy, even though this isn't what they've been trained for.

"We've proved throughout this event that they are being successful, that they are doing their job and that they are capable of working in this environment that we had no preparation for," she told KIRO television news.

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An aerial shot of the collapsed hillside. (Source: Wikipedia)

On Sunday, Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kris Reitmann told Q13Fox that the dog teams were taking a two-day break from the search: "Conditions on the slide field are difficult, and so this is just a time to take care of the dogs. In addition, after a long time on a scene, dogs can lose their sensing ability, so taking that break is important."

On the other side, many people are still hoping to find their animal companions alive, as well as their human families. Dogs and other pets were also killed or displaced in the landslide, and organizations have swept into action to help. A Facebook page called Lost Pets of Shohomish Mudslide has been created for people to find or remember their missing pets.

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Examples from the Everett Animal Shelter's listings of missing, found, or deceased dogs.

Also on Facebook, the Everett Animal Shelter is keeping a list of pets that have been reported lost or identified as being alive or dead. Everett, as well as the North Creek Pet Hospital, has also been one of the key points for shelter and recovery of pets displaced by the landslide; a PayPal link has been set up for those who want to contribute directly to the care of animals waiting to be claimed by their owners or rehomed in the wake of the disaster.

Trupanion, a pet insurance company based in Seattle, is raising funds for Everett and North Creek using social media. In a press release, Trupanion said:

We are asking pet owners to post a story or photo of their rescued pet to our social channels, and for each one received by next Friday, we will donate $1 to the North Creek Pet Hospital, who is working to provide healthcare for the pets caught in the mudslide, and Everett Animal Shelter who is sheltering, caring and treating these animals. People can make additional donations on their own here also: http://www.everettarf.org/.

We're asking for everyone to show their support by sharing their photo or story with us (via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email socialmedia@trupanion.com) then share our posts to spread the word even further.

To all who have lost homes or loved ones in the area, our best thoughts go out to you. We hope that people will take advantage of all these resources.

Via KIRO and KING5

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April 09, 2014

One Daft U.K. Writer's Take on Miley Cyrus' Mourning: "I Don't Care When People's Pets Die"

Miley Cyrus has been dealing with the death of her dog, an Alaskan Klee Kai named Floyd, in a very public way. She has taken to Twitter to pour out her rage and sadness. She brought a 60-foot replica of the dog on stage during a show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and sang to it. And her mother bought her a new dog, named Moonie, and Miley is being very honest about whether she is ready for a new pup (she doesn't seem to be).

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The Telegraph's Radhika Sanghani, however, isn't having any of it. This mourning business bugs her. She mocks Miley Cyrus. In her article yesterday, she compares Miley's grief-filled tweets to "the ramblings of an over-emotional pre-teen" and makes fun of her grammar. But the main thing she thinks is that people shouldn't be sad when pets die.

Really, this is what Radhika Sanghani thinks. 

"I just can’t bring myself to be sad when people's pets die," she writes.

After all, she reasons, pets die, they can't speak to you, and you can't trust them. Really, this is what she reasons. Look:

"I am not an inherently evil person –- I just do not understand how adults can care so much about a small little animal that will inevitably die, was never able to speak to you anyway and let's face it, you can never fully trust. These beings are bought for people's own enjoyment and like all living things, their lives come to an end."

But that's not all. (No surprise, given the rocket science above). Sanghani also "squirms uncomfortably" whenever her friends mourn the death of their pets on Facebook. She does! And then she blocks them if they write about it more than she would like. Look:

"Every time one of my Facebook friends posts about how devastated they are that their beloved [insert animal here] has died, I squirm uncomfortably. When they keep on going, and give endless updates about the funeral, I press that little cross by their name and hide them from my newsfeed."

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So so it goes, on and on, a column's worth of bizarre statements about people who dare mourn the passing of their pets in a way that does not suit Radhika Sanghani of the Telegraph -- that is, in a way that brings the death to the attention of Radhika Sanghani of the Telegraph. The title of her article seems to be a joke: "How can fully grown adults care so much about their pets dying?"

It was not published on April 1. I just checked. 

Among her insights and proclamations: 

On people telling her their pets have died: 

"I know I should be more sympathetic, and I do try and come out with an ‘oh I’m sorry’ when I hear the news, but I just can’t bring myself to fully mean it."

On her own pet who died:

"When Bunsy died a couple of years later, I did cry, but I was also 10 years old; that’s what kids do. What would have been strange for me would have been if my mum started crying too -- she didn't and was secretly glad we could stop spending money on its upkeep."

On the death of her uncle's pet: 

"Years later, when my uncle’s grey African parrot Cookie died at the age of 50, I only felt a twinge of sadness that a piece of history was gone. ... I felt no emotional attachment, and I don’t think I’m alone in this."

On her fellow compatriots (she knows they're out there!) who don't think pets should be grieved: 

"I do think there are people out there who feel the same way as I do, and don’t understand this grief that some people have about losing animals."

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Miley's other dogs, Mary Jane, Happy, and Bean.

She ends with a call to arm to fellow not-carers, to rise up and let their unkind voices be heard, to smash down the tyranny of people telling others their pets have died and posting such things on Facebook. It's a doozy: 

"I implore all you like-minded people to come out of the woodwork and join me in saying you don't really care when someone's pet dies. After all, we're not the ones singing to giant inflatable dogs -- we're the rational ones."

The rational ones! She would do better calling for psychopaths. They're the ones who are unable to feel empathy. 

So, what do you think?  

All photos via Miley's Facebook page and Twitter

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April 08, 2014

Tucson's Only No-Kill Shelter Struggles to Keep the Lights On

Tucson is on the verge of losing something that it can't afford to lose: its only no-kill animal shelter.

