Dog frozen to Wis. sidewalk; fat helped it survive”

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — A dog weighing more than 120 pounds survived being frozen to a sidewalk overnight, probably because he was insulated by layers of fat, authorities said. The Sheboygan County Humane Society says the “morbidly obese” dog, an aging border collie mix named Jiffy, froze to the sidewalk when he was left out overnight Wednesday. Shelter manager Carey Payne says few dogs could survive the single-digit temperatures, and it was probably the fat that made the difference.

Jiffy’s 59-year-old owner was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of animal neglect, Sheboygan Police Lt. Tim Eirich said. She told police she tried to get the dog inside but couldn’t, and instead checked on him every few hours.

Poor doggie.

Allergists aren’t pleased with President-elect Obama’s search for a “hypo-allergenic” dog. The up-side is that it’s giving a boost to an issue that’s long vexed some animal-protection/animal shelter advocates – unethical breeders selling so-called hypoallergenic dogs to desperate families, many of those dogs then ending up abandoned or neglected.

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has issued a statement that includes this advice:

According to the AAAAI, it is a common misconception that people are allergic to a dog’s hair, and it is falsely believed that a dog that sheds less will not cause a reaction. However, allergies to pets are caused by protein found in the animal’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva or urine.

These proteins are carried on microscopic particles through the air. When inhaled, they trigger reactions in allergic people. As all dogs posses these proteins, there is no allergy-free dog.

Though some dog breeds are considered more allergy friendly, it is likely because they are groomed more frequently – a process that removes much of the dander.

[read the entire statement, which includes some advice for allergy sufferers]

The AAAI website also links to WebMD’s Hypoallergenic Dogs and Dog Allergies FAQ

Hypoallergenic dogs have gotten a lot of buzz lately as the Obama family searches for a dog to bring with them to the White House — without triggering dog allergies in older Obama daughter, Malia.

A quick glance at the Internet shows lots of web sites devoted to “hypoallergenic dogs” and “hypoallergenic dog breeds.” But no dog may be free of potential allergens, cautions allergy and asthma expert Corinna Bowser, MD, of Havertown, Pa.

WebMD talked with Bowser about hypoallergenic dogs and dog allergies — and what the Obamas might consider to help avoid triggering Malia’s dog allergy.

[read the whole FAQ]

The number of news articles that have sought advice from the ASPCA and allergists instead of some of the shady dog-breeders who make ridiculous claims is a positive sign. The ASPCA has made good use of this national platform to try to quell the spread of misinformation.

“No breeds are completely hypoallergenic. However, some breeds have a tendency to cause fewer problems — mostly those that don’t shed and need to have their coats trimmed regularly, or those that tend to shed less, said Stephen Zawistowski, an executive vice president for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Relatively common no-shed breeds include poodles, bichon frise, Portuguese water dogs and Maltese, but these breeds need professional grooming, which can be expensive. Other breeds that have a tendency to shed less are Schnauzers, Westies (West Highland white terriers) and Scottish terriers, Zawistowski says.”

I cringed when I heard President-elect Obama refer to hypo-allergenic dogs, but perhaps the public education campaign that has resulted has been worth it after all.

Back in August, I had an incredibly weird dream. I wrote a draft post about it (which appears below), filed it, and forgot it. Until I read this:

Starting at 11 a.m., hundreds of dogs are expected to descend on Downtown Oak Park for the attempt to break the Guinness World Record of 178 canine couples wed in a mass ceremony. All couples will exchange “bow vows” at 1 p.m., with Oak Park Village President David Pope serving as officiant.

The event mentioned above made the news because they’ve invited the Obamas to attend and adopt a puppy, I was not randomly surfing around looking for dog weddings. Maybe I should have been.

I’m too tired to clean up this draft so it may seem odd because I wrote it August 11, 2008 and always intended to revise it so it would make more sense, but never did.

