Since 1999, The Laurel Canyon Animal Company has been producing music exclusively for animals – particularly dogs. The Los Angeles company regularly collaborates with animal communication experts and even psychics to get dogs directly involved in the music making process and the tunes they release are all chosen by the animals.
“We’ll take whatever the dog says and turn it into a song,” said co-founder Skip Haynes. “We’re probably the only people in the world to involve animals in the creative musical process. We’re trying to create a bridge between animals and human beings using music, because that’s what we do.”
“Each CD we produce is devoted to a particular kind of animal or species. Each track is devoted to a unique concern, situation, or shared experience of the people who love those animals or the animals themselves. We utilize the writing, production, and conceptual talents of animal loving writers, producers, artists, communicators, musicians, poets – and of course, animals from all over the world.”
All the albums that Laurel Canyon has produced so far are listed on their website, Petcds.com, along with sample clips from various songs. Their latest release, titled I’m Here For You, is a collaboration between the company, animal communicator Paula Brown, and a therapy dog named Surf Dog Ricochet. According to the website, they used Paula’s “reading” of Ricochet to create a song and played it back to the dog. “Based on the dog’s responses to the song as translated by Paula, the final adjusted song was finished utilizing the talents of vocalist Donna Delory, also approved by Ricochet.”
Bring an Animal Home for the Holidays is a seven-track album they created for Christmas, with tracks such as ‘Holiday Bark’, ‘Jingle Fish’, ‘Squeaky Christmas’, and ‘Animal Holiday’. Their album for cats, titled Cat-a-Tonic, includes tracks like ‘Litterbox Boogie’, ‘It’s All About Me-ow’, and ‘Cat O’Nine Tails’. They also released a CD called Music from the Pink Dolphins, to raise awareness and funds for the protection of rare Pink River Dolphins. And for gorilla lovers, they have a CD titled Koko – Fine Animal Gorilla.
Photo: Skyp Haynes
Although they make music for about about several species, dogs remain a favorite at Laurel Canyon Records. In fact, their very first CD, titled Ugly Dogs Need More Love, was about dogs. “So, you know, basically we did songs to make dogs happy. When it was played over the radio, thousands of dogs responded to it and it just turned into this phenomenon. Most people would call this kids music, but it’s not, it’s much, much deeper,” Haynes said.
Lauren Canyon likes to incorporate the experience of living with dogs right into their songs. Their 2012 album, It’s All Right if My Dog Sleeps on the Bed All Night With Me, is based on real dog owners who actually sleep with their dogs. “Based on our research over the past 12 years, it’s the No. 1 question that all dog owners face sooner or later – should I, or should I not, let my dog sleep in bet with me?” Haynes said. “It’s a subject that dog lovers everywhere have very strong feelings about, and one that listeners (who own dogs) respond to vigorously.”
Photo: video caption
Squeaky Deaky, one of their most popular dog tracks, was created in collaboration with animal communicator Dr. Kim Ogden-Avrutik. She put focus groups together during which she questioned over 200 dogs on their taste in music. She also played different kinds of music to these dogs, all the while noting down what they liked and didn’t like. The company eventually developed Squeaky Deaky, based on the dogs’ responses.
“Everything we’re doing here and everything we’re talking about is to try to convince people that’s not just a dog, that’s not just a piece of property,” Haynes explained. “It’s a living being that probably has something they could tell you. So it’s very important to us to try to get this message out, to make people think. You know, there’s a possibility.”