Cacao, the Bus-Riding Dog of Milan

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Cacao, a 16-year-old mixed-breed dog, from Milan, Italy, has become somewhat of a celebrity after he appeared in local papers for his weird habit of taking the bus to his favorite spot in the city.

A true “Milanese”, Cacao knows the city by heart, some would say even better than some of his fellow human inhabitants, and his weekend antics  are clear proof. Almost every day, for the last few years, Cacao leaves his master’s home and heads for the bus stop on Arrgone Bouleverd. There he sits on his backside, alongside the other human commuters, waiting for bus 54. As it approaches the station, he prickles his ears and takes a good look at who’s sitting in the driver’s seat. You see, this four-legged rascal only takes the bus when it’s driven by the driver he’s known since he first started his secret trips. After he makes sure he’s got the right driver, Cacao leaps on the bus and waits quietly until he reaches his destination – Lambrate Station, in north-eastern Milan. You’d think he has a certain reason for taking the bus here, but Cacao just loiters in the public garden for a few hours, then when he’s tired, takes the bus home. Luckily, his old friend the bus driver always ignores regulations, at his own risk, and allows to ride on the bus.

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Phydough – An Ice-Cream Truck for Dogs

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It may not be the first of its kind in the world, but it is the first ice-cream truck for dogs in America, and pooches in the L.A. area have already grown to love it.

Patrick Guilfoyle, the man behind Phydough, came up with the idea of an ice-cream truck for dogs after seeing most dog-food manufacturers thought more about profit than the dogs eating their products. He wanted to bake wholesome, preservative-free cookies for dogs, and by combining his wish with the popular “gourmet truck” trend that’s sweeping the nation, he came up with Phydough – an ice-cream truck offering all kinds of delicious cookies and ice-cream for pooches.

According to the official site, Phydough uses only the finest organic ingredients bought from quality grocers like Whole Foods and local farmers’ markets, so while prices may seem a bit steep, you can rest assured your puppy is eating healthy. A scoop of ice-cream costs around $2.50, and you’ll have to spend $16 for 12 flavored cookies, but your dog will love you more for it.

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Dog Believed to Be Reincarnation of Lawyer Sentenced to Death by Stoning

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A rabbinical court in Jerusalem recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning, after they decided he was the reincarnation of a lawyer who offended the judges 20 years ago.

A few weeks ago, a large dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court, near the ultra orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, scaring away visitors and refusing to leave, even after people tried to drive him away. One of the court’s judges remembered something that occurred 20 years ago – a secular lawyer who had offended the judges was cursed by them to reincarnate in the body of a dog (considered an impure animal by Halacha).

The lawyer in question passed away years ago, but one of the still-offended judges sentenced the poor dog to death by stoning, and ordered the task be carried out by the neighborhood’s children. Either the dog sensed the imminent danger and fled, or it was rescued by an animal lover, what’s important is he managed to escape before the sentence could be carried out.

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Rolex Collar Makes Border Terrier a Real ‘Watchdog’

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I’ve written about pampered pooches before, but border terrier Smike is the only canine I know of who wears a Rolex luxury watch.

Karen Denney, a shop assistant from Crawford, a village close to St. Helens, England, wanted to buy her dog Smike something really special for his seventh birthday, and when she saw a designer collar that included a Rolex watch, she just couldn’t help herself. “Over the years I’ve seen a lot of accessories for cats and dogs but I wanted something a bit different. I wouldn’t usually go for something this flashy but when I saw this design I just had to have one,” Karen said, adding that her beloved Smike has become a local celebrity.

I’m not exactly sure if Smike’s Rolex is genuine, though…According to The Sun it costs £2,500 ($4,130), but MidDay.com reports it’s actually a £200 Rolex replica. Whatever the case, Smike’s ultimate accessory has become an instant hit and Karen gets asked where she got it whenever she takes her border terrier out for a stroll. It was the work of local designer Alisone Jones, who specializes in luxury accessories for pets.