This weekend, HOPE Animal Shelter Executive Director Susan Scherl took to the group's Facebook page, asking for donations to help keep the doors open and the lights on:

It is with deep regret and profound sadness to inform you that HOPE is out of money. Without your help we will have to shut our doors. We are down to the bare bones and I will have to start letting staff go. The hardest part will be finding a place for the 100 animals currently in our care..... In our 8 years of existence we have never been at this point. Please understand that this couldn't be more serious.

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Susan Scherl, Executive Director of the HOPE Animal Shelter.

It's unknown how the financial crisis came about, but according to a Tucson television station, the shelter has been running primarily on donations and Susan Scherl's own dedication. To keep things going, she's refinanced her own home and maxed out her credit cards. "I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life," Susan said in an interview with KGUN. "It's a very special place."

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HOPE currently houses about 100 dogs and cats. The expenses to cover those animals comes to about $10,000 per month for the veterinary expenses alone; another $3,000 for rent; and a couple of thousand go for food and cat litter.

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"We're scared," Scherl said to a reporter. In the video, she tries to go further than that, to say what she's scared of, but the words don't come, and she just ends with that single blunt statement, the consequences implied by the dangling silence.

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No-kill animal shelters have become far more common than they used to be, but they're still not universal. The question of where HOPE's animals will go, should the shelter have to close, is a heavy one. For now, we wish Susan and her staff luck in keeping the doors open. If you want to help them through donations, you can do so at HOPE's website.


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March Madness: UConn Huskies Beat the Kentucky Wildcats, Because of Course They Do

Last night, the Connecticut Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 60-54 to take all the marbles. We could have told you that result days ago, weeks ago. Dogs vs. cats, you see. There was no question, even in men's college basketball. We had the Huskies topping our NCAA March Madness bracket from day one [Editor's note: Stop it], and it was there because of this: 

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And this: 

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And this: 

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And this:

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The Kentucky Wildcats, by point of comparison, had this: 

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Kentucky Wildcats mascot by Shutterstock">
Kentucky Wildcats mascot by Shutterstock">
Kentucky Wildcats mascot by Shutterstock

Actually, it had this: 

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Which, OK, that's a decent-looking mascot. 

Now, some in the so-called zoological realms might go so far as to say a wildcat vs. Husky is a fair fight, but that depends on the wildcat. Not all wildcats can take a well-built Husky. Have you seen a serval? Let's imagine for argument's sake that Kentucky's wildcat is a serval. No way is a serval, headband or no, going to beat a Husky. 

For those coming here for sport's news, we apologize. The Huskies really won the game because of basketball whatnot like this, courtesy of SI.com

With guards Napier and Ryan Boatright leading the way, the Huskies jumped out to a 30-15 lead, making it the fourth straight game that Kentucky trailed by at least nine points in the first half. Unlike in thrilling wins over Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin to reach the final, the Wildcats were never able to claw their way in front. They cut UConn’s lead to four at halftime and were within one at 35-34 on a three by Aaron Harrison ― whose triples in the final seconds proved to be the game-winners in their three most recent wins ― but Boatright answered with a jumper to push ...

 And so on and so forth, until the Husky came through and tore everyone up. 

Images via UConn Huskies Facebook and Kentucky Wildcats Facebook

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April 07, 2014

Saving Ava: Watch Volunteers Bring a Stray Dog Off the Street

Already today, I've written (albeit somewhat tongue-in-cheek) about how shelter dogs can help out human beings -- by acting as our first line of defense against the flying saucers. The video below shows the flip side of that, although in a somewhat more serious way. It shows a team from the Los Angeles-based rescue operation Hope for Paws collecting a stray dog, Ava, off the streets, and bringing her in to be washed, vaccinated, and prepared for adoption.

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One of the first views of Ava in the distance: Alone and afraid.

This sort of thing happens all the time, but for the most part, we don't get to see it. We see the dogs when they're ready for adoption, or when they find their homes, but we miss the hard work that people put into getting them off the streets and to their new homes.

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First contact after Ava's been snared and calmed down.

In this case, Ava was reported only as a stray dog living close to an intersection in the area around Los Angeles International Airport. Eldad Hagar went out to the area, accompanied by model Victoria Van Violence, who had come from Germany to see the group's work.

What the video shows is a lovely and touching transformation: It takes the two more than 20 minutes to get Ava to trust them enough to approach her. When they're close enough, Hagar snares her with a leash and she bursts into terrified panic for a couple of minutes, until they calm and soothe her, talking gently and stroking her under the chin. "It took just 10 seconds from the moment I initiated physical contact with her, until she was just loving being touched," Hagar told The Huffington Post. "To me, this is like magic -- the speed that she accepted my love ... is just amazing."

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Victoria bathes Ava after bringing her in.

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From there, Eldad and Victoria take Ava to the Hollywood Veterinary Care Center. She's now with a foster family and awaiting adoption. If you're in the area and interested in providing a forever home for Ava (or another dog), contact Hope for Paws or Death Row Dog Rescue. There's also an extended version of the video on YouTube that's a full 30 minutes long, and it shows much more interaction between Eldad and Victoria, where he explains his methods of gaining trust with animals.

Via The Huffington Post

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Miley Cyrus Stages a 60-Foot Tribute to Her Late Dog Floyd

Last week we told you about how Miley Cyrus took to Twitter after her Alaskan Klee Kai, Floyd, died unexpectedly -- her second dog to die in as many years. She poured out her heart on the service, writing things like "I know I don't mean it but I wish he would've taken me with him this is unbearable" and "What am I gonna do without him?"

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We have some updates on the story, and all of them are doozies. The first: Floyd was killed by a coyote, according to Hollywood Gossip, which says that one of Cyrus' dancers revealed the information via Instagram. Miley, for some reason, has not commented on the cause of death. 

The second update is completely out there in a wonderful way. At her show at the Barclay Center on April 5, Miley somehow got hold of a 60-foot replica of Floyd, brought him on stage, and sang a song to him, according to Hollywood Life. Floyd has glowing eyes. Floyd looks intense.  

