article image

Music and Movies for Dogs Are Things Now

Far from being a novelty, dog-oriented music is fast becoming a successful new genre, with the production company RelaxMyDog at the forefront, The Guardian recently reported.

Founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Amman Ahmed and producer Ricardo Henriquez, the service reaches about 10 million users a month. It also has a sister company, RelaxMyCat, founded in 2012.

“There are a lot of medications and herbal remedies to calm pets, but I wanted to make something that was 100 percent natural, through music,” Ahmed, 31, said. “We started with a team of two. But now we’re 12 people staffed in Manchester in the UK, El Salvador, and India, and our audience is equally global. This year, we’re on track for our content to help around 15 million pets.”

Rather than turning to scientific research for advice, Ahmed said “the best research comes from actual users.” They give feedback through the company’s YouTube channel, which has 600,000 subscribers.

Dogs apparently like reggae, so now there is a new series of dog reggae music. A 2017 study conducted by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow found classical music had an initial calming effect on the dogs, but they soon got bored by it. Reggae and soft rock were best for reducing stress, barking, and heart rates. The SPCA’s head of research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, suggested that’s because “those genres have a rhythm that is similar to the dogs’ own heart rate. When a puppy is feeling stressed, it will snuggle into its mother and use her heartbeat as relaxation, so this music mimics that.”

The SPCA last year collaborated with the producer John McLaughlin, best known for his work with Westlife, Blue, and 5ive, to create Paws, Play, Relax, a charitable record designed for dogs.

With an 87 percent success rate reported from owners, RelaxMyDog is now setting its sights higher, to  become the Netflix for pets – or Petflix. Petflix entails dog-themed visuals, like walks through a forest, with a purple filter to engage the dogs further, paired with their favorite music, natch. “We’re releasing a Christmas album, and I want it to reach No 1,” Ahmed said.


Florida Bans Greyhound Racing

In the November election, Florida voters overwhelming approved Amendment 13, forcing the state’s 11 racetracks to close by January 2021, the IndyStar reported.

For many years, animal welfare organizations have argued greyhound racing is cruel, so the outcome was considered a win for animal rights activists. However, some greyhound advocates, including Terry Lohrman, president of the Indianapolis chapter of Greyhound Pets of America, see the situation differently, fearing the ban will result in too many displaced greyhounds. More than 100 greyhound adoption groups opposed the ban and supported responsible racing.

“The whole greyhound world is kind of in shock,” Louden said. “Everybody is trying to figure out what’s happening when … Greyhound Pets of America National will be overseeing re-homing these dogs in an organized fashion, and it will be massive.”

The public can help these soon-to-be-retired racing greyhounds by fostering such dogs, adopting one, volunteering with the groups helping them, and by funding the dogs’ well-being with monetary donations to supporting organizations.


A Dog Retirement Home

Dogs in Windsor Township will soon get a retirement place of their own. reported recently that an Elizabethtown nonprofit, 2nd Chance 4 Life Rescue, which provides homeless and abandoned dogs with second chances, plans to open Rescue Ranch,
a retirement home for medically-needy, senior, and abandoned dogs, by Christmas. The York County ranch facility will house 30 to 40 dogs, according to the York Daily Record, and sounds plenty fancy enough with its multiple play yards and a building for healing, grooming, boarding, a surgical area, short-term housing, and, eventually therapy. This will be the first permanent facility for the organization, which accepts donations.


Restaurant Week for Dogs reported recently that Austin, Texas, became among one of the few cities to introduce a restaurant week for dogs.

A city famed for its canine-friendly restaurants and recognized for its overall canine conviviality, Austin, or more specifically, Edible Austin, partnered with Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s philanthropic program, Vodka for Dog People, to pull off Austin’s first Dog Restaurant Week.

A few local restaurants created a menu of fall-centric dishes for the pooches and vodka cocktails for their peeps Nov. 12-18.

Dogs could eat beef sliders, pumpkin truffles, and turkey fall feast garnished with fall vegetables or lap up a canine cocktail of frozen bone broth, yum. Plus, $1 from every Tito’s Vodka cocktail sold at participating restaurants during the promotion benefited a pet-related nonprofit, said.

Austin is apparently not alone in having a restaurant week just for dogs. Chicago has had one, too.


Naughty and Nice

Furbo, the company behind the smart phone-connected, treat-tossing dog camera, released its 2018 list of the “naughtiest” and “nicest” dog breeds, based on the number of barks the animals let out a day, according to People magazine.