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Corgi-Shaped Wedding Cake Sets World Record

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Award-winning cake designer Michelle Wibowo has created a giant Corgi-shaped cake in celebration of the upcoming royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

120 eggs, 20 kg of dry dog food (liver, chicken and beef), 30 kg of wholemeal flour, 25 cloves of garlic and fish oil were used to create a 68-kg-heavy cake shaped like a Corgi, which was recently acknowledged by Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest dog-friendly cake. Michelle Wibowo spent 111 hours, over a period of three weeks, working on the canine-shaped creation, and said the intricate details of the Corgi’s fur took the longest to do, 16 consecutive hours to be exact.

The nearly six-foot-long, 4-foot-high and three-foot-wide was unveiled on April 15, in London, close to Tower Bridge, where commuters stopped and stared at the largest Corgi they had ever seen. Three real representatives of the breed got to sample the delicious artwork before pieces were handed out to other canines on the premises, who were more than happy to act cannibalistic for once.

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Chinese Animal Lover Adopts 140 Stray Dogs

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Li Zongwen, a former chef from Wuhan, has made online headlines after Chinese media discovered he has taken in 140 stray dogs from the outskirts of the city.

The 59-year-old man began adopting strays from the streets of Wuhan in 2009, and in just two years time he has taken-in an impressive 140 hungry dogs. He put a roof over their heads, but admits he couldn’t afford to feed all of them, without donations from other local animal lovers. Food and rent for Mr. Li and his big family of canines cost around 5,000 yuan ($760) which is way more than he could pay on his own.

Although sharing a home with 140 animals isn’t exactly an easy task, considering the noise he has to put up with at night, and the considerable mess he has to clean up after them, Li Zongwen doesn’t complain. On the contrary, he likes having them around as he prepares a big bowl of dog chow, using a garden shovel, and even eats his own meals in their company. Maybe he should get in touch with Ha Wenjin, the woman who looks after 1,500 stray dogs and 200 cats, I’m sure they have a lot to learn from each other.

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Deaf Puppy Learns Sign Language from Her Deaf Owners

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Everyone knows how important it is for dogs to associate sounds with commands, but Alice, a deaf eight-weeks-old springer spaniel is currently learning sign language commands, from her new owners.

The poor puppy had a rough start in life, after being abandoned by a breeder who decided a dog that couldn’t learn commands wouldn’t bring him any money. When she was brought to The Blue Cross adoption center, Alice was sick, dirty and very nervous, and the staff though they would have a tough time finding a family willing to take in a dog that required lots of special training. But when Marie Williams and her family first laid eyes on the cute canine, they new they had find the pet they were looking for.

Marie fell in love with puppy the moment she saw her, and when she learned she was actually deaf, that just made her even more special in her eyes. Miss Williams and her partner, Mark Morgan, are also deaf, so they knew Alice would fit right in with the family. Now, less the a month after being adopted, the puppy has already learned some basic commands, and her new masters are using sign language to teach her other tricks. ‘Alice is such a loving and responsive dog and she proves that with a bit of time and effort, a deaf dog can be trained and become a wonderful pet,” said Julie Stone, manager of The Blue Cross center.

 

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Scooter-Riding Dog Becomes Internet Sensation

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Norman, a 20-months-old Briard, has become quite the online star, after his owners posted videos of him riding a scooter.

The incredible canine who lives with the Cobb family, in Canton, Georgia, started playing with a razor scooter in the backyard, when he was a pup. Karen Cobb says they saw him playing around with it and decided to give him a ride on it. He seemed to like it, so they tried to teach him to push it on his own. Now, Norman loves riding his favorite toy as often as he can.

Norman is a very clever dog; he got his Companion Dog Title when he was just 15 months old, and is a regular at canine obedience competitions. In fact, the French Briard breed is known for talents like search and rescue, police work, guarding and herding. Throughout history, they’ve been loyal companions to important figures like Napoleon Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson.

