Monday 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Let's take it easy in 2013!

Happy New Year to all my faithful readers, to my family and friends, far and near.    

Friday 14 December 2012

Underwater dogs

Creature from the deep?  No.  It's Alex, the 7 year old Labrador.  Read on ....
Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer and New York Times Best Selling Author. His series of Underwater Dogs photographs have been seen by hundreds of millions of people around the world and have become one of the most famous series of images in the past decade.

"I just really like dogs. They inspire me. I wish I could be a dog, but I can't, so I will do my best to live like one. "

In 2007, Seth began volunteering to photograph homeless pets to help them find loving families. These improved photos showcased unique personalities, resulting in countless adoptions. One day, someone asked if they could commission Seth to photograph their dog. A photo from this photo shoot was chosen to be on the cover of a popular pet magazine, which sparked a career as a pet photographer.

Since then, Seth's work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times and in hundreds of other magazines, newspapers and calendars. He has travelled the world in pursuit of his passion, working with animals on five continents.

Seth lives and works in Chicago and Los Angeles.

Friday 7 December 2012

Baby, you can drive my car.

A charity in New Zealand is teaching rescue dogs to drive a car.  Unbelievable.
I am using all my dog training skills to train Ozzy so that he can drive us to Cornwall this summer.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Belgian Shepherd.

The comic book character Ace the Bat-Hound was the canine crime-fighting partner of Batman and Robin.  Ace was a Malinois, a Belgian Shepherd Dog.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Dogs in art

M. C. Escher (1898-1972) was a Dutch graphic artist. He is a world-famous artist known for his so-called impossible structures, such as Ascending and Descending, Relativity, his Transformation Prints, such as Metamorphosis I, Metamorphosis II and Metamorphosis III, Sky & Water I or Reptiles.  He is known for his often mathematically inspired wooduts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible construtions, explorations of infinity, architecure, and tessellations.  His works can be seen in Het Paleis which houses a permanent exhibition dedicated to his work.  The collection is housed in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands. It is the only public building in The Hague where the original royal ambiance of a palace has been maintained.
This is his take on dogs:

Monday 19 November 2012

Doggie chastity pants

I read this in an English tabloid today and thought some of you might find this - as I do - a bit over the top.

 Taiwanese dog-loving fashion designers have come up with the perfect way to stop pooches from having ruff sex in the street – special doggie chastity pants.
The £25 knickers allow a female dog to do her business when nature calls, while covering the rest of her nether regions.
Inventor Zhang Daxing explained: “It is very upsetting for owners to find their dogs being assaulted in the streets. These pants now make it impossible for them to be raped.”
Dog lover Chi Sun added: “It’s a brilliant idea. My girl is very sensitive and I find it very offensive when these rough strays start sniffing around her.”

 What on earth will be next?


Monday 12 November 2012

Lest we forget

The Animals in War Memorial is located in London on Park Lane on the eastern edge of Hyde Park. Unveiled on 24 November 2004 by the Princess Royal, it stands as a memorial to the countless animals that have served and died under British military command throughout history.

Beneath the main header "Animals in War" the memorial has two separate inscriptions:
the first and larger reading:
"This monument is dedicated to all the animals
that served and died alongside British and allied forces
in wars and campaigns throughout time"

The second - but to me the more poignant - smaller inscription simply reads:
"They had no choice"

Tuesday 6 November 2012

The Corgi also faces extinction.

The Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the breed favoured by the Queen, is a the soft-coated wheaten terrier and it also on the Kennel Club's watch list.  Only between 301 and 450 puppies have been registered this year.
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage has been traced back as far as 1107 AD.  It is said that the Vikings and Flemish weavers brought the dogs with them as they travelled to reside in Wales. As far back as the 10th century, Corgis were herding sheep, geese, ducks, horses and cattle as one of the oldest herding breed of dogs.
The Queen owns 16 dogs of this breed.  In September 2012, it was reported that two of them, Monty (who had appeared in the James Bond scenes in the London 2012 Olympics ) and Cider (who is half Dachshund) had passed away.
Memo to self: I must check out the Flemish connection. 

Thursday 1 November 2012

The Old English Sheepdog faces extinction

The Old English Sheepdog has been put on a watch list of endangered dogs amid fears it could face extinction.  It is being hit by the growing popularity of so-called "handbag dogs" such as Chihuahuas.
The breed,  used in advertisements for Dulux paint for more than 50 years, has just 316 of its puppies registered this year, the Kennel Club said.  By contrast, there were 28,787 Labrador Retriever puppies registered last year, making it the UK's most popular dog. There were 2,669 Chihuahuas and 5,496 Pugs registered - both breeds are growing rapidly in popularity.
So alarm bells are ringing as a breed is deemed "vulnerable" if registrations drop below 300. 
The decline in the Old English sheepdog could be partly explained by lifestyle changes.  It needs a lot of grooming and exercise and so is not suitable for the fast paced urban lifestyles. It is also a lot to do with fashion. Their popularity is being eclipsed by more fashionable and smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas and Pugs that, although small, can be much harder to train and care for.  The Siberian Husky is also growing in popularity.  It is a beautiful dog but notoriously wilful and definitely unsuitable for urban life.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Reinforcing the "stay" command

Ozzy and me on Northcott Beach ( North Cornwall ).  We are reinforcing the "stay" command. We start off by playing with the ball.  