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Here's a video of the song. Caution: twerking, bikinis, Miley, etc. 

Then Miley brought onstage a little version of Floyd:

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For the third update, we're back to sadness, with more than a bit of concern. It appears Miley already has a new dog. Her mom, Tish Cyrus, bought her one last Friday, hoping to ease her daughter's pain. This may have been premature. Miley is still in the grips of mourning for Floyd, and she appears to be struggling with her new pup, Moonie. Here are some of her recent tweets: 

my mama knew my heart was broken & this morning I woke up to Moonie kisses 

no one could ever replace my baby Floyd but this precious angel is lendin me some fur to cry on along with my other babies 

I feel physically sick & I am so emotionally and physically exhausted I feel like I have nothing else to give sweet baby Moonie.

I was/still kinda am torn about Moonie bc I would do anything 2 hold Floyd. But I can't  Moonie is giving me so much  & 1 day @ a time

So torn. I love having little Moonie cuddle w me and Mary Jane but just don't know if I'm ready to love again

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As we told you last week, Miley already has many other dogs, among them Bean, a Chihuahua mix; Mary Jane, a black and white Pit Bull mix; and Happy, a Rottweiler-Beagle mix. We're not sure she needed to add another to the pack quite so soon. What do you think about all this? Let us know in the comments. 

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Who Will Save Us from an Alien Attack? Loyal Shelter Dogs

Who will save us from the onslaught of the flying saucers?

True, we don't have any evidence of life on other planets, and if it's there, we don't even know whether extraterrestrial beings want to come to Earth and eat our brains. But my extensive viewing of old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episodes, combined with careful study of Marvel comics from the Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko/Stan Lee era, indicates that we should at least be prepared. You don't think the FBI will come to our rescue, do you? The X-Files is merely a naïve fantasy: In real life, Fox Mulder would be providing diagrams on the tastiest ways to prepare the medulla oblongata.

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Milo, a 9-year-old Schnauzer, dispatches one of the flying saucers.

Fortunately, we have the dogs. When the aliens return to collect their wrecked craft from Area 51, and incidentally pick up some munchies for the long trip home, the dogs will be there to defend us from their extraterrestrial predations.

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Despite his brave actions, Dionysus is still waiting for a home.

That, at least, seems to be the opinion of the Humane Society of Utah, which put up a Facebook post yesterday showing several of its shelter dogs bravely fighting off flying saucers. Asked about their courageous actions, the dogs were forthright and outspoken. Dionysus, a three-year-old Pit Bull said, "I don't think the humans could see or hear them, but I could smell them coming from a mile away. I've been living on the streets until I made it to the HSU. I thought, if these aliens take over I'll never get a home. ... So I took action!"

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Jax, a Lab mix who just found his home, nevertheless found the saucer people to be tasty.

Madison, a Beagle/Lab mix who recently found his forever home, expressed similar sentiments, but also expressed open contempt for the actions of the local cats: "It was up to us dogs. ... You know the cats just swatted them out of the air and would hold them down and then just let them up again?!? I don't think they understood the threat they posed. Some were just sleeping through the attack."

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Madison is another Lab mix who's already been adopted. His owners will be well-protected against future invasions.

I'm sure this lot was just an exploratory force, but it should remind us of the value of adopting shelter dogs. Not only are they lovable and affectionate, but they'll make sure that your central nervous system doesn't wind up as the evening special at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. If you're in the area, and interested in taking one of these pups home, check out the HSU's adoption listings.

Just to be on the safe side, I recommend stocking up on high-quality aluminum foil. Contrary to popular opinion, the tin stuff is useless against alien broadcasts.

Via Humane Society of Utah Facebook Page

Top image: Warning Sign, Area 51 by Shutterstock.

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How Ramona the Love Terrier Became the Talk of Silicon Valley

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So I'm sitting at my desk, updating the Dogster Facebook page, when I hear it: the jingle of dog tags. Here at our dog-friendly office, it could be any one of my coworkers' dogs, but there is one dog I secretly hope the familiar sound announces. I peer down the aisle between the cubicles, holding my breath.

And then there she is, galloping sweet and confident, a petite wiry-haired Terrier mix who enters like she owns the place. Because she does. She runs up to my desk, twirling in demand of snacks, and she hops in my lap to receive her treats. I've been sick lately, exhausted, and a little stressed out.

Ramona's bright energy feels like a sigh of relief, and I can't resist hugging her. It fills my heart with warmth. I am totally and happily under the spell of Ramona the Love Terrier. She's followed by ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas -- Ramona's faithful human guardian. Though ReadWrite is Say Media's tech publication, Owen and Ramona always make a stop by the Dogster office … mostly because Ramona knows I have snacks for her.

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All the head scratches for Ramona.

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Here is Ramona engaging in some sunlit yoga -- Downward Dog, everyone.

With her bright, attentive gaze, Ramona houses more personality in her little body than any dog I've ever met. That's why she's invited to and asked after at tech events in the Bay Area, tweeted about by head honchos over at Microsoft, and loyally followed by a legion of fans on her Facebook page. A rescue herself, I can't believe I've never taken the opportunity to feature her as a Monday Miracle!

Which is a miracle in itself, because after asking Owen for Ramona's story, I found out that her birthday is tomorrow, April 8, and she's turning five years old. So the timing is perfect.

"Ramona's story begins in Azusa, California," Owen begins. "Like Adore Delano from RuPaul's Drag Race."

Maybe all fabulousness comes from modest beginnings. Flung out in the farthest reaches of Los Angeles County, Ramona was found wandering the hot canyons alone. Clearly well cared for, it's thought she dug her way out of someone's backyard. "We believe she ran with coyotes and learned from rabbits and cats, which would explain some of her behavior," Owen tells me. She was picked up and taken to the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society to await her fate.

But how did she manage to travel 400 miles from Azusa to her new home in San Francisco?