After the Cobbs posted videos of him riding around on a scooter, Norman quickly became an Internet sensation and is now one of the most popular friends on Facebook and has made an appearance on Stupid Pet Tricks on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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Actuel Dogs – World’s First Four-Star Hotel for Dogs

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Actuel Dogs bills itself as the first luxury dog hotel in France, and claims its facilities and staff are everything your pooch needs to feel pampered.

Located on the outskirts of Paris, in the chic suburb of Vincennes, this four-star establishment for pets is the brainchild of Devi and Stan Burun, a dog behaviour specialist and a lifelong dog-lover. Unlike similar luxury facilities in the US or Japan, Actuel Dogs tries to cater to dogs’ needs. “It’s not like in the United States or – giving the dogs manicures, dying their fur pink — that’s human madness. Our priority is to meet the dogs’ needs,” Devi says, adding that “people think we serve the dogs’ food from silver platters but this is not pointless, extravagant luxury.”

People who live in small apartments and don’t have the walk or look after their pets, bring them to Actuel Dogs, where they’ll get all the comfort and attention they crave. Here they enjoy a dip in the pool, relaxing massages, fine cuisine meals, calming walks through the nearby woods, and loads of other fun activities. When it’s time for a nap, canines are escorted to one of the hotel’s six rooms, adorned with soft cushions, framed dog prints and LCD Tvs, so they can watch their favorite DVDs.

Before they book their first stay, dogs are evaluated for aggressive behaviour, and if they pass they will enjoy a “concept that is human, but it’s completely adapted to dogs’ needs.” Prices for a day at Actuel Dogs hotel vary between 26 and 35 euros ($36 – $48), but the luxury treatment and the fact that dogs aren’t kept in uncomfortable cages makes owners fork out the cash.

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Dog Lover Spends $160,000 Pampering Her Pooches

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31-year-old Louise Harris has to be one of the craziest dog owners in the world, having spent over $160,000 in the last six years, buying jewelry and accessories for her three pets.

“A lot of people think I’m mad, and I realize it’s completely over the top, but I want to give them the best life I possibly can” says Ms. Harris, who would do practically anything to make her three Yorkshire terriers happy. Six years ago, she fell in love with tiny Lola, who could fit in the palm of her hand, ans immediately started ordering collars and clothing items for her. Since the ones she found in the UK weren’t very comfortable, she started ordering from the United States, and before she realized it, she had bought a whole wardrobe for her beloved dog.

Two years later she bough Lulu, and in 2008 she got Larry, and spared no expense in feeling them like royalty. The spoiled trio only wear collars and tiaras studded with rubies, emeralds and Swarovski crystals, as well as the latest designer accessories, and receive weekly massages and deep coat conditioning treatments. The dogs sleep in a $in a $3,200 four-poster bed and are featured in a commissioned oil painting that cost $8,000.  Oh, and last Christmas they received $6,500 worth of presents.

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Leao – The Dog Who Refuses to Leave His Owner’s Graveside

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A photo of a Brazilian dog siting by his owner’s muddy grave, near Rio de Janeiro, has been circulating around the Internet and touching the hearts of millions. His name is Leao and simply refuses to leave the graveside of his owner Cristina Maria Cesario Santana, who died during the terrible landslides that devastated Brazil, last week. The photos below were taken during the second consecutive day in which Leao sat by his owner’s final resting place, and showing the entire world that loyalty goes way beyond the grave.

These photos of Leao remind me of the true story of Hachiko, another monument of canine loyalty that has inspired Japanese dog lovers for years.

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Canine Helper Actually Works Like a Dog

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Sadie, a four-year-old Terrier-cross has learned to do pretty much everything her paralyzed owner can’t do anymore, including shopping and washing laundry.

