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Pretty much my favorite commercials in the history of the world are those of the new Old Spice campaign — those and that new one where the lime is talking on top of the taco.

The Old Spice Guy, the manliest man in the world, is, of course, former Seattle Seahawk Isaiah Mustafa. Dog Tipper recently spotted Mustafa and his Rhodesian Ridgeback Lexi at a dog event in LA and snapped these great photos. So not only is he the Man Your Man Could Smell Like, but he owns one of my favorite breeds? Fantastic.

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This post is part of a new series here on phetched, Barkworthy, which will highlight fido-friendly charitable organizations and events.

Last weekend the pups, my husband and I participated in Bark for Life here in Asheville, an event for dogs and their owners to raise money for the American Cancer Society. You’re probably familiar with Relay for Life, and Bark for Life is sort of a spin-off of that… the dog-friendly version!

The event, the first of its kind here in Asheville, was held down by the river at the Wedge Brewery and Studios. Hundreds of dogs and their owners showed up to show their support for the American Cancer Society. Special events included musical performances, agility and police K9 demonstrations, pet adoptions, and, of course, plenty of dog-watching and butt-sniffing.

More photos and words after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Happy Halloween, everybody!

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(Image: Trick or Treat by Sara Harvey – fetch it at Multiple Personality)

If you plan to enjoy Halloween with your pups tonight, be sure to keep them safe and happy. Here are some great Halloween pet safety tips courtesy of Fetch! Pet Care, the nation’s largest provider of professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services, who are donating a portion of their Halloween revenues to Best Friends Animal Society:

Tricks are for kids. While ghouls and goblins provide entertainment, your pet does not understand the person behind that mask is their friend. Dogs and cats are creatures of habit and can easily become frightened, aggressive or agitated by the unaccustomed sights and sounds of costumed visitors. So when the trick-or-treaters come knocking at your door, it’s best to keep your furry friend contained indoors in a quiet, comfortable area of your home. Also, make sure all pets are wearing collars and ID tags in case they get spooked and escape your home or yard.

Candy is not a treat for our pets. Sweets may look appealing to pets, but candy – especially chocolate – can be downright toxic to animals. Keep your candy bowl out of reach from pets and make sure your children sift through their bags at a table where Fido can’t sneak a piece. Candy wrappers can be just as harmful. Instead, purchase a box of your pets’ favorite treats for them to munch on. If you believe your pet has ingested a harmful item, call your veterinarian or the Animal Control hotline immediately.

Decorations should shock Trick-or-Treaters – not our pets. Keep all electrical cords and decorations out of reach. One chomp on an electrical cord could have a potentially deadly outcome. Pets can also become tangled and injured by dangling cords or decorations. You can purchase plastic tubing or casing at your local hardware store to provide some level of safety. Keep lit candles and jack-o-lanterns out of reach and on stable ground. Your pet could accidentally bump the pumpkin, resulting in fire damage to the home – and potentially to your pet.

Costumes are constraining. Yes, your pet may look adorable as a dinosaur or Cleopatra, but pets can feel constrained and uncomfortable in costumes. Many costumes also have loose accessories that could be hazardous if chewed or swallowed. If you must dress your pet, find a costume that has few accessories and is loose fitting.

Extra care for black pets. Don’t let your pet fall victim to Halloween pranks; keep them inside or under supervision during the Halloween season. This is especially important for pets with black fur, since they are a target for pranksters.

Now, off to work on Mingus’ Boba Fett costume…

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‘Tis the season! Orange and black Halloween decorations have been popping up all over town this week, and I couldn’t be happier. I LOVE Halloween, though I haven’t gotten to celebrate it very much since I’ve had dogs. (Oddly enough, they don’t consider hundreds of squealing kids parading around the neighborhood in costumes to be the pinnacle of fun. Go figure.)

If you and your pooch have big Halloween plans this year, it’s high time you selected a costume for your pup, no?

If you’re not one of those crafty types (and I, sadly, am not), you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of costume choices for Fifi and Fido for purchase online that go beyond cowboy, clown, and French maid (or my old standby when I was young, hobo).

For the chivalrous (and petite) canine, Sir-Barks-a-Lot from Krazy for Pets:

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From Barker & Meowsky, some awesome bat wings:

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(Yeah, I know… that photo’s a little disturbing if you look at it too long.)

And finally, in memory of Heath Ledger…

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the Joker, available from Costume Craze.

So, are your pups dressing up this year? Let’s hear your ideas!

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Coalition to Unchain Dogs is a nonprofit group that works to build fences for chained dogs in the Triangle, NC, area.

Coalition members Robert and Lori Hensley created a documentary about the Coaltion’s work called Untethered, which will premiere at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC, on August 15th.




