China’s Bizarre Pet Craze – Puppies Painted with Toxic Varnish to Make Them Look Like Unique Breeds

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In 2010, the Year of the Tiger,  a series of pictures showing orange puppies with black stripes caused controversy in China after they were posted online. Hoping to make a profit off them, some vendors had started selling striped dogs under the false pretense that they were a new breed.  At the time, everybody questioned the authenticity of those photos, not knowing if they were photoshopped, if the puppies where genetically altered or simply painted, but now everyone knows the truth. These are “one week puppies” a name that hints at their short life expectancy due to the toxicity of the varnish they are painted with. Believe it or not, they are still very popular in China.

It seems making your canine companion look like other animals using toxic varnish has become very popular in China. Pandas and tigers are especially sought after and dogs resembling these animals have been showing up in every city. “I have seen this kind of dog more than once in China, once in ZhuHai last fall and then in the city of Guangzhou. Both times the dogs were for sale from a street vendor, they were not all the same color, but they were all striped. The only thing I can think is that the stripes are spray painted on,” a woman wrote on a forum. The coloring process used in the case of the “Bengal dogs” (tiger-skinned dogs) must have required some powerful chemicals as the people curious enough to buy a striped individual reported that the dog was very ill. “I recently bought one of these dogs in Beijing China,” another person wrote . “I got it home and it was very dehydrated. I took it to the vet today and they confirmed that its hair had been dyed. It is a black dog, that gets to be about medium size. They dye the orange part, that’s why the orange is never around the eyes, or nose, and the stripes are so uniform. The vet stated that the dye would wear off in about 2 months, and that the dog would be healthy unless we continued to dye the dog,” he detailed.

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Dog Lover Will Live in Animal Shelter for 35 Days to Highlight the Plight of Abandoned Pets

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Sean Le Vegan, a dog lover from Manchester, England, will spend over a month in an animal shelter enclosure  to raise awareness about the plight of stray dogs and encourage people to adopt rather than buy canine pets.

Sean, a 35-year-old web-designer and volunteer at the Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home, believes spending 35 days and nights in a cage is a good way to attract attention to the hideous plight of homeless dogs. It’s also a great way to raise some much-needed funds for the dog shelter, as he plans to broadcast his challenge on the internet with webcams and charge £5 ($7.50) per subscription. People will be able to watch a human living a dog’s life and Le Vagan plans to offer them a realistic experience. 35 days is the average stay for a dog at the Manchester-based animal shelter. Just like the canines brought here, Sean won’t eat anything for the first four days and will have to make do with just water and a blanket. After that he will be feasting on vegetarian dog food throughout the whole event. He will only be allowed one hour of freedom per day, to use the toilet and freshen up. To make his experience even more authentic, he even had a chip implanted in his shoulder which  is hooked up to the dog-care database.

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Spanish Town Mails Dog Poo Back to Their Owners

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Sick of having to clean up after irresponsible dog owners, authorities in Brunete, a small town 20 miles west of Madrid, came up with an ingenious way to keep the streets clean. They started sending the dog poo back to their owners in boxes marked “Lost Property”.

The council of Brunete had not approved a budget for the original street cleaning campaign, but advertising agency McCann was willing to do all the work for free. During the course of a week, more than a dozen volunteers patrolled the streets keeping an eye out for owners who didn’t clean up after their pets. As soon as they spotted an offender, they approached them and sparked up a conversation about their dog, trying to find out its name and breed. “With the name of the dog and the breed it was possible to identify the owner from the registered pet database held in the town hall,” a spokesman of the town council explained. As soon as the owner left, the volunteers picked up the poo and packaged them in cardboard boxes branded with the town hall insignia and marked as “Lost Property”. The smelly packages were then delivered by courier to the pet owners homes, along with a fine warning.

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Bizarre Dog-Spinning Ritual Believed to Ward off Rabies

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When we were kids, we played this game where we would twist a pencil innumerable times into a loop of thread and then let it go, watching with fascination as it spun around at top speed. It was a fun game, but I never imagined that somewhere in the world, the same thing was being done to living creatures.