It was actually Owen's husband, Greg, whom Princess Ramona would choose as her new family back in April 2010. While visiting family in Pasadena, Greg finally decided to act on a lingering desire to get a dog. With Owen's encouragement and accompanied by his dad, Greg made a visit to the Pasadena Humane Society.

Unfortunately, however, the Pasadena Humane Society refused to even consider Greg without a home visit. Greg was discouraged, but his father persuaded him to check out the nearby county shelter in San Gabriel Valley.  

Once there, however, Greg's heart sank further. The shelter was populated with mostly Pit Bulls and Chihuahuas, and Greg -- who was completely unfamiliar with owning a dog -- knew that at the very least his and Owen's lifestyle was not suitable for either of those breeds.

That's when Greg's father spotted, sitting prim and composed amid a pack of barking Chihuahuas, a little white Terrier mix. When asked to interact with her, Ramona took to Greg and his dad almost immediately -- she had made her choice.

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Greg told me that Ramona sat with her paws crossed like a princess.

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Selena Larson of ReadWrite.">
Selena Larson of ReadWrite.">
Here is Ramona helping out Selena Larson of ReadWrite.

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Owen and Ramona leading a tech talk, of course!

But there was one more obstacle: The shelter would not release Ramona before the required waiting period was up. Scheduled to leave the day Ramona would be released, Greg was dismayed, but his dad convinced him to change his departure time, making room for fate to take its course. He told Greg, "Don't worry, you're getting the dog."

And he did. Returning at the exact time of Ramona's release, Greg learned that no one had claimed her and so began filling out her paperwork. When asked what he would name his new friend, Greg took one look at Ramona. For some reason, he thought of the Beverly Cleary book Ramona the Brave, and without much more thought, so christened the dog. I think the name suits her perfectly. I think, in fact, Ramona was probably telepathically communicating it to him.

Ramona eased seamlessly into her new family, forming deep bonds with Owen and Greg. Owen credits the feisty little dog with helping him get in shape, her penchant for spirited running inspiring Owen to take up a form of cardiovascular exercise he'd never previously considered. While on a run with Ramona, Owen met a boot camp instructor and started training with him, eventually temporarily leading classes himself.

Thanks to Ramona, Owen has dropped more than 83 pounds. Her cuteness helps break the ice at tech events, and as a team, Owen and Ramona are a pair of celebrities in their own right.

If it weren't for precise timing, Ramona may have never ended up with Greg and Owen, and if she didn't belong to Greg and Owen, I may have never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the little Terrier princess who always makes me smile.

I hope she makes you smile, too. All photos via Ramona's Facebook page -- go check her out there and on Twitter, and make sure to wish her the happiest birthday ever.

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About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

It's Shedding Season Again

Picture of Dog Hair and Shedding Dogs

As many dog owners have already noticed, shedding season is here. Some dogs shed more than others, but if you have a dog that sheds at a high rate, you might be starting to see the "hair bunnies" gather in the corners of your home. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time to even bother cleaning the house until July. Unfortunately, the shedding must be managed - not only for our own sanity, but for the health of our dogs. The good news is that there are several ways to handle shedding in dogs.


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April 04, 2014

Bad Ideas: French Court Calls Dog to Witness Stand in Murder Trial

Imagine you're in court, defending yourself against charges of murder. How would you feel if it turned out that your fate depended on how a dog responded to you? Or to put it more accurately, how the people in the courtroom interpreted how the dog responded to you?

That was the situation in a recent murder trial in Tours, France. During a preliminary hearing, the judge tried an experiment: Bring the victim's dog to the witness stand and see how he reacted to the defendant. The defendant was given a baseball bat and told to gesture as if he were threatening the dog, Tango. To make it scientific (supposedly), the court also brought Norman, a dog of the same age and breed to the stand and had the defendant threaten him with the baseball bat.

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Angry Hooligan in Mask by Shutterstock.">
Angry Hooligan in Mask by Shutterstock.">
Angry Hooligan in Mask by Shutterstock.

As you can imagine, the defense attorney said the whole thing was ridiculous. Talking to a French radio station, attorney Gregoire Lafarge said, "So if Tango lifted his right paw, moved his mouth or his tail, is he recognizing my client or not? I find it very troubling for the French legal system. If a judge ignores the demands of reason and surrounds himself with experts who are unreasonable, well the system becomes very dangerous."

Fortunately for Lafarge and his client, the experiment was a failure. Neither dog showed much interest in the defendant or the bat, so they went home and the trial continued without them. Nevertheless, why did a legal professional think that this was a good idea?

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Justice Statue With Sword by Shutterstock.">
Justice Statue With Sword by Shutterstock.">
Justice Statue With Sword by Shutterstock.

It's true that most dog lovers feel like their canine buddies talk to them, but usually it's in broad emotional strokes. You get "I'm hungry," rather than "I would like a lightly -baked chicken breast au gratin, with a side of turkey-flavored Kibble." You certainly don't get testimony about who assaulted who and when.

The scary thing is that this isn't the first time that French courts have tried this sort of thing. In 2008, Judge Thomas Cassuto brought a dog named Scooby into the witness stand during the investigation of an apparent suicide. As several different suspects were brought forward, the court recorded all of Scooby's barks and other reactions.

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Wooden Gavel With Flag of France by Shutterstock.">
Wooden Gavel With Flag of France by Shutterstock.">
Wooden Gavel With Flag of France by Shutterstock.

However, just because there's precedent doesn't make something a good idea. Hopefully the French judiciary will have learned that now.

Via The Local and The Telegraph

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April 03, 2014

Help! Dog Pee is Killing My Lawn

French Bulldog in Grass

Happy Spring! For many of us, this season is synonymous with green grass and beautiful, plush lawns. But many dog owners experience the unsightly spots of yellow and brown grass ...