Sue Line was paralyzed from the waist down, 40 years ago, after she was thrown from a car during a New Year’s Eve smash. Her family has always been very supportive, always helping her with daily chores, but four years ago she thought about getting a dog, for companionship. She brought Sadie home when she was just a few weeks old, and noticed her intelligence right from the start. But it wasn’t until she received training at dog charity – Dog AID (Assistance in Disability) that Sadie reached her full potential.

In just two years’ time, this amazing canine learned an almost endless list of ways to help her owner and improve her quality of life. When they go shopping together, Sadie always carries the bag, picks up groceries, and even reaches for the money in Sue’s purse, and hands it over to the store clerk. She also fills the washing machine, separating the loads into whites and darks, and locking the machine door before the washing cycle begins. She gets Sue her phone whenever it starts ringing, brings her the mail and even helps her undress.

Ms. Line says the hardest thing to teach Sadie was to ignore the smell of food when they go into restaurants. At first she was drooling all over the place, but after a few training sessions she’s now in complete control. The 61-year-old retired health trust manager, from Coventry, Britain, says Sadie has helped her regain some of her independence and gave her loved ones some time to breath, knowing Sadie’s on the job.

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Border Collie Chaser Learns the Names of 1,022 Toys

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This news probably wouldn’t be that impressive if it was about a parrot, although I’ve never heard of  one that knew the names of over 1,000 toys. And as smart as some people would like to think their dogs are, no one would expect a canine to know this much.

Chaser, a 6-year-old border collie, managed to learn the names of 1,022 different toys, which is more than any other animal has ever learned and around as much as a child around the age of three would be capable of learning.

Interested in how much of a vocabulary the dog would be able to develop, psychologists Allison Reid and John Pilley have worked intensively with Chaser for about three years. And their hard work certainly paid off, as they have proved that talking t your dog is not a waste of time.

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Dog Gives Birth to Seventeen Puppies

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A dog in Germany gained it’s celebrity after giving birth to 17 puppies. Both the owners and the vet were thrilled and amazed by this “numerous” surprise, especially since all the puppies were born naturally, without a cesarean being necessary, and although the birth took almost 26 hours, all puppies have survived and are in good health.

Ramona Wegemann, Etana’s owner is very proud of her dog, a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback, but non the less exhausted after having to cope with feeding and taking care of all the 17 puppies for the first 4 weeks, as their mother wouldn’t have been able to deal with all of them.

This was Etana’s second pregnancy, but the first time she gave birth to 8 puppies, a number very common for her breed, so nobody really saw this coming. As this has turned into a full time job, both Ramona and her husband have had to dedicate most of their time, and space, to these little ones. Their living room was turned upside down as it is now occupied by a giant box housing the puppies. It’s really a full time job,

Etana has given birth to 9 male and 8 female puppies, and as you can imagine, their owners are having a difficult time telling them apart: the male puppies are called Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton and Bulus and the female ones are Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, Bisa. These are all African names, because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an African breed, but…do all African names start with a “B” or is this a real weird coincidence?

The 17 puppies were born on September 26, and since then four of them have been sold, two more are already paid for, and Ramona hopes she will be able to find good homes for all of them. But she says they are only considering families with children, not breeders.

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Dog Cinema Lets You Take Your Pooch to the Movies

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Vienna’s Admiral Cinema has opened its doors to man’s best friend, through a once-a-month “Doggy Day Promotion” that lets dog owners take their pets with them, to the movies.

In order to lure people away from the Lugner City Kino multiplex that opened nearby, the 90-year-old Admiral Cinema decided to become more appealing to dog owners, by allowing them to bring their pets inside the cinema. That may seem a little extreme, but it might just pay off, considering many dog lovers don’t go anywhere without their pampered pooches.

Once a month, dogs get free admission inside the cinema, as well as soft seat blankets, fresh water and tasty treats, including popcorn and mince pies. As far as the actual movie presentation is concerned, the only real difference from a normal movie is that the volume is turned down a bit, as not to hurt animals’ ears. While all the dogs seem interested in the movie, it just takes one of them to bark and they all join in. That’s when the real show starts.

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