Brodilovo is a small, remote village in the South-Eastern part of Bulgaria. Here, villagers are so afraid of rabies that they have a centuries-old tradition to ward off the disease. The bizarre ritual involves the spinning of dogs, just like the pencil game, on a rope, hanging over a small stream. It is practiced once a year and is believed to help keep rabies at bay. The process that the dog is put through is quite enough to give animal rights activists nightmares. Dogs are twisted in a rope that is stretched out tautly over, and are then let go. The dogs spin out of control and then tumble into the water below. Since they reach very high speeds, they are often unable to swim when they hit the water. A net is held at the bottom for the animal to fall into, and then helped out of the water.

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Portland Dog Kissing Contest Will Leave a Bad Taste in Your Mouth

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They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s but is that any reason to actually kiss your canine, even if it’s on Valentine’s Day? The answer is “YES”, at least according to participants at a dog kissing contest in Portland, Maine.

The 9th Annual Valentine’s Day Dog Kissing Contest took place yesterday, at the Planet Dog Company Store in Portland, and yes, there was a lot of face licking going on. The rules of the adorable/disgusting competition are pretty simple. Owners let their canine pets lick their faces – yes, that includes their lips – and the longest cross-species kiss is declared the winner. The big prize for first place? A $75 gift certificate to the Planet Dog store. So it’s safe to say people who enter the dog kissing contest don’t do it for the money, considering everyone actually has to pay a $5 entrance fee. It’s probably just a great opportunity to show off their dog’s affection or maybe it’s to be part of a charity event (all the proceeds go to the Planet Dog Foundation). If you’re easily grossed out about mouth-to-snout smooching, I recommend you don’t watch the video at the bottom.

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Chinese Grandma Spends All Her Life Savings Taking Care of Stray Dogs and Cats

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Grandma Bai, a 64-year-old animal lover from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 15 years taking care of stray dogs and cats, and has exhausted all her life savings in the process.

American humorists Josh Billings once said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”, and we’ve featured a few heartbreaking stories that prove this to be right. Remember Capitan, the German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave six years after he died, or Ciccio, the faithful dog who attends the daily Mass at the church where his master used to go? I’ve written a lot of impressive stories about dogs’ loyalty and love even beyond the grave, so it’s always nice to see some humans showing them some kindness in return. Case in point, Grandma Bai, a native of Leshan, China, who has spent all her savings and the last 15 years of her life taking care of over 100 stray dogs and 30 cats. Her love for these abandoned creatures and the sacrifices she has had to make have melted the hearts of millions, since the story broke out in China.

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Dog Attends Daily Mass at Church Where Dead Owner Used to Go

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Ciccio, a 12-year-old German shepherd, whose owner passed away two months ago, visits the church she used to frequent and where her funeral was celebrated, patiently waiting for her to return.

The people attending the church of Santa Maria Assunta in San Donaci, Italy have received a lesson in love and loyalty from a dog that for the past two months has been coming in for the daily mass, hoping his beloved owner would return. Local Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, had adopted Ciccio years ago, after she found him abandoned in the fields near her home. She was an animal lover who had taken in several stray cats and dogs, but her connection with Ciccio was special. Apparently he felt the same way, as even though Maria died two months ago, the dog keeps coming back to the place he last saw her. She would walk with him to the church, for the daily Mass, and the priest would allow him to wait patiently at her feet. He was even there with Maria’s loved ones at her funeral. But Ciccio seems to have a tough time letting go, and he comes back into the church each day, as soon as he hears the bells calling in the faithful for the Holy Mass. He just sits by the side of the altar, quietly, hoping Maria will come back…

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Milagros Caninos – A Haven for Mexico’s Disabled and Tortured Dogs

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Milagros Caninos, or Miracle Dogs, is a very special canine shelter in Mexico City. For years it has been a true paradise for dogs suffering from terminal illnesses, are blind, paralyzed or have been tortured and abandoned on the streets of Mexico’s capital.