When we are nice and relaxed, we start the execise.  The command is "stay" but since I speak French to Ozzy it's "reste".  Not too far at first.

Walking away and increasing the distance.
Ozzy does this really well.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Royal adoption

Living rough just a few weeks ago, from now on a Jack Russell Terrier named Bluebell will be treated like royalty thanks to her new devoted pet parent, Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.

Just four weeks old when she was rescued from a park, Bluebell was partially bald due to a severe skin problem when she arrived at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The rescue’s clinic cleared the condition, while her emotional wounds healed thanks to the loving attention she received at the renowned rescue organization, which has provided comfort and care to more than 3.1 million canines and cats since its founding in 1860.

Little Bluebell is currently enjoying her first days with her famous family and playing with her new sister Beth, a one-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who was also adopted by the Duchess from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in August 2011.


Wednesday 10 October 2012

Sunday 7 October 2012

Dog portrait

Kathryn Wronski is an American artist who paints dogs.  Emma Nevada House, a B&B in Nevada city had a portrait painted of their Australian Shepherd called Winnie.  Not bad don’t you think?
And this is Ozzy. 

Saturday 29 September 2012

Flemish Baroque painter


Johannes Fijt was a Flemish Baroque animal painter and etcher.  He was born in Antwerp in 1611.  He trained in several well established ateliers in Antwerp before travelling to Paris, Venice, Naples and Rome.  
Fyt excelled in the rendering of animal life in its most varied forms. He was very skillful in the reproduction of the coat of deer, dogs, greyhounds, hares and monkeys. He had no equal in painting the plumage of peacocks, woodcocks, ducks, hawks, and cocks and hens, nor was any artist even of the Dutch school more effective in filling his compositions with accessories of tinted cloth, porcelain, vases and fruit.
Fyt's paintings can be seen in several British museums such as the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection among others.

I particularly like this etching titled: "Barking dog" which is in the  Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Early snow

Snow in North Iceland in early September is not unusual, but snowfall of two to three meters overnight is... The sheep are still in highland pastures and it's a race to get them down into the valley.  The sheepdogs have quite a job on their hands. 

Thursday 13 September 2012

Straight out of Star Wars

The U.S. military-funded robot dog program has developed an electronic canine which will help soldiers hauling their gear over rugged terrain.  This dog is known as a Legged Squad Support System or LS3 and is a sort of an intelligent pack mule that will not react when shots are fired.   The robot dogs have also been trained to follow the leader.  They can walk up to 3 miles per hour over rocky terrain and transition to a 5-mile-per-hour jog on a flat surface. Eventually, top speed will be around 7 miles per hour on flat surfaces.  The robot dogs will even right themselves should they stumble, without even a whimper.  This invention is useful to soldiers who need to cover ground inaccessible to their Humvees. Let’s just hope these dogs don’t turn on their owners.

Monday 10 September 2012

Mother's instinct

A house fire in Temuco, Chile, destroyed the portion of the home where this dog lived with her 10 day old puppies. She managed to bring them to safety in one of the fire engines.  The homeowners were taken to hospital for burn treatment.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Dog stamps

The U.S. Postal Service recently released new stamps honouring working dogs.
The set of four stamps, that celebrates the partnership of dogs and people, depicts four typical jobs of working canines: guide dogs, therapy dogs, tracking dogs and search dogs.
The guide dog is a black Labrador Retriever, the sweet therapy dog -- pictured being petted -- is a Welsh Springer Spaniel. A yellow Labrador is the tracking dog while the search dog is a German Shepherd, standing in tall grass.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Perfume for dogs

Discover the « Les Poochs » perfume range !
For the female dog, there is La Pooch Perfume: a sprightly and light floral reminiscent of spring flowers and Lily of the Valley.  For the male dog, there is Le Pooch Cologne: a light woodsy-green top note with lingering hints of leather and spice.
Yours from Paw Palace on-line pet boutique where you can find all sorts of pet products you have not even dreamed of. 
Can you imagine Ozzy parading through the house smelling like a French boudoir?

Thursday 10 May 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi's dog.

Aung San Suu Kyi with her dog Tai Chi Toe, at her home in Rangoon. Burma's democracy icon and leader of the opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), spent more than 15 years under house arrest in her lakeside home and Insein prison. She was released from her latest sentence in November 2010.
The dog was purchased by her son Kim Aris, who was able to visit his mother for the first time in a decade after her release.
Don't you think it looks a bit like Ozzy?  