Last year, in a flickr and/or artomatic marriage made in heaven, Dr. Birdcage married Phil. The ceremony was performed by Pat, as written by me.

I mention this because the memory of this event must have been the genesis for the dream I had last night. I have no other explanation. It seemed so real, I was actually concerned that it had actually happened. The look on Husband’s face when I asked him if he knew anything about a massive artomatic dog wedding assured me it was only a dream.

So here’s the dream. I repeat: This did not actually happen, nor is it a planned event for next year’s Artomatic.

The dream took place at Artomatic, presumably the 2009 event, although we were still in the 2008 building. It was a dream, let’s just work with it. Pat and I built a little wedding chapel at Artomatic as our installation and, as Pat and I can both legally perform weddings, we were marrying people on Friday and Saturday nights. To each other, not to ourselves, of course. It was quite nice. People would invite their friends, we had a special Roger-built bar-cart for the receptions. We had sunflowers. Some people brought their own flowers.

Somewhere along the way, we decided to perform a ceremony so Ellyn could marry Emo, her dachshund. To the best of my knowledge, Ellyn has never, in real life, expressed any desire to marry her dog. I can’t explain why I would think she wanted to in this dream, but remember, it was a dream. We agreed to perform a wedding for Ellyn and Emo, and the next thing we knew more people wanted to marry their dogs.

For some reason, we decided to find a country that would agree to issue legal marriage licenses for people and their dogs. We found one, an island that saw good publicity and cash flow when it flashed before their eyes, and the process was simple. The marriage was non-exclusive, meaning you could also be married to a human and/or the rest of your pack. The marriage was only recognized on the island of St. Maarten. Presumably only the French side. I say that not because I think the French marry their dogs, but because that’s where Tracy was when I had the dream. And in the dream, she had stayed there to be our registrar of licenses. Somehow, we still managed to have Pho together every Sunday, distance never makes much sense in dreams, does it?

As an aside, you cannot actually marry your dog in St. Maarten and they have actual matrimony rules, which my subconscious decided to make a mockery of for no real reason. I blame Tracy.

Back to the dream…Next thing you know, we have a stage set-up in a huge field and we have thousands of people there to marry their dogs. There were of protesters, courtesy of the Rick Santorum website. Yes, Rick Santorum appeared to me in a dream. That, frankly, troubles me more than any other detail.

I could describe what everyone was wearing and what the band played and all those other oddly specific yet utterly mundane details, but it would be boring. Just picture a big field full of dogs and people, lots of camera crews, and, as proof this was a dream, hundreds of cheerful and enthusiastic volunteers. Also, a large cake shaped like a fire hydrant, which was instantly recognized to have been a very poor plan.

When we kicked off the ceremony, I made a stern speech about how people need to keep their dogs on a leash or they’d be escorted off the field. It went on a bit about this being for the safety of their own dog as much as others. I believe the military was supplying security. Also, for some reason that made sense at the time, nuns.

I made a joke about CNN being there and said that I’d originally planned to tell a joke about Wolf Blitzer and his cat, but had been informed this was now a family event and that I shouldn’t tell it. People could see me afterwards if they wanted to hear it. Even in my sleep, I have animosity for the Blitzer. I wish I could remember the joke, apparently it was as hilarious as it was obscene. Does Wolf have a cat?

We had the ceremony, and each person had a “Best Friend Best Friend” who recited the dog-vows. Pat recited the human vows. I recited the dog vows, which actually went: “Woof. Woof woof woof, woof…” etc. And the Best Friend Best Friends repeated the vows, “Woof. Woof woof.”

Like I said, I woke up deeply, deeply disturbed.

Pillowcase Drive

We are seeking old pillowcases for one of our “pet” projects.

Waffle cones come packed between foam layers which used to be sent back to the manufacturer for reuse. About a year ago they stopped being able to do this due to shipping costs.It is very hard in this day and age to throw so much nice clean foam into the dumpster every week.