Patricia Ruiz, the founder of Milagros Caninos lost her pet dachshund, Clavo (Spanish for “Nail”) in 2004. She knew the meaning of his life – to love her and her family, to play with her children, to bring joy to their lives – but she couldn’t understand the meaning of his death. Like she would have done for any lost member of the family, Patricia posted a eulogy in the newspaper as a symbol of the love and respect she had for Clavo. After that, she started getting all these emails from like-minded people, who shared her pain at the loss of their four-legged companions, and that motivated her to become involved in rescuing animals. She first rescued one dog, then another, and so on, to the point where she needed a place to keep them all. Her eyes and ears were always focused on pain, so she ended up with a number of animals suffering from severe illnesses like cancer, were paralyzed, or had been tortured or drugged by humans who didn’t share her compassion. So she founded Milagros Caninos, a haven for dogs in extreme situations, in need of special care and attention. That’s when she understood the meaning of Clavo’s passing…

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Overtoun Bridge – Scotland’s Mysterious Canine Suicide Spot

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There are some things in this world that are simply beyond explanation. Like the fact that in the past 50 years, about 50 dogs have jumped to their deaths from the exact same spot on the 100-year-old Overtoun Bridge in Milton, near Dumbarton, Scotland. In 2005, five dogs had jumped in a span of just 6 months. The canine suicide spot is located between the last two parapets on the right-hand side of the bridge, which is where all the dogs took the fatal leap. And to add to the strangeness, almost all the incidents have taken place on clear, sunny days, the dogs always being long-nosed breeds – collies, retrievers and labs.

The situation, according to the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is a ‘heartbreaking mystery’. “There are lots of owners whose dogs have died and who are trying to find out why they jumped,” the Society says. One of the victims on the bridge was collie dog Ben, who leaped to his death in 1995 while taking a walk with his owner Donna Cooper, her husband, and her son, Callum. Without any warning, Ben just leapt over the parapet and landed on the rocks below after a 50ft fall. Suffering a broken paw, back and jaw, the vet decided that it wasn’t worth putting him through the pain. “Callum still asks about Ben. He was very upset by the dog’s death and wants to know if his leg has been fixed in heaven,” said Cooper, a year after Ben’s death. The case of golden retriever Hendrix was pretty much similar, although she got very lucky. Kenneth Meikle, her owner, said, “I was out walking with my partner and children when suddenly the dog just jumped. My daughter screamed, and I ran down the bank to where the dog lay and carried her up to safety. Next day, thank goodness, she was fine. We were lucky because she landed on a moss bed which broke her fall.”

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Israeli Artist Upcycles Bicycle Chains into Intricate Dog Sculptures

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Israel-based artist Nirit Levav has found a way to create beautiful art an recycle metal, at the same time. She uses discarded bicycle chains to create realistic sculptures of man’s best friend.

Nirit Levav Packer graduated from the Parsons School of Design, in New York City, with a degree in fashion design. She built a career for herself, specializing in bridal gowns, but after years of working in the fashion industry, Nirit realized she couldn’t satisfied her artistic urge to create solely as a designer. so she started broadening her education by studying iron sculpting, pottery, jewelry and ceramics. Although her newly acquired skills helped develop as an artist, it was at her father’s theater sets workshops that she most of her training, including welding, metal cutting and experimenting with various materials and substances. The time spent in her father’s workshop also inspired her love for recycling, as nothing was ever thrown away there and everything could be used to create something new.

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Broken-Hearted Dog Stands Guard over Dead Mate’s Body for over a Week

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Even in the animal kingdom, the loss of a loved-one isn’t easy, and this grieving dog, on the outskirts of Filippovka, a village in Russia’s Perm region, is proof of that.

