Tag Archives: book

Chaser

I haven’t yet read the book by John Pilley about his dog, Chaser, who has been trained to understand over 1,000 words.  However, this YouTube clip gives an introduction to Chaser’s genius:

Have you read Chaser’s story?

Using the internet to share information about dogs

The internet is now the preferred resource for dog owners looking for information.  But did you realize the creative ways people are using the medium?

Here are two of my favorites:

a)  Hope for Paws, a charitable organization involved in animal rescue, has compiled beautiful photos of their rescue dogs into a book.   With every download of the book, Hope for Paws earns 10 cents.  It all adds up.  Why not click today?

b)  Author Colleen MacDougall is publishing the first ten chapters of her book,  The Patron Saint of Dogs, online – one chapter at a time.  I’m really enjoying reading the book and can’t wait for the email that lets me know another chapter is ready for reading.  You can visit Colleen’s website here to join her mailing list.

Pets’ Letters to God – recommended read

Pets' Letters to God

This little gift book is an ‘oldie but a goodie.’  Published in 1999 for Hallmark Cards, you can easily find this small, hardcover book in good condition in used book shops (a favourite haunt of most of my family and some friends) and of course online through used book sellers.

I think this book is particularly appropriate at this time of year, as the glow of the Christmas holiday period fades into the past fairly quickly and we return to work, with all of the stresses of commitments and demands on our time.

This book will give you heart! 

It looks at the major questions that our pets want have to ask God (in English, so we can understand)

Here are just a few of my favourite doggy letters:

Dear God,

Must I bark, or can you hear my thoughts?  – Flo-jo

—————————–

Dear God,

When I get to Heaven, can I play Frisbee with my halo? – Nicky

——————————

Dear God,

Is it true that in purgatory there are 10 million cashmere sofas with porcupines sleeping on them? – Shannon

Marilyn Monroe and her dogs

Over the course of her life, Marilyn Monroe owned a number of dogs.

A black and white mixed breed by the name of Tippy was given to then Normal Jean by her foster father.

A spaniel named Ruffles was an early companion around 1940-1942.

Her husband Jim Dougherty bought her a collie named Muggsie.

Around about the time that she was signed by Columbia Pictures in 1948, Marilyn reportedly owned a chihuahua but I can’t find a record of the name.

During her marriage to Arthur Miller, a basset hound named Hugo was their companion.  Miller retained ownership of Hugo when the couple divorced.

Marilyn Monroe and Maf, photo attributed to Eric Skipsey

Maf was a maltese given to Marilyn by Frank Sinatra.  The dog’s full name was Mafia Honey in honour of Sinatra’s alleged mafia connections.  When Marilyn died, the dog was given to Sinatra’s secretary.

In 2010, author Andrew O’Hagan documented Maf’s story in a book The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe.  Written from Maf’s point of view, we read about Marilyn’s last two years  (she took the dog to Hollywood, New York and to Mexico).

One of Maf’s comments: “I mean, if you have to pee you have to pee and why not next to the swimming pool at the Chateau Marmont, right?”

A lot has been written about Marilyn and her all-too-short life.  What a nicer way to picture the actress than through her dog?  (Dogs don’t lie and they don’t tell tails – oops I mean tales)

May I pet your dog?

I love walking Daisy in our neighbourhood and taking her to local parks, particularly our dog parks.  And what I really appreciate is when a child or adult approaches us and asks, “May I pet your dog?”

I always praise a child who asks me before touching Daisy, “Thanks for asking and yes – she’s very friendly.”  Teaching children how to approach a dog is a very important life skill.  A dog who isn’t friendly, or who has sore spots, may bite someone who touches it.  In addition, a child is on eye-level with a dog and so they can inadvertently challenge the dog with direct eye contact and – in the dog’s view – a too aggressive approach.

Daisy loves being petted anywhere on her body but,  generally, it is useful to teach children to pet a dog over its shoulder area and then with long, slow strokes down the body.  An approach to the head (at least initially) can be too much for some dogs.

Other key points:

#1 – Allow the dog to approach you, not the other way around.  Stand still and look down (away from the dog) which is less challenging to the dog. Let your hands fall loosely to the sides of your body with open palms and relaxed fingers.

#2 -  Let the dog sniff you.  This is its way of taking in information about you (remember that a dog has 250 million scent receptors in its nose and it can take in scents from a greater distance than we can).

#3 – Don’t reach for the dog or bend over it.  These motions are too aggressive for most dogs and even reserved or shy dogs may react.

#4 Respect the dog’s wishes if it doesn’t approach to interact with you or your child or shows signs of stress.

#5 For small dog owners, I generally advise  against holding your dog in your lap.  The dog will naturally have more of a protective instinct in this position, guarding you against harm, and feeling also that it is ‘trapped’ if it doesn’t like the person that is approaching.

#6  Watch the mouth!  A dog who licks its lips, pants a lot or yawns a lot is showing signs of discomfort.

#7  If your dog is going to have small children in its life, you can de-sensitise it by getting it used to having its ears, face and tail touched.  Regardless of how much we train people to avoid these areas with ‘strange’ dogs, these are naturally parts of the dog’s body that people are attracted to.

#8  Be prepared to accept a ‘no’ answer from the dog’s owner.  The owner knows their dog the best and there may be reasons for their refusal – some dog owners are more willing to share these reasons with others as part of saying no, others not.

If you have a child in your life that is simply dog-crazy, then here’s a picture book that will teach them the essential skills in approaching a new dog.  It’s May I Pet Your Dog?  The How-To Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids) by Stephanie Calmenson.  Another book to add to your Christmas shopping list!

Using Harry the Dachshund, this book shows your child the ‘right’ way to approach a dog.

In Defence of Dogs

John Bradshaw, in his book In Defence of Dogs, explains that most dogs today live in urban environments where they are “expected to be simultaneously better behaved than the average human child and as self-reliant as an adult.”  Yet, many dogs still retain their natural traits such as herding instinct which are viewed as ‘problematic.’

Add on top of this the popularity of dog trainers who insist on the theory of dominance, and Mr Bradshaw says that our dogs are in crisis and need our support.

Mr Bradshaw’s book is about breaking down misconceptions.  He says in his Introduction, “We must strive to better understand their needs and their nature if their niche in human society is not to diminish.”

Mr Bradshaw is a passionate supporter of dogs and his book demonstrates his beliefs clearly.   If you are a dog owner who is concerned about the increasing restrictions on dogs in our modern, living environments or you are simply open-minded enough to explore other ways of looking at canine behaviour,  then this book is for you!

Earthquake stories

I have decided to re-launch my book project about the stories of dogs and their owners before, during and after the Christchurch/Canterbury earthquakes.  I started collecting stories after the 4 September 2010 earthquake but did not make my goal of 50 stories.

The 22 February 2011 earthquake, in a perverse way, has created an opportunity for me to collect more stories.

I’m looking for all sorts of stories from owners :

  • dogs that sensed something before the event
  • dogs that provided comfort to family and friends
  • dogs that went missing during the earthquake event
  • owners facing re-homing and temporary placement of dogs because of earthquake damage

Send stories and photos and your contact details to me at info@caninecatering.co.nz

There’s more information about my book project in this media release.

On the subject of earthquake stories, Tim Cronshaw has covered the wonderful story of vet Kirsten Wylie who was in the middle of surgery on a dachshund named Jonah during the 22 February quake.  Read his story here.