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March 30, 2014

Take Control of Your Dog's Well-Being

sick dog

Most dog owners worry about their dogs' health and safety at one time or another. Even the healthiest of dogs can become sick or injured. What is a good dog owner to do? Rather than worry about our dogs getting harmed or becoming ill, it makes more sense to learn how to prevent these problems in the first place. It also helps to understand the risks. Here are some ways to begin:


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March 24, 2014

Bugs and Your Dog

Photo of Itchy Dog Scratching

Spring is finally here, and depending on where you live, the days are probably getting longer and warmer. But nothing positive comes without some negative; Spring also brings bugs. For dogs, this means parasites like fleas and ticks. Warm weather also bring mosquitos, which are carriers of heartworms. These icky critters are ready to prey upon our beloved companions. Most of us are horrified by the idea of any kinds of bugs on our dogs. These three types of tiny vampires are downright nasty insects that pose health risks. It doesn't help that they are quite annoying to humans too. Fortunately, modern science has made it much easier to control these pests today than 20 years ago.


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March 20, 2014

Spring is Here, Time To Play Outside

saint bernard dog smells flowers spring

Today is the first day of Spring, and it can't seem to get here soon enough! Although many parts of the U.S are still chilly, temperatures will be coming up in time. Your dog is probably aching to get outside and enjoy some exercise, and he wants you there with him. Participation in dog sports is a wonderful way to get active and connected with your dog. While many require agreeable weather, other dog sports and activities can be enjoyed indoors. Agility is one of several dog sports can be done indoors or outdoors.


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March 17, 2014

Common Health Issues in Dogs


Vomiting. Diarrhea. Skin issues. These are just of few of the most common health problems seen in dogs. Sound familiar? There are a number of health issues that can affect your dog, some more serious than others. Many of us are lucky enough to have healthy dogs that rarely get sick. However, any dog can get sick for a variety of reasons.


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March 13, 2014

Let's Play Tug-of-War

dog and owner play tug of war

My dog gets really into a good game of tug-of-war. We tend to play it more on really cold or rainy days in lieu of a long walk. She's pretty strong for a medium-sized dog, and once she gets going, it's really hard to end the game. I have found that a good game of tug-of war wears us both out just as much as a good walk.


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March 10, 2014

Small Dogs, Big Hearts

Labrador Retriever Looking at Yorkshire Terrier - Dog Breed Contrasts

Some dog lovers are all about big dogs. Others prefer little dogs. Personally, I've always preferred medium to large dogs. I even used to think little dogs were yippy and ...

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January 09, 2014

867 dog training lessons in 2013!

At the end of every year I run some reports from my systems that we use to find out exactly how many lessons and whatnot I did for the previous year. 2013 was sort of a banner year. In total last year I did 867 lessons. That comes out to about 2.5 lessons every single […]

The post 867 dog training lessons in 2013! appeared first on Fidelio Dogs.

January 08, 2014

What Dog Trainers do when they have to actually work on the business

When you have a business like Fidelio, there are always always always a myriad of things that need to be accomplished. Most of those cannot be done while I sit in the car driving between clients as I do most of the day, and they cannot be done when I arrive home and have to […]

The post What Dog Trainers do when they have to actually work on the business appeared first on Fidelio Dogs.

October 03, 2013

Product Review: Quit It!

Ever used a loud noise to stop your dog from jumping, barking, digging or fighting? I thought this "As Seen on TV" product was a gimmick, but to my amazement, it worked!

October 02, 2013

Enter PupLife's 2013 Halloween Dog Photo Contest


Have a great dog Halloween costume this year? Enter PupLife's 2013 Dog Halloween Costume Contest for your chance to win big. Here are the rules!

Photo Contest Rules & Instructions

Contest is open to U.S. residents over the age of 18. Sorry, international entries will not be considered. Entries must be submitted by posting via our Facebook contest page.

Only one entry per household. Only one vote per household. Recommended image size: 575 pixels wide and no larger than 1MB per in file size. To be considered, your dog should be dressed in an appropriate Halloween costume. Obscene, lewd or cruel entries where animals appear uncomfortable or in distress will not be considered.  Props may be included in your photo but are not necessary.

By submitting photos to the contest, you verify that you are the copyright holder for each photo submitted and have the legal authority to assign reprint rights to PupLife.com for this contest and all future purposes. By entering, you agree to allow PupLife.com to display your submitted photos and related bio information on PupLife.com, the PupLife Dog Blog, PupLife's Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages, the PupLife.com Newsletter, and any/all web sites and or projects that PupLife Inc. may build in the future. Also, by submitting your email address, you authorize PupLife to contact you with special offers and promotions, via PupLife's newsletter.

All entries must be received to PupLife by 12:01 AM (EST) November 1st, 2013

PupLife's Facebook fans will get to vote for their favorites.
The top 5 vote getters will receive awesome prize packages! Winners will be notified via email and will be announced on PupLife.com, in the PupLife.com Newsletter and on the PupLife's social media pages on or shortly after November 2nd, 2013. All decisions are final. PupLife reserves the right to disqualify entries for any reason. PupLife reserves the right to alter contest details for clarity at any time.

Prize Information

Prize winners will be determined by a final count of votes on Facebook.

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

4th Place

5th Place

Winners may redeem prizes via PupLife.com through January 1, 2014. Winners should follow prize redemption instructions included with winning notification email. Please note that prize gift certificates may not be combined with other offers or coupon codes. By entering this contest, you allow PupLife to contact you with offers via our PupLife newsletter.


IMPORTANT: If you use a spam blocker for your email you must make sure you add woof (at) puplife (dot) com to your address book, to ensure that our emails can get through if your photo wins!

July 31, 2013

Meet The Official Vacuum Of PupLife World Headquarters


It's official: we're in love. With a vacuum company. After testing several brands, we fell head over heels for the Miele S8380 Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum and it's upright sister, the Miele S7260 Cat & Dog Upright Vacuum Cleaner.

