New Breeds at Berkeley Animal Care Services

Looks and labels can deceive, so Berkeley Animal Care Services is being creative when it comes to identifying the dogs in their care needing forever homes. The East Bay Times reported recently the Berkeley animal shelter is taking a new approach, characterizing dogs by their personality instead of their purported or suspected breed. Amelia Funghi, animal services manager, demonstrated the naming convention with Petey, a “California Adventure Co-Pilot” that previously would have been called a pit bull mix. “We’re trying to find you a dog that fits your lifestyle—not just based on appearances,” Funghi told the newspaper. The genius behind many of the new names is Leslie Smith, a BACS volunteer. The shelter personnel believe the new marketing technique may better ensure compatible matchups, because breed names sometimes carry inaccurate connotations. Plus, guesses about a dog’s origins are inevitably poor without DNA analysis. Under the revised labeling system, “An adopter might come in hoping to find a so-called poodle or Doberman—and leave the building with an American Sofa Dog or a Sierra Stair Stepper,” a city news release said, the newspaper reported. Along with Petey, the Adventure Co-Pilot, dogs awaiting adoption at BACS recently included Ricky the Bay Bridge Bounder, Stella the Pacific Palarounder, Chettie the San Francisco Nice-A-Roni, Ophelia the Petaluma People Pleaser, Arthur the Old English Sporty Spice, Bud the Peppy Pop Tart, and Chenille the California Lap Squasher.

Oh, Yes!

Berkeley’s Ohlone Dog Park, widely considered the world’s first dog park, held a re-opening ceremony, complete with ribbon cutting, in October after much-anticipated renovation. The effort to create a dog park began in 1979 with Ohlone on Hearst Avenue (between Grant Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way) becoming what’s believed to be the first of thousands of dog parks around the world. Funds from the East Bay Regional Park District’s Measure WW lead to the upgrade.

FAAS Demonstration

Alameda pet owners and their pets demonstrated at City Hall in October to urge the City Council to back a new contract with Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, or FAAS, to operate the local animal shelter. The city contributes $300,000 toward the shelter, which FAAS says costs closer to $1.3 million a year to operate. The shelter cares for about 1,000 stray, neglected, or abused animals annually. FAAS, a nonprofit that relies on volunteers, grants, and donations, runs the shelter as a city partner through an agreement reached in 2012. The council has asked city staff for a detailed report on the facility’s finances, operations, practices, and the report is expected before March 2017. FAAS has been trying to renegotiate its agreement since January. The city is required to have an animal shelter, and the cost of taking over running it again has been estimated to be about $900,000.

Friends of Friends

Winemakers Kent Rosenblum, an Alameda veterinarian since 1970, and his daughter, Shauna Rosenblum of Alameda’s Rock Wall Wine Co., want the city to kick in more money for FAAS. They are helping alleviate the shelter’s anticipated budget woes by bottling and selling Rock Hound Red and Rock Hound White wines that carry a photo of Sonny, Shauna Rosenblum’s blind pit bull, on the label and donating money to FAAS. Those wine sales have generated $12,000 for FAAS.

Improved Poop Station

BioBag wants to help San Franciscans compost dog waste, potentially keeping an estimated 32 million pounds of poop from about 120,000 dogs out of the landfill annually. It started a program this fall to provide dog owners with compostable bags, a collection bin, and pickup service at the Starr King Open Space in Potrero Hill to test the effectiveness of a dog waste composting program. BioBag has help from EarthBaby.

State of the Bark

Happy Hound, the West Oakland dog day-care, boarding, and training facility, recently announced plans to open a “state-of-the-bark” facility in early 2017 near its existing site. The new 11,000-square-foot facility represents the first new construction in the area of a business owned by women, reported a Happy Hound news release. A grand opening has been sent for 11 a.m.-4 p.m. March 11.

A Pint for Pup

Drinking a pint by your lonesome can be, well, lonesome, so why not bring your pup along to the pub and get her a pint, too? You can do just that, but you’ll have travel Down Under, to The Dogs Bar in St. Kilda, Melbourne, according to DailyMail.com. The bar’s latest sensation is Beer Dog Bitter, which is made especially for dogs and costs $6.50 AUD. It’s a supposedly delicious beef-extract, a nonalcoholic brew sold in a glass screw-top bottle, or stubbie, so what doesn’t go down at the pub can do down at home. Coming next: a doggie menu, mmm.