Based on numbers gathered from Furbo users, Samoyed dogs bark the most, up 52.8 times every day. The second chattiest canine, the Yorkshire Terrier, doesn’t come close to that record, barking about 23.6 times a day. Bernese Mountain Dogs are the least barking of the dog breeds, letting out about 3.1 barks per day.

Furbo ranked these breeds “the naughtiest” based on barks per day: 1. Samoyed – 52.8 barks; 2. Yorkshire Terrier – 23.6 barks; 3. Poodle – 22.2 barks; 4. Bichon Frise – 20.3 barks; and 5. Doberman – 19.6 barks. And “the nicest” based on barks per day were: 1. Bernese Mountain dog – 3.1 barks; 2. West Highland terrier – 3.5 barks; 3. Shetland sheepdog – 6.1 barks; 4. American Staffordshire terrier – 6.2 barks; and 5. Shiba Inu – 8.1 barks.


Day of the Dogs

The five-day Nepalese Hindu festival of Tihar occurred in November, and dogs benefited greatly on the second day of the festival, known as Kukur Tihar or “Day of the Dogs,” the BBC recently reported.

The dogs were celebrated and blessed with a Tika — a red mark applied to foreheads — and got flowers garlands and food such as meat, milk, eggs, and good quality dog food.

Hindus believe that dog is the messenger of Yamaraj, the God of death, and by keeping the dogs in good moods, they will appease Yamaraj as well.

The festival also celebrates cows, crows, and stray dogs in addition to beloved family pets. Throughout the festival, people in Nepal clean their houses and courtyards and light up lamps and pray to Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth, seeking her blessings.


Murray, 4-Ever

A Massachusetts family has permanently taken in Murray, a funny looking Weimaraner abandoned on a beach, Fox News reported.

Born in Puerto Rico, Murray contracted distemper as a youngster and was abandoned on Dead Dog Beach, a beach on the southeastern coast where hundreds of animals are apparently left to die annually. The virus destroys the nervous and respiratory systems, and in Murray’s case, left him toothless and unable to keep his tongue in his mouth. It also slightly disfigured his head. The Sato Project rescued him and brought him to the United States to be adopted, though he came close to euthanasia: Only his wagging tail spared him. Enter the Gallant family, who fell in love with the odd pup.

“The signature tongue out is just the cutest thing, and his crooked features — if you look at his face closely, you notice his ears aren’t aligned right on his head. His quirks make him even cuter and more special,” Mackenzie Gallant said.


Contract Senioritis

Millions of middle-aged and senior dogs (and cats) fill shelters across the country, but the cute and cuddly babies and bouncy, young adults are the ones who find homes first, the Marin Independent Journal recently reported.

Older pets are as beautiful and as lovable as their younger counterparts, and they have qualities unique to their age, as well as many advantages. They aren’t handfuls like unruly babies and teenagers, and most come house-trained and socialized. And they are who they are. These senior citizens are animals in need, and they may have shorter lives, but there lives are equally fulfilling.

“It can be difficult to have a pet for a relatively short amount of time, but it’s well worth the effort and eventual loss to be able to provide physical and loving care for them as they need it,” says Susan Lamont, who adopted Raider, an 8-year-old Queensland heeler mix, last year.

Marin Humane has plenty of senior animals looking for homes, so if you’re thinking of adopting a new furry friend, consider opening your heart to a lovely old soul.


Fences for Fido

Des Moines, Iowa, dog owners who need fences for their dogs but can’t afford them just may be in luck, according to TV station 13 WHO.

The station reported recently that local volunteers from nonprofit Fence Project of Des Moines have been helping at-risk dogs by building fences for owners who lack resources. Volunteers also donate food and straw for doghouses and check back on the dogs and owners they’ve helped.

“We’ve seen dogs that have been chained up for their whole lives,” said Ben Rupp, board member of the Fence Project of Des Moines. “They may be 10 years old. They’ve never had the experience of running free.”

The group hopes to give dogs that experience, and over the past seven years, has built 95 fences. In early November, volunteers provided a fence for the owners of a 3-year-old German shepherd named Mick, who has spent much of his life in a small kennel.

“We started out going down back alleys looking for dogs who spend their lives changed up 24/7. And we just started knocking on doors asking people if we could fence in their backyard if they’d let their dogs run free,” said Rupp.

Organizers say each fence can cost up to $500 and they rely on donations. To donate funds, can contact the organization on its Facebook page – The Fence Project Des Moines.

Main article photo by: Kendra Luck, The Dogumentarian