These are by far the best vacuum cleaners out there for pet owners. Powerful, quiet and versatile from room to room, the Miele canister and upright vacuum is a new PupLife favorite. And since they are designed specifically to tackle tough cat and dog hair, we can wholeheartedly recommend them to our customers.

Now available on PupLife, Miele's Cat & Dog Vacuum line is a great choice for any family with pets.

July 10, 2013

Enter PupLife's Doggy Dreams Pin To Win Summer Sweepstakes

Enter PupLife’s “Doggy Dreams” Pin To Win Summer Sweepstakes 2013

Pin your dog’s favorite things for a chance to win a $100 PupLife Gift Certificate. The theme for PupLife’s Pin To Win Summer Sweepstakes: Doggy Dreams

To enter, simply create a board with the title “PupLife Doggy Dreams” and then add your favorite product photos from PupLife.com. You'll find "Pin It" buttons on the bottom of each product page. Choose items that you and your dog dream about! 

Once your board is complete, simply add your URL to this blog page’s comment section or submit to us via email using our Contact Us page. We’ll pick our favorite PupLife Doggy Dreams Board based on inspiration and creativity.

Official Rules
No purchase or payment of any kind necessary to enter or win. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning.

Promotion Period
Pin it to win it: sweepstakes begins Friday July 12th at 9 a.m. central time (CT) and ends Friday, July 26th at 12 a.m. CT. All Pins must be received during the promotional period. The Sponsor's computer is the official timekeeping device for the giveaway.

The Giveaway is open to all legal residents of the forty-eight contiguous United States and the District of Columbia who are at least sixteen (16) years of age or older as of the date of entry. It is prohibited for anyone who does not meet the age requirement as of the date of entry to be allowed to participate in the Sweepstakes. Subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

How To Enter
During the promotional period go to our website (www.puplife.com) To enter, simply create a board with the title “PupLife Doggy Dreams” and add your favorite product photos from PupLife.com. Choose items that your dog dreams about! 

Once your board is complete, simply add your URL to this blog page’s comment section - or email us your web board address via our Contact Us page. We’ll pick our favorite board based on inspiration and creativity.

Entries are not limited - you can pin an unlimited amount for the promotional period. The use of automated software or computer programs to pinterest is prohibited. Valid entries must contain all information requested. Giveaway winner will be selected at random and will be announced Friday, July 26th. By entering participants acknowledge compliance with the Official Rules, including eligibility requirements.

Prize Drawing
One potential winner will be selected by the Sponsor on Friday, July 26th. Odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received during the promotion period. Winner agrees to be bound by these official rules and the decisions of the Sponsor.

The winner will receive a $100 PupLife Gift Certificate.

Release Form
The winner will be notified by the email provided in the blog comment about 3 weekdays after winner selection and will be given five (5) days to confirm receipt of notification. Sponsor is not responsible for any change of email address. If potential winner cannot be contacted from the information provided, the Sponsor reserves the right to select another winner at its sole discretion.

CONDUCT AND DECISIONS: By participating in the Giveaway, participants agree to be bound by the decisions of Sponsor personnel. Persons who violate any rule, gain unfair advantage in participating in the Giveaway, or obtain winner status using fraudulent means will be disqualified. Unsportsmanlike, disruptive, annoying, harassing or threatening behavior is prohibited. The Sponsor will interpret these rules and resolve any disputes, conflicting claims or ambiguities concerning the rules or the Giveaway and the Sponsor’s decisions concerning such disputes shall be final. If the conduct or outcome of the Giveaway is affected by human error, any mechanical malfunctions or failures of any kind, intentional interference or any event beyond the control of the Sponsor, the Sponsor reserves the right to terminate this Sweepstakes, or make such other decisions regarding the outcome as the Sponsor deems appropriate. No more than the advertised number of prizes will be awarded. All decisions will be made by the Sponsor and are final. The Sponsor further reserves the right to: (i) terminate or declare any Giveaway null and void and rescind any prize, if in its sole judgment, the rules or the integrity of the Giveaway have been violated or compromised in any way, intentionally or unintentionally by any person whether or not a participant in the Giveaway; (ii) cancel, terminate or modify the sweepstakes if, in the sole discretion of the Sponsor, it is impossible or impractical to complete the Giveaway as planned for any reason, including, but not limited to, infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort ; (iii) alter or amend these Giveaway rules at any time; and (iv) stop or conclude the Giveaway at any time without prior notice. Material changes to the Giveaway rules will be told on Twitter, facebook, pinterest and or Email if provided.

JURISDICTION: By entering, participants agree that all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, participant’s rights and obligations, or the rights and obligations of the Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of State of Michigan without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules. By entering, participants consent to the jurisdiction and venue of the federal, state, government.

Sponsor: PupLife, Holland, MI 49423

Have You Created A Doggy Dreams Board? 
- or submit your address via email using our Contact Us page.

May 01, 2013

Inspiring Dog Quotes

Quotes About Dogs

We love dogs, and after almost ten years in the dog supply business, we've come across plenty of inspirational quotes about dogs. It recently occurred to us that sharing them with our readers might be a great idea! 

So, we've started a favorite Quotes About Dogs page. 

Check it out and maybe you'll find a quote that hits close to home. Have a quote we should add? Let us know!

April 30, 2013

We're Having A Tweet-a-thon


Are you on Twitter? If so, make sure to Tweet @PupLife this week, during our first ever Tweet-a-thon! Simply let us know your favorite thing about your dog, and you might just win a $25 PupLife Gift Certificate. 

Read the Official Rules here and then tweet us as many things as you like (we know it is hard to choose just one thing you love about your dog). We'll pick a random winner on May 6th. Good luck!

April 25, 2013

Hey Michiganders! Participate In The 2013 Kalamazoo Humane Society Dog Walk

Looking to support a good cause and have fun at the same time? Check out the dog walkathon in Kalamazoo, Michigan on May 4th, 9 A.M.-2 P.M.