Monday 7 May 2012

All in the mind

Dogs do many things to help people. Physiological measures show that petting a calm and friendly dog actually reduces stress ( reduced muscle tension, more regular breathing and a slower heart rate).  It has been said that people who own dogs are likely to live longer and require less medical attention.  
Dogs can also assist in psychotherapy.  Sigmund Freud felt that dogs had a special sense that allows them to judge a person's character accurately. For this reason his favourite chow-chow, Jo-Fi, attended all of his therapy sessions.  Freud admitted that he often depended upon Jo-Fi for an assessment of the patient's mental state. He also felt that the presence of the dog seemed to have a calming influence on all patients, particularly children.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Thorny start



Cactus Jack, a eight-week-old puppy was found face-first in a cholla cactus in Phoenix, Arizona. Passersby who found the Yorkie-terrier mix alerted the Arizona Humane Society and went to work on removing the scores of fish hook type spikes from his face. They removed a five gallon bucket worth of spines. Vets who treated him said he was not phased by his ordeal. He just loved the attention and was wagging his tail throughout his medical examination. Cactus Jack was put up for adoption. The Arizona Humane Society believes there will be some many takers that a ballot will be opened.

Monday 30 April 2012

Dog on the roof

Axel, a cross between a Newfoundland, a Labrador and a Rottweiler spends up to five hours a day perched on rooftops so he can watch his owner, thatcher Richard Haughton, at work. Five-year-old Axel has learned how to climb a ladder to join Mr Haughton, 33, as he lays new thatch on country cottages all over Norfolk.
He balances patiently on the apex of the roof and surveys the local scenery until it is time to go home and he is carried down the ladder on his owner's shoulders.  He weighs 7 and ½ stones!   So quite heavy, but he is very good at balancing, it would appear.
"When he was a little puppy, we had to carry him up the ladder. But he soon learned how to climb up the rungs himself. You just have to be behind him so he has the confidence to get up.”
Mr Haughton was given Axel when he was a puppy by a relative who could no longer look after him as he was doing shift work. He was going to be taken to an animal rescue centre but in the end Mr Haughton decided to keep him. 

Monday 20 February 2012

On leave

I have been in New Zealand for a while and shall resume my blogging activities towards the end of March .  Glorious summer weather here, by the way.  I have seen a few pets and assume most dogs work on farms to round up sheep or cattle.            

Friday 20 January 2012

A real trooper

Sherlock Holmes's dog in Guy Ritchie's movie is called Gladstone and is the victim of Holmes's experiments but Gladstone pulls through every time.  Will he in the next movie?

Monday 16 January 2012

Golden Globe hero

The Artist won the Golden Globe for best comedy at last night’s awards ceremony.  The lead actor, Jean Dujardin,  received the best actor award.  Surely the real star of the film has to be Uggie, the Jack Russell.  Here is what The Washington Post has to say about him.   
“When you look at the character of George Valentin” — a silent-era movie star whose career ends with the arrival of talkies — “he’s selfish, egocentric, proud. He’s mean with his own wife, he’s not a positive character. But the fact is, the dog loves him and follows him during all the movie. What happens is, the audience trusts the dog. We think if the dog loves the guy, the guy has to be a good person.”

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Have a smoke

Cigarette dog

Red Cross dogs

During WWI, vast numbers of dogs were employed as sentries, messengers, ammunition, pigeons and food carrier,  scouts, sled dogs, draught dogs, guard dogs, ambulance dogs, ratters, Red Cross casualty dogs and even cigarette dogs.
It's estimated that Germany alone employed over 30,000 dogs for such purposes and about.20,000 served with the French Army, the Italians fielded 3,000 dogs for the Allies, the British, Belgians and the Russians thousands more!
Many different breeds saw active duty during the war depending on the job at hand. Bulldogs, Bloodhounds, Farm Collies, Retrievers, Dobermans, Airedales, Jack Russell and Wired Fox Terriers, Sheepdogs and German Shepherds were all used in a variety of roles. Purebreds did not have any advantage over mixed breeds.  What was important was that they displayed the proper character, had acute hearing and scent, sagacity, fidelity and a strong sense of duty.
Preferred were dogs of medium build and greyish or black in colour, with good eyesight and a keen sense of smell. But the temperament and disposition of the dog usually came first!
Two of the more unusual dogs that were used during the Great War, were the ratters and the YMCA cigarette dogs. Ratters were the terriers, whose natural instincts helped to keep the rat infested muddy trenches clear.  The small Cigarette Dogs, sponsored by the YMCA, had the task of delivering cartons of cigarettes to the troops, stationed on the front lines.
Thousands of soldiers, on both sides, owe their lives to these remarkable animals.

Monday 9 January 2012

New Year's resolutions

With humans making new resolutions every 12 months to be slimmer, smarter, better and brighter, not to drink cheap wine, read improving books, listen to Wagner, read War & Peace in Russian, is it any wonder their beloved pets are following the trend? What are pets resolving for the New Year?

More play, less work.

Staying fit.

Staying off the furniture, no chewing of legs.

Taking regular naps

Befriending your enemy.