Artist Writes Detailed Portraits of Dogs

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Florida-based artist Stephen Kline has created a new artistic technique that allows him to draw detailed portraits of dogs, using only text. For example he can draw the portrait of a poodle just by writing the word ‘poodle’ a few hundred times. You’d think writing the same  word so many times would eventually get boring even for the most patient artist, but Stephen has so far created hundreds of these brilliant litographs of every dog breed you can think of.

Stephen Kline introduced his Lines of Language technique in 1999, and since then he’s gained thousands of art-collecting fans from 20 different countries and every state in the US. His litographs have so far generated tens of thousands of dollars for dog rescue centers around the world.

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The Subway-Riding Dogs of Moscow

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Everyone knows dogs are some of the most intelligent animals on Earth, but the stray canines in Moscow have really impressed scientists with their metro-riding routines. Every day, the dogs living on the outskirts of Russia’s capital jump on the tube all the way to the city center, the best place to scavenge for foods.

During the soviet era, dogs weren’t allowed into subway stations, and since restaurants and fast-food stands were scarce all around Moscow, they had no reason to venture into the city. Most canines preferred to live in the industrial areas, where they searched for food in garbage dumps, or lived on whatever workers threw away. But after the fall of the USSR, the situation changed drastically: their homes on the outskirts of Moscow were taken over by commercial centers and apartment complexes, while restaurants and fast-food carts popped-up downtown. A while ago, I wrote about Cacao, the bus-riding dog of Milan. I thought he was unique, but it appears Moscow strays mastered public transportation years ago.

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Meet Beau, the Canine Calculator

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Beau the Labrador knows all the usual tricks like “sit”, “roll over”, but he prefers something a little more challenging like subtracting, dividing, multiplying. Yup, you guessed it, this pooch is a canine mathematician.

The 12-year-old black Labrador retriever is probably smarter than a lot of people when it comes to math, considering he can multiply, subtract and even bark the square root of some numbers. Vince Devlin, of the Missoulian, visited Beau at his summer retreat on Lake Flathead, Montana. He lives with his owner, Melissa Canady, in Augusta, Georgia, but during the hot summer months he spends his time with Melissa’s parents, Dave and Patti Madsen. Dave is actually the one who taught him everything he knows about math, after the man noticed he was brighter than the average puppy.

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Dog Yoga Helps Pooches Find Their Inner Peace

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Sniffing backsides, taking naps and feasting on daily treats can apparently be pretty stressful for dogs, so in order to relax they have to take dog yoga classes, or doga.

Invented by American Suzi Teitleman, who noticed her spaniel enjoyed taking part in her daily exercise routine, doga has become very popular in Asia, where owners take their pets to specialized classes like that led by renowned yoga instructor Suzette Ackerman, in Hong Kong. It’s believed dog yoga helps strengthen the bond between canine and owner, and also does wonders for their circulation, digestion and joints.

Doga sessions include all kinds of poses, stretches, massages and even meditation that help both owners and pets get into tip-top shape. I’m sure it’s a pleasurable experience for yoga practicing humans, but I’m pretty sure the dogs would much rather prefer a visit to one of those luxury dog hotels, or better yet some Phydough ice-cream.

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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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