Profits from the Dog Walk go toward the Kalamazoo Humane Society in their search to find the sheltered dogs a home. There will be prizes, giveaways, T-shirts, and much more. Plus, you get to see an array of dogs.

This year the entertainment consists of; Skyhoundz Hyperflite Flying Disc Competition, The Classic K9 Show and America's Best Frisbee Dogs. When not watching the live entertainment participants can enjoy a two mile walk along with lunch, pet adoptions, raffles and much more. It is a great time for your whole family (including fido).

Contact & More Info: Kalamazoo Humane Society Dog Walk


April 13, 2013

Ever Wonder What Your Dog Knows About You?

If you have ever wondered what your dog knows about you, you sure aren't alone.

As pet owners, it is only natural to wonder what dogs think and what they can sense from us. Since pets can't talk, we have to rely on recent studies. After doing some digging, we found it surprising just how much our dogs learn from our body language, facial expressions and tone. 

For more, check out PupLife's original article entitled Dogs Understand: 5 Things Your Dog Knows About You

March 27, 2013

Are Dogs Good For Children? Yes!

Wondering if getting a new dog for the family will impact your children? The answer is yes - in a very positive way. New studies are proving that dogs and children are a healthy mix, and the presence of a pet in the house may bring significant benefits to the health and well being of your child. Read our latest new dog owner tip, entitled Kids & Dogs: 3 Great Reasons Why Children Need Pets.

February 04, 2013

PupLife Named To List Of Top 15 iPad Friendly Retail Sites

If you have an iPad, you probably already know that we've optimized the PupLife site for the best tablet display possible. In fact, our site is responsive in terms of design. If you scale it from a full screen down to a tablet format, it automatically readjusts. It even scales down for great display on the iPhone, too.  So, we are very proud to see that Practical eCommerce magazine recently listed PupLife as one of their favorite 15 iPad Friendly Retail Sites. Hooray!

If you use an iPad (or any other tablet) feel free to share your thoughts on our site design. We always love hearing from our customers. Woof woof!

November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Good For Your Dog?

The following is a guest post by Louise Blake

Thanksgiving is great for humans, but it can be hellish for a dog.

Dozens of new and unfamiliar faces invading your cherished territory, terrible punishments for breaking those precious dioramas, and worst of all, the tantalising smell of a sumptuous feast without any possibility of getting to eat any yourself. So how do you know what Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for your pup to enjoy? Check against this list and you should be off to a good start!

If in doubt, check with your vet. A poor diet can lead to anything from dog skin problems to serious health issues.

Avoid feeding turkey to your dog. The risk of salmonella from raw or incompletely-cooked scraps is just too great, let alone the risk of choking on bones.

Dogs are also unable to digest turkey skin properly, which could be fatal, and if they avoid choking on the bones straight away, there is a chance that larger bones will splinter in their mouths. This can be extremely painful and could also lead to bone fragments damaging their internal organs.

Dogs simply shouldn't be fed turkey scraps. So please don't do it.

A surprisingly large number of vegetables are OK for your dog to eat, but certain groups are very much not-OK.

'Sweet' vegetables like carrots are fine in small quantities but be careful about portion size – while we adults may enjoy pigging out during Thanksgiving, excessive pup portions could give your dog digestive problems later in the day.

Sweet potatoes and winter squash can be genuinely helpful to doggie digestion, as can green beans as they're high in fibre.

In general, you should avoid feeding your dog sugary fruit and sauces, and you should definitely avoid starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, or corn in large amounts. These are fattening foods that will only serve to damage your dog's health.

Chitterlings are pork intestines, and form a traditional Thanksgiving side dish in many households but don’t add them to your dog’s bowl.

While some dogs cope ok with eating small amounts of raw meat, for dogs that are not adjusted to raw diets yet, this can result in a upset tummy. Suffice it to say that if you think the chitterlings smell bad before you clean, boil and pick them clean for your dog, you are in for a heck of a shock once the dog has started providing you with some solid results.

Furthermore, if they've been prepared for human consumption, they may be too salty for dogs, or have too much chemical preservative left on them. This preservation process also wipes almost all the nutrition out of them, making them a fairly useless, if tasty, treat.

Stuffing contains onions and sage, neither of which are ideal for dogs.

If you use breadcrumbs to help bulk out your stuffing, or if the sausage-meat provider used breadcrumbs to bulk out their product, you could cause your dog to suffer from bloat.

Once you've stripped out all the potentially harmful and definitely unhelpful ingredients from the stuffing, it'd basically be easier to feed your dog, well, food already esigned for consumption by dogs.

More Trouble Than It's Worth?
For the purposes of Thanksgiving, then, it is suggested that you treat your dog like a very fussy, old, sensitive, allergic vegan.

Either that, or treat them like an actual dog and buy him or her some special doggy treats!

Human food is human for a reason. Don't be afraid to give your young dog some vegetables now-and-again, but they get very little out of human food and can get some serious health problems.

Personally, I won't feed my pup any human food except squashes and pumpkin. But what about you? Do you have any healthy and nutritious human food that your dog just can't get enough of?

Please share in the comments!

About Louise Blake
Louise Blake is a career-focused mum-to-be with a passion for animal welfare. She can’t wait to be a mum, though she worries about how her beloved pets will cope with the new arrival. When Louise isn’t working as a Client Manager she can be found blogging for GKBC.

November 16, 2012

Friend Of PupLife: Hershey Kiss

This 5.5 pound chocolate toy poodle is named Hershey Kiss. Appropriate, given her colour and the fact that friends of PupLife adopted her as a puppy on February 14th. Isn't she a cutie?

November 05, 2012

New Dog Owner? Here's How To Get Off To A Great Start

Adding a new dog to your family is always exciting. Pets bring so much to our lives and of course, we always want to do the best for them. If you are planning on adopting a dog, we have a new article on the Top 3 Mistakes That New Dog Owners Make. By avoiding these mistakes, you can help your pet get off to a great start!

