Don't leave Fido unattendedThe American Kennel Club made news this week with its report of increased rates of dog theft. If you leave Sam the Retriever tied to a tree while you run in for a latte, there is now a 32% greater chance that he’ll be missing when you return. Dogs have also been reportedly nabbed from yards, cars, and houses.

The AKC reports that dogs are stolen for a variety of reasons including resale and an aversion to paying an adoption fee. As most dog owners can tell you, whatever price you pay for your new best friend is just the downpayment. The ASPCA estimates the cost of down ownership from $580 to $875 a year with large dogs requiring more food and medical care. If you can’t pay the adoption fee, do yourself a favor and adopt a Chia Pet instead.

See the AKC link below for how to protect your pet.


Elliott Erwitt Instagram Tribute

Elliott Erwitt was a advertising and documentary photographer. He was known for his ability to coax oddity from the human condition in an uncritical manner which fostered wide appeal.

Some of his most iconic photographs featured dogs and their owners. He could wait patiently for that moment when dog and owner shared that proverbial look, that similarity between dog and owner. He was particularly fond of jumping dogs.

In conjunction with a retrospective in New York City, NPR asked its Instagram followers to tag their dogs. They posted the result in this slide show called Dogs In Flight.

GOP debate bell vexes dogs across America

Dog bellAs first reported by WaPo’s Mike Rosenwald, the bell used during the GOP debates on August 11 was the same one many Americans employ as a door bell causing dogs across the nation to lose it like Rick Santorum on a Log Cabin Republicans’ cruise. As Rosenwald noted, “Twitter is filling up with tweets about dogs similarly losing their minds.”

At the Where’s Pom house, we have no doorbell, but the Pom has been known to freak out at barking dogs, Marcus Bachmann, and random noises generated by the television.


Breedbreakdown helps you find your next dog

Bulldog image from breedbreakdownThe Breed Breakdown can help you choose your next dog. Select the attributes you’re most interested in, and the pages of tiles shuffles to help you make your choice. Want a medium size dog that is difficult to train but “decent” at keeping intruders from stealing your electronics, then you need a bulldog, my friend.




Sora and the iPhone App

Sora can balance items on her headAt Where’s Pom, we can’t resist any story featuring a dog with special talents. The Instagram user community recently attracted our attention with the story of user @umetaturou’s border collie, Sora, who has attracted a following with her ability to balance objects on her head. She has even inspired other users to create artwork of her. Check out his photos.

If you have an iPhone, consider downloading the Instagram app. It’s a free, fun way to style and share photos. For the latest Instagram news, visit their blog.

Domestic Foxes In Boxes (From Russia With Love)

Dogs are humanity’s oldest friend. For tens of thousands of years, they’ve helped us hunt, helped guard the home and helped keep us warm at night. There’s little doubt that tens of thousands of years ago, grey wolves became domesticated dogs. The question is how?

According to one narrative, grey wolves circled neolithic camp fires in search of food. Humans selectively fed and bred the tamest among them. Over time, Canis lupus evolved into Canis lupus familiaris –– the domestic dog.

In the late 1950s, a Soviet scientist sought to test this theory. Dmitry Belyaev attempted to re-enact the selective process through which dogs evolved. He used silver foxes. Belyaev selectively bred 35 generations over 40 years based solely on their friendliness to humans.

Over time, the foxes developed traits that we associate with domestic dogs. They developed floppy ears, curly tails and spotted coats. These traits developed even though they weren’t selected by researchers. Remember, they were just breeding for friendliness.

The path to floppy-eared foxes was long and arduous. Researchers worked tirelessly over forty years to achieve a substantial population of domestic foxes. Belyaev concluded that neolithic man could not have reproduce his experiment under primitive conditions. Instead he reached another conclusion: dogs selected themselves.

The wolves that possessed the traits Belyaev selected in foxes were probably the ones most likely to approach the camp fire. Generations of selective breeding produced packs that were likely to follow humans as they traveled in search of food. As they became domesticated, human selection started to accelerate the process.

The legacies of Belyaev’s experiment are now available in the US as pets. SIBFOX is a Las Vegas distributor of Siberian domestic foxes in America. Where’s Pom? doesn’t know enough about the company to endorse the business but we did want to make our readers aware of it.