We discovered that they make very nice soft beds for pets when covered with two pillowcases,one on each end so they can’t get at the foam.The pillowcases are much easier to launder than thick towels which take alot of time and energy to dry.

We hope we can offer these beds to places where animals need to be comforted such as rehab or SPCA so that the foam and pillowcases can be used again instead of going to the landfill.

If you have old pillowcases to contribute you can put them in the box at the shop.If you would like some foam to make your own pet bed we will be happy to give you some in exchange for two pillowcases!

I was just about to clean out the linen closet. Gee, I guess we’re going to have to go for some frozen custard later, aren’t we?

Caught a bit of the Battlestar Gallactica marathon this morning (the 70s version). I’d forgotten about that creepy robot dog, Muffit. Wonder Woman had a robot dog, too. Battle of the Planets, although a cartoon, still had a robot pooch named 1-Rover-1. Buck Rogers was more progressive, instead of a robot dog they had gay humanoid robots, but that’s really the subject of a whole other post.

We didn’t have television in my house for part of the 70s so my memories of 70s TV shows are a bit dodgy. I was searching for more instances of robo-dogs of the 70s, and chasing rumors about Muffit being played by chimpanzees but I got distracted by a post at sciencefictionblog titled Dog of the Bride of the Reanimator?, which linked to an article about The University of Pittsburgh’s Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and their work re-animating dogs.

I consequently got distracted contemplating the ramifications of zombie dogs. Then I lost interest in the whole 70s robot dog thing altogether. Zombie dogs are way more interesting.

Husband has been reading the brilliant Jeffrey Steingarten’s It Must Have Been Something I Ate.

Steingarten has a labrador retriever named Sky King. When I learned this, I told Husband that I’ve always wanted a German Shepherd just so I could name him (or her) Sky King.

After more discussion, Husband explained to me that the original Sky King was a cowboy who flew an airplane. He was not a dog.

Lassie: dog.
Rin Tin Tin: dog.
Sky King: cowboy.

I have no idea why I always thought Sky King was a dog. Really, when you think about it, the name makes no sense whatsoever for a dog, since dogs don’t actually fly. Not without assistance, anyway.

Husband gently suggested that maybe it was common to mix up the concepts of, say, Rin Tin Tin and Sky King, sort of like how people in the 70s, having only heard their music, confused Diana Ross and Donna Summer. It was a nice try, but I doubt very much that anyone else had trouble distinguishing a cowboy action hero who flew a plane with…a dog.

I’d blame the drugs I’m on, but to be honest I’ve thought Sky King was a dog my entire life – or at least as far back as I can remember, so that excuse holds no water.

Speaking of drugs, I’m rather nauseated today so I’m going back to bed. Reviews of the many, many delightful documentaries I’ve been watching when I feel up to it.

In the mean time, um, keep watching the skies….

NASCAR star Jeremy Mayfield and his wife, Shana, stopped by our house the other night. They had the cutest little pug puppy with them, and they wanted us to think about adopting him.

The puppy was all black. They chose that one for us because Jeremy was concerned about the amount they shed and the texture of their hair – it apparently finds a way to stick to everything and sort of weave itself in – and he knew we wear a lot of black so this seemed like a good choice to him. It seemed like a good choice to me, too. He was the sweetest puppy and I fell in love.

Then Jeremy told me a lot about pugs and the great work of the Pug Rescue of North Carolina. Then we all had tea. It was truly one of the strangest dreams I’ve had in a long, long time.

Read More →

Dogs are wonderful. I love dogs. It’s their owners I worry about. Neuticles and
doggles and jog a dogs, what more could your dog need?

Maybe your dog needs a vintage mink sleigh bed.

Our neighborhood has the requisite barkery to ensure the local pooches get fresh and organic treats, which is apparently very important to animals who consider catpoop a delicacy.

Del Ray’s yappy hour is only a few years old, but the one at the Holiday Inn in Old Town has been going on twice a week for years (decades, I’m told, but have never verified this).