November 02, 2012

Winners Of The 2012 PupLife Dog Halloween Costume Contest

Congratulations to Odie The 3 Headed Chihuahua, the top winner of PupLife's 2012 Dog Halloween Costume Contest. Second place goes to Daphne as Harry Paw-ter and third prize goes to Odysseus the Kosher Hot Dog. Aren't they awesome?

Thank you to everyone that entered this year. This was the best costume contest ever and it was very difficult to decide. In fact, we have named several entries as Honorable Mentions this season, so check your email accounts for special notifications on that.

We hope everyone had as much fun with this year's costume contest as we did. Stay tuned as we'll be starting up a new contest soon for the holidays!

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Elton John The Knight

Elton is a cavalier king Charles spaniel. The breed originated from Royal Spaniels of King Charles II. They can truly act like they think they are Royal and especially Elton. I sometimes call him Sir Elton and that is why I thought a knight costume was perfect.

I adopted Elton over a year ago and he has quite the personality. He thinks he is King of the Castle.  He sleeps in the bed with me. Sometimes I get pushed to the side of the bed, but if Elton is comfortable he will not budge.  He is only 12 pounds but he can hang with the big dogs. As you can see from this photo, he has eyes and can look at you and your heart melts.


Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Lucy The Giraffe

My little Giraffe Lucy is a Mini Pincer/Chihuaha mix who just turned 1 year old on Oct 29th.  She loves being dressed up and loves to pose for the camera.  She is fun loving and a bundle of energy, and loves to give puppy kisses!

I saw this costume on a website and the cost was $45, i made this costume for under $10.  With her log legs, I knew she would look perfect in it, and as you can she, she comes pretty close!

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Ice

This is ice my standard poodle she is a very bouncy little girl truly a gem.  Full of life and loves everyone she meets here is here halloween costume she was a web for the spider poms were candy corns.

November 01, 2012

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Buddy As Michonne From Walking Dead

This is Buddy dressed as Michonne, from the Walking Dead tv series on AMC. The inspiration came from being fans of the show and dressing the family as the group in the show and included our pet too. Buddy is such a loving dog, sometimes he forgets he's a dog and thinks he's human. He loves to play and lots of attention. I assume he likes these crazy outfitts because he never tries to take them off and allows it haha! He loves kids and is very friendly. One last thing he is a fan of traveling in the car.

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Magic Max

This is Max my 1 year old poodle.  I had just finished watching the Magic Mike movie when I realized that Max's belly band would work as one of the outfits the scantily clad men in the movie wore.  So I just inserted a few dollar bills in it and Magic Max was born.  Needless to say, Max wasn't amused.  Being the sweet pup he is he tolerated it very well...at least for a picture or two.

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Sadie The Wonder Dog

The inspiration behind Sadie's costume came to me because she is my Wonder Dog and looks like a doggie version of Linda Carter. Sadie is my best friend and is who keeps me inspired every day. She knows how to make my neighbors, strangers walking on the street and friends happy even during sad times. A dog who likes to pose, who likes to dress and will do anything to make her mommy smile, now that is a Wonder Dog! I am blessed to have this little Wonder Dog Angel in my life and I hope she inspires others to vote for her and smile when they do.

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Jack The Bad Boy

This is Jack.

He decided he wanted to dress up as a bad boy pup. He has an attitude of a rockstar and this costume suited him perfectly!

Jack would love to win!

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Pongo The Dalmatian

Ziggy the Italian Greyhound as Pongo the Dalmatian

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Marley The Geisha

This is Marley. She is a five year old shih-tzu with quite a personality. She loves dressing up and shows off her outfits to anyone who will look! She decided the Geisha contest was the winning look for this Halloween!

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: The Shihtzuation

I have lived at the Jersey Shore my whole life, so has my shih tzu, Pokerface... so naturally, he had to become the SHIHTZUation!   

October 31, 2012

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Tippi Hedron

This is my dog Apple she is dressed as Tippi Hendren from "The Birds" the inspiration for her costume was based on how much I love Alfred Hitchcock. It dawned to me how amazing would it be if my dog was Tippi!? And this magnificent creation happened. The costume is homemade by my mom. Apples personality is like mine she mimics the things I do she's my daughter. She is a sophisticated little well mannered dog.

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Darth Vader & Yoda

Attached photo of Sprocket (as Yoda) who is s 2 year old boxer mix and Ratchet (as Darth Vader) who is a 2 1/2 year old boxer. The inspiration was that Sprocket has a funny little face and quirky ears, so we usually call her Yoda ---and with any good Yoda, you need the big guy (87 lbs) Ratchet to be Darth! :)

Dog Halloween Costume Contest: Achilles The King

I would like to enter my nephew “Achilles” into your Halloween dog costume contest.  Achilles is three years old and we (my brother, his wife and myself) rescued him from a dog shelter (Shamrock House) in Kentucky.  We saw him on-line and fell in love with him. We live in New York State, so we had to drive about 13 hours to bring home this adorable puppy dog!  Achilles was no longer wanted by his owners so they kept him in a cage in the basement and tied to a tree. He never got any attention and was barely fed.  A neighbor reported this abuse and that’s when the Shamrock House stepped in. 
Since we brought him home…he has lived like a king.  He is my brother and sister-in-law’s dog and they spoil him to no end.  My brother travels a lot in his job, so when he is away my Mom and I watch him at my house.  This dog is never left alone.  He gets more attention than most kids.  He has turned out to be a beautiful, loving …sweet dog that is so smart and  he understands a huge vocabulary of words. 
My Mom (Achilles’ Grammy as we call her) sewed the costume below.  We felt that since Achilles now lives in a beautiful house, is very spoiled and lives like a king, only a king’s robe and crown would be appropriate for this very special dog.
Thanks for considering Achilles as a candidate in your contest.