Nick Haworth, a San Diego commercial fisherman, thought he had lost his German shepherd, Luna, for good after she when went overboard in February. But a month later, the blue-eyed girl, presumed drowned, was found alive on San Clemente Island and reunited with her owner.
Haworth had searched two days for the dog without success and let the Navy, owner of the island, know about her disappearance. Navy personnel spotted the tail-wagging dog at the side of the road weeks later. She was a little skinnier but not too bad off. She was outfitted with a new tag bearing her name and the message “Keep the Faith.”
EB SPCA Scores
Downtown Subaru of Oakland gave a check for $14,000 to the East Bay SPCA in April. People who bought Subarus from Nov. 19, 2015, through Jan. 2, 2016, could designate a charity to receive a $250 donation from the Oakland dealership. The East Bay SPCA was one of six benefitting organizations.
Designer dogs are the rage these days, and a recent assessment of the most popular mixes puts the Chiweenie on top, followed by the Cavapoo, Pomchi, Jack Chi, Labradane, Labrabull, Shih-Poo, Mastador, Chipin, Cavachon, Cockapoo, Goldendoodle, Labradoodle, Eurasier, Maltipoo, Schnoodle, Puggle, Catahoula Bulldog, Yorkiepoo, Poochon, Bernedoodle, Utonagan, Kyi-Leo, Aussiedoodle, and Valley Bulldog. Bet you can guess most of them. If not, google them.
What a Face
New data suggests people prefer dogs with smushed faces like pugs and French bulldogs over the stately shepherd or noble collie of old. Dog lovers today apparently like their canines to sport small, wide, babylike faces—the shorter, wider skulled models whose head shapes can make them prone to problems with their vision, teeth, or breathing.
For the Love of Pits
A new study indicates dogs labeled as “pit bulls” stay in shelters longer, Newsweek reports.
Lisa M. Gunter and her colleagues authored the Arizona State University study, called “What’s in a Name? Effect of Breed Perceptions and Labeling on Attractiveness, Adoptions and Length of Stays for Pit-Bull-Type Dogs.” It suggests the label makes prospective lookers wrongly think such dogs are less adoptable because of a negative connotation association with pit bulls. Once the label was removed or discarded, the prejudices disappeared, and the same dogs, or ones very similar in appearance, seemed more attractive to prospective adopters. Pit bull is not a breed but a type often applied to dogs with big heads and muscular bodies.
Angel Groomer Does Makeovers
A New York City dog groomer, Mark Imhof, decided to help shelter pups in line for adoption find their forever homes sooner by donating his time to give them makeovers.
Working as Mark the Dog Guy, he goes to shelters in his free time and picks the residents who look the scruffiest and gives them shampoos and haircuts. So far he has assisted with about 50 adoptees.
Pups could enjoy a fanciful three-course meal recently in the UK when Pet Pavilion joined restaurant Bluebird in Chelsea for the Bites and Bones Brunch.
The first course was venison sausage and beefy brown rice followed by a second course of a chicken and lamb “barkenberg” loaf, and the third-course, dessert, featured a sweet potato and peanut butter macaroon with a dogified gelato filling. To drink? Pooch hooch, aka beer for dogs.
Dogs have a food truck, too, in Seattle parks, office buildings, parking lots, and farmers markets, thanks to The Seattle Barkery, the city’s first food truck for dogs.
Dawn and Ben Ford had the idea to cater to canines and found a market for homemade treats. They sell fried chicken feet, duck neck, “pupcakes,” cheese doughnuts, pretzels, and peanut butter banana cookies.
A blind Chinese man, Tian Fengbo, got his stolen guide dog back with a note of apology. The dog, a female black Lab named Qioaqiao, had been the man’s guide dog for six years, but she was whisked away by strangers in a van on a morning when an employee was walking her.
Tian operates a chain of massage parlors and his assistant had taken the dog for a walk when kidnappers grabbed her. The theft produced high public interest, likely a factor in why she was returned. She was recovering and in good spirits upon her return.
Two recent studies have found dogs apparently can tell human emotions by looking at faces.
Researchers at the University of Mexico studied how dogs’ brain activity changed when they were shown photos of people’s faces and inanimate objects. Brain activity significantly increased with the images of faces. “The recognition of human faces by dogs could be an essential factor in establishing attachment with humans,” the study reported.
The second study, by Brazilian and English behaviorists and psychologists, tested dogs by showing them photos of a happy or sad person in tandem with a voice speaking happily or angrily. The dogs looked the longest at the images that matched voice tone.
Two Barnard College Dog Cognition Lab researchers, Alexandra Horowitz and Julie Hecht, have been studying what people say to their dogs by watching a zillion videos. Their goal is to help bolster research benefitting service and support animals for humans.
Commands—give, go, drop, come, and get, for instance—were prevalent. Owners also asked questions related to where, what, and want, and they used words of praise like good, yeah, yes, and OK. Dogs’ names were tops, as were objects like ball, that, or it. Others on the list, not surprisingly: boy, girl, ready, play, and no.
When Dogs Fly
There is six-part realty TV show in the U.K. called Dogs Might Fly, and dog trainers are doing their darndest to teach dogs to fly airplanes. Eight trainers from the show strapped 12 strays into harnesses at real and makeshift aviation simulation stations. The primary teaching technology involves puppetry and a human drum kit, which the dogs touch with paws and noses. Once mastered, the dog moves on to working the kick pedals.
The same outfit taught dogs to drive a car around a race tack in a similar preceding reality show. What the best dog drivers and pilots need, the trainers say, are confidence, intelligence, stick-to-it-iveness, and an ability to problem solve.
An Austin, Texas, running club has partnered with an animal shelter to exercise dogs during shelter operating hours in a program called RuffTrail Runners. In the program, local runners learn how to run with a four-legged friend from Austin Pets Alive and can then check out a participating dog to bring on a run. The idea is that the extra attention and activity make the dogs, who wear “Adopt Me” vests on their outings, more adoptable. RuffTrail Runners is gaining popularity around the country and applies the same running rules to those who would rather walk instead of jog the borrowed dog.