His mate had been by a car while trying to cross the road, over seven days ago, but he’s still standing guard over her body, hoping she will wake up. Eye-witnesses say the dog dragged his mate from the road right after she was hit and hasn’t left her side since. He kept trying to move her with his paws and keep her warm with his own body, and the story of his loyalty spread among the locals in just a few days. Children and even adults who passed by and heard his heartbreaking whines and howls, and saw him standing guard over her body often broke into tears. “It’s very sad. He won’t let anyone near her and he keeps trying to warm her up with his own body”, a local said.

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Share a Table with Your Pooch at Deco’s Dog Café

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Animal cafes, places where you can enjoy a nice drink surrounded by animals, have become really popular in Asia, but Deco’s Dog Cafe takes things to a whole new level by allowing pet owners to share a gourmet meal with their pooches.

Even if they don’t have the time or space to take care of a pet, people seem to enjoy spending time around animals, so cat cafes, dog cafes, and even reptile cafes have become popular venues in Asia. But when Hideko Notani opened Deco’s Dog Cafe, in 2001, she wanted to create more than just a place where people could relax surrounded by pooches. She envisioned a cafe where dogs would be in charge instead of their owners, where they would be treated to gourmet meals very similar to those eaten by their human masters. The special menu includes human and canine versions of fine dishes like cabbage rolls, sweet potato scones and chicken pie, but  no one’s stopping owners from sharing the food with their dogs.

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Faithful Dog Refuses to Leave Graveside of Owner Who Died Six Years Ago

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Capitán, a dog who has remained by his deceased owner’s graveside for the last six years, proves an animal’s love and loyalty transcend the boundaries of life and death. Although he still has a family to go back to, the canine simply refuses to leave his master’s side.

Dogs’ devotion to their human owners never ceases to amaze me. In early 2011, when Brazil was devastated by floods and landslides, we posted the story of Leao, who made international headlines when photos of him lying next to his deceased master’s grave went viral. Later that year there was the story of a Chinese dog who wouldn’t leave his owner’s graveside even when other villagers tried to feed him, and today I came across another heartbreaking tale of canine loyalty. Capitán, a German shepherd from the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz Cordoba, has chosen to remain close to his master, even though he died over six years ago. The man’s wife told La Voz that Capitán disappeared from their home soon after her husband died, and after searching for him, she and her son believed he was either killed by a car or adopted by another family. But when they went to visit her husband at the cemetery, there was Capitán. They couldn’t explain how he had managed to locate the right grave, but there he was, by his master’s graveside.

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TreT – The Amazing Parkour Dog from Ukraine

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Parkour is cool when performed by humans, but when it’s a dog that doing the stunts, it’s simply amazing.  TreT, a 5-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier from the Ukraine jumps over railings, climbs walls and sprints, proving he’s a Pakour master on four legs.

TreT is one of only two known Parkour dogs around the world. His owner, Evgeny Elchaninov, says he knew nothing about the other dog from Hawaii when they started training, and that TreT’s moves are much more spectacular, anyway. The young man from western Ukraine used to practice Parkour himself, until a bad knee injury ruined his career, Suddenly he had to give up his biggest passion in life, but his unfulfilled dreams reincarnated in his six-months old dog, who loved to run and jump. He began training TreT in the art of Parkour, both in urban landscapes and at historic landmarks, and posted videos of his amazing stunts online. Now the pooch is a true Internet celebrity.

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The Dog Cafe – South Korea’s Answer to Japan’s Popular Cat Cafes

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There’s a place in South Korea where you can relax by bonding with about twenty dogs of different breeds and sizes, all vying for human attention. It’s called the Dog Cafe and it’s awesome!

If you haven’t yet heard about Japan’s famous cat cafes, they’re venues where stressed businessmen go to relax by surrounding themselves with dozens of purring felines. Cats are very popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, but the concept has been adopted by other Asian countries and recently, even Austria. But animal lovers in the South Korean city of Busan decided to take a different approach and opened a dog cafe, where visitors can surround themselves with furry canines who love human attention. According to Jürgen and Mike, from for91Days.com, Busan is a busy place, with tiny apartments where owning a dog can be considered a luxury, so a place like the Dog Cafe was just what the city needed.

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