For ticket information, click here, and to find out more about the wonderful work of the Coalition, visit their web site.

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Happy 4th of July! On this day when we Americans celebrate our freedom, phetched would like to introduce you to Wrinkles and Misty, two dogs who recently found freedom by means of a fence.

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How can fences bring freedom? When a fence means an end to life lived on a chain, when a fence means a dog is free to run, jump, and play in safety and comfort.

Wrinkles and Misty just received a fence of their own through the efforts of PUP NC, an organization here in Raleigh, NC, of which my husband and I are proud to be a part. Since PUP’s inception just this spring, already several dogs have been released from their tethers toward a brighter future and a better life.

You can read about the first fence PUP built here, and you can see more pictures of Wrinkles and Misty and their new fence on phetched’s Flickr.

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This Friday, June 26th, is Take Your Dog to Work Day. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the event (created by Pet Sitters International), which celebrates “the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters, and breed rescue clubs” (from the TYDTWD web site). True enough, employers across the country are finding out that dogs in the workplace can create better employee morale, boost productivity, and even make for healthier employees (or, at least, fewer sick days taken).

We’re lucky in that my husband’s workplace, a graphic-design firm, is dog-friendly year-round, so both Mingus and Dottie get to accompany him to work on a regular basis.

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So what do dogs do at work? Here’s a rundown of a recent, fairly typical day for Dottie at the office:

If you plan on taking your dog to work on Friday in celebration of TYDTWD, be sure to clear it with your boss first, of course, but also be sure your pup would be happy and comfortable in your office environment. Be sure to bring a bowl for your pooch’s water (and any other food or supplies he’ll need).

Be sure to have his Social Security number on hand, too, so you can help him fill out his W-4s.

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A couple of weekends ago my husband and I volunteered with People United for Pets (PUP) here in Raleigh, NC, to build a fence for two dogs, Buddy and Strut, who had lived most of their lives on chains. Raleigh’s city council recently passed a no-tethering law that goes into effect July 1st, 2009. After the law goes into effect, owners of tethered dogs will be forced to either provide proper containment for their dogs or face a $100/day fine for tethering beyond the legal time limit. As many who tether their dogs can’t afford these options, many dogs like Buddy and Strut will face the grim possibility of being surrendered to our kill shelter instead.

PUP provides free fences to owners in need of assistance. Dog owners must only agree to have their dogs spayed or neutered, a service also paid for by PUP.

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Buddy (a young pit bull mix) wasn’t too happy to see a bunch of strangers show up in his yard on a Saturday morning, but Strut, a senior retriever/shepherd mix, didn’t seem too bothered by our presence, and was more than happy to dole out slobbery greetings to anyone who came close enough — a rather daunting notion with Buddy barking and lunging nearby.

The fence we built had to have a separation in the middle so that Buddy and Strut wouldn’t argue over food. In addition, Buddy is a digger, so his side of the fence had to be reinforced at the bottom to prevent escape or injury.

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Since a good deal of the build involved manly physical labor of which I wasn’t capable, I spent some time trying to get to know Buddy instead. Buddy’s owner told me that he had found Buddy as a small pup in a trash can. I felt sure that Buddy’s  aggressive demeanor resulted from fear, so I approached him as slowly and as non-challengingly as I could. A fellow volunteer and I began doling out dog biscuits as fast as Buddy could eat them, and soon he was wagging his tail and gleefully accepting neck scritches. A few more months on the chain might have snuffed out any of the trust and love he had left.

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The best part of the whole gig? Instant gratification. Once we had the fence mostly constructed, Buddy and Strut’s owner led them one at a time into the new fence so the dogs could check out their new digs. Were they happy with our work? Well, you tell me.

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To find out more about PUP NC, including volunteer and donation opportunities, visit the PUP NC web site.

For more photos of the fence build, check out phetched’s flickr.

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What better way to get things rolling here at Phetched than to share some pictures from one of our favorite events of the year, Bark Around the Park, held today at Millbrook Exchange Park here in sunny Raleigh, NC? With springtime in full swing, blue skies and warm temperatures brought hundreds of dogs and their people out to enjoy the 20th anniversary of the annual event.

Mingus surveys the scene. Lots of booths to visit, lots of butts to sniff.

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The festival features vendor booths, rescue organizations, charities, contests, demonstrations, and games.

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One of the best parts about Bark Around the Park, though, is mixing and mingling with dogs of all shapes and sizes. I found it’s rather hard to manage a camera while holding a dog-bearing leash, but here are a few smilers I snapped.

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Perhaps the coolest thing about BATP is all the free loot you walk away with, but I noticed the haul was much smaller this year. Could it be the pangs of the recession have trickled down so far? Regardless, we returned home with a decent sack o’ goodies and two worn-out pooches… and that, my friends, is priceless.

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