No-Kill Kegs

Dingo Dog Brewing Company near Carrboro, N.C., plans to put dogs and craft beer together. Dingo Dog is a nonprofit brewery near Chapel Hill that Tim Schwarzauer is starting with proceeds donated to no-kill animal shelters and animal welfare groups, according to DailyTarheel.com. The name comes from Schwarzauer’s 17-yer-old terrier rescue, and Schwarzauer is working on establishing grants to be given to animal welfare organizations. He also wants to also get a winery license so he can offer cider. So far, reaction has been positive, with the first two runs of beer having sold out.

Happy Reunion

A Missouri teenager suffering from a rare blood disorder was reunited with her dogs, Casper and Thor, in the hospital, People reported. Emily Reimer, 19, had spent 18 months away from home and her pups, a Havanese and a standard poodle, while undergoing treatment for diamond-blackfan anemia, a bone marrow failure syndrome. St. Louis Children’s Hospital brought the three together in a joyful reunion, which the patient said hands-down beat FaceTime with the dogs, at the Purina Pet Center

Ready for Real Life

The Toledo Area Humane Society in Maumee, Ohio, is experimenting with décor designed to make dogs feel more comfortable and recently introduced a Real Life Room that’s more akin to a living room than a cold, clinical, sterile shelter meeting room. The Real Life Room has a leather recliner, throw pillows, a plush rug, new toys, and a TV, all items to make it resemble a warm, natural home environment instead of a kennel. The theory goes that the dogs will feel more at home and relaxed and therefore show off their more natural personalities rather than being uptight, stressed, or depressed as can be the case when housed in a more clinical setting. Dogs with the greatest needs of anxiety reduction get to spend more time in the room than other better-adjusted canines that wouldn’t benefit as much. The humane society said the room has been helpful.

At Your Service

Dogs are amazing at performing services for humans. One, Harlow, a golden retriever whose human is Jaquie Blake, can put up laundry, get a water bottle from the refrigerator, close the dishwasher, pick up keys, get the leash, and retrieve all sorts of dropped items, CBS News reported. Plus, the pooch, a medical alert and mobility service dog, is learning even more so she can better assist Blake, 20, who suffers from postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, POTS, an autonomic nervous system disorder. Blake gets dizzy, faints, falls asleep unexpectedly, and suffers from migraines because of her disorder. Another amazing thing about Harlow: She has an Instagram account with more than 70,000 followers.

Using Their Noses

Dogs can tell time. With their noses. Sort of. Alexandra Horowitz, the founder of Barnard College’s Dog Cognition Lab, says as much in her new book, Being a Dog. Apparently, dogs can detect subtle scents throughout the day as time passes, according to DailyMail.com. So canines may be able to pinpoint when their human will be home by how much his or her scent throughout the environment has diminished as time goes by.

Skydiving Dogs

In South Africa, dogs equipped with parachutes are taking to the skies with handlers to put an end to poaching in the country’s national parks. LonelyPlanet.com reported the plan is to use 400 canine units—mostly German shepherds and Belgian malinois—to track suspected poachers in wilderness and to find guns and contraband such as ivory and illegal bushmeat. The dogs (and people) are being trained north of Johannesburg at Paramount Group’s Anti-Poaching and Canine Training Academy. One trainee, Killer, has caught up with 115 poaching crews in 18 months. A dog named Arrow was Africa’s first skydiving dog.

Worth a Thousand Words

German photographer Christian Vieler has a way with the camera, and in one of his latest projects, he focused his lens on dogs catching treats in midair. They have wide eyes, crossed eyes, and surprised looks in the still frames as they open their mouths wide, bear fangs, and display jowls and lips akimbo while in focused concentration on a small incoming dog treat target. “Every shoot, I am looking for that specific moment when the dog is as cute or as funny as they can be,” Vieler said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “That cannot be seen without the power of freezing motion—dog’s faces with magnificent lineaments, telling us stories of panic, desire, and joy.”

Seen It All

Tired of blown fur and shedding everywhere? Something called the Shed Defender—a breathable leotard for dogs—may be just what you’ve been looking for, Dodo reported. Put it on Rover to keep his hair from getting all over the car or strewn throughout the house and to keep dander down. The Shed Defender, made of stretchy athletic mesh, also provides warmth, can help eliminate anxiety, and can substitute for the cone of shame. Comes in many sizes and colors, all looking equally ridiculous.

Good Neighbor

Having a dog helps you feel more connected to your community—or at least that’s the word from a recent State Farm “State of Neighbors” survey. It found that 55 percent of pet owners participate in neighborhood activities and pet owners were three times as likely to have organized a neighborhood event.