Therapy dog helps victims testify

Rosie the service dogThe tennis club we frequent has its own dog — an easy-going Golden Retriever named Massie — one of four dogs the club’s proprietor owns. As anyone who plays tennis already knows, the game can be a frustrating endeavor that makes you wonder why you play. Enter Massie. She’s a calming presence seeking a quick pet as soon as you come off the court regardless of how you played. Getting ready for a big match? Give her a hug before stepping on the court, and you’ll instantly feel better.

It’s no surprise that dogs are frequently enlisted to sooth frayed nerves. They’re masters at reading human behavior. Rosie (pictured right), a seemingly easy-going Golden Retriever, is the first judicially approved courtroom dog in New York. She is frequently employed to relieve the stress of witnesses testifying even gently nudging them toward the witness stand as she did recently in the case of a 15-year old girl who testified against her father for raping and impregnating her. The father was convicted.

Attorneys for this defendent argued that the dog’s presence in the courtroom tainted the jury who handed down the conviction as the NY Times reported: “Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not.”

It’s worth noting that service dogs like Rosie are frequently used to calm witnesses who are also children. The prosecution compares them to toys like teddy bears, which children are allowed to hold during testimony.

Lawyers in the above case are preparing an appeal while acknowledging the risk of appearing anti-dog. The Times noted, “Rosie, they wrote, “is a lovely creature and by all standards a ‘good dog,’ ” and, they added, the defendant “wishes her only the best.” The case could set precedent for how other service dogs are used in courtrooms.

Rosie, named for Rosa Parks, was trained by Dale and Lu Picard, of  Educated Canines Assisting With Disabilities, or ECAD, who noticed her special abilities with emotionally troubled children.

Read more: [NY Times] [Gothamist] [ECAD]

Dog Years

It’s generally assume that dogs mature faster than humans. As a result, some humans try to interpret dog years on a linear human scale. According to this convention, a dog ages seven years for each human one.

Pets/WebMD takes a more nuanced approach. It assigns more human years at the beginning of a dog’s life then adds diminishing amounts near the back end. By this method, a one year old puppy is a teenager and a seven year old dog is middle aged. This tells us that Pets/WebMD has never met a seven year old dog.

Others prefer to place dog years on logarithmic scales. (They’re called nerds).

My formula works this way: for each year your dog has been alive, that’s how old he is. Pommie Jones has been with us three years, that means he three. He’s not 21; he’s not 28; and he’s certainly not whatever the nerds at San Jose State think he is. A dog may mature more quickly than a human, but he spins around the earth at the exact same pace.

Sammi Earns Her Keep

Our friends Kim and Stick have a border collie. No matter how many times they toss a ball, he brings it back. Stick could throw his arm out of its socket and the collie would bring it back. The city council in Elmira, NY decided to use this trait in Border Collies to its advantage.

The city has a ring-billed gull problem. The little devils are every where. Some regard them as a pest because they’ll steal unguarded food on crowded beaches. Then there’s the poop issue but we won’t get into that…

The Elmira city council voted to accept the services of a border collie from the local shelter. It’s a seven year old female named Sammi. Her job is to harass gulls. Because of their herding instinct, border collies don’t hurt the birds. They try to herd them. Of course a bird doesn’t know it’s being herded. As far as its concerned, the collie is attacking. Elmira hopes Sammi does her job so effectively, they just go somewhere else.

If she’s successful, Sammi will save the city $4000.00 a year on its USDA contract for gull control. Under the agreement, Sammi will remain under the care of the kennel but the city is responsible for her medical bills.  So where will all those gulls go? My guess is a town without border collies….


Detroit Area Strip Club Owner Faces Jail … Over Dog Toys

A Detroit area strip club owner faces prison … over dog toys. Nicholas Faranso pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges after he claimed dog toys as tax deductions. Faranso labeled them “fetish toys” on his tax return and claimed they were used inside his strip clubs. Prosecutors said, “Mmmmkay” and charged him with  conspiracy. But that’s not all. Faranso skimmed money from his clubs to pay vet bills and buy his dog Pebbles an invisible fence.

Prosecutors asked for a forty-six month sentence. The judge will consider that next week at his sentencing.

[CT Post]