Pet Photos: World's Ugliest Dog vs World's Most Obedient Dog

July Fourth Can Be Especially Stressful for Pets
By Erica Little - The Register-Guard

Fireworks have been a keenly appreciated tradition on the Fourth of July from the nation’s beginning. But what can be fun for people can be harsh on pets.

Jerry Boggs, veterinarian and owner of Bush Animal Hospital in Eugene, says fireworks are an unfortunate way of celebrating the Fourth of July, as the noise makes many pets so anxious that they may harm themselves.

In his 35 years as a veterinarian, Boggs has seen fireworks-spooked dogs break their nails trying to dig through doors, cut themselves by breaking through sliding glass doors, or break their teeth from trying to chew through restraints. In many cases, the dogs don’t know the source of the commotion, so they simply want to get as far away from it as possible, he said.

“Animals are very perceptive,” said Boggs. “They have a very acute sense of hearing,” and can hear fireworks from far away.

If animals succeed in escaping, another set of problems arise. They can be hit by cars or become lost.

There are ways of preventing all of this.

Some pets will feel the most comfortable in a quiet room, away from the noise while a fireworks display is being put on. If a pet is accustomed to music or having a TV on, that may help them relax.

Animals that are crate-trained may feel safest in their crate, possibly with a blanket over the top to muffle noise and block flashing lights from fireworks. However, if an animal is not accustomed to this, it may try desperately to get out.

In extreme situations, a veterinarian may prescribe antianxiety medications or tranquilizers while fireworks are being used. “It’s appropriate to have a relationship with your veterinarian” if an owner anticipates a major problem, Boggs said.

“Each animal needs to be looked at as an individual,” said Boggs. Most owners know their pet well enough to determine the best course of action around firework season, he said.

If all else fails, Boggs advises that pet owners keep identification on their pets at all times. Identification tags can get lost, so owners may want to consider having an ID microchip placed on their animal.

Warning signs of distress in animals includes panting, pacing, restlessness, poor eating habits, drinking an excessive amount of water, hanging out by doors in hopes of escape, or hiding under beds, in corners or other quiet areas.

Not all animals have a phobia of fireworks. “Animals are much like humans,” said Boggs. Not all humans have the same fears, and neither do pets. Boggs previously had a dog that was very nervous around fireworks. However, his current dog is not particularly sensitive to them.

Linda Salmon, the owner of Moses, an 11-year-old Keeshond dog, can relate to people whose pets don’t deal well with fireworks. While Moses has never liked them, Salmon said, his anxiety has worsened as he’s aged. For the past three years, Salmon has gotten medication for Moses to take while fireworks are being set off. “It’s not enough to make him lethargic,” she said, “just enough to calm him down.”

Jene Peckham, the owner of an eight-year-old golden retriever named Chloe, said that during fireworks, Chloe will pace, shiver, pant, drool and even try to squeeze under a bed.

In an effort to calm her down, Peckham puts Chloe under a desk, puts a towel over her and plays music on the stereo. Chloe reacts to fireworks much as she reacts to a thunderstorm and other loud noises.


..then adopt a dog.

..then adopt a dog.

Thanks to Kathy H in BHC, AZ

Weddings Go to the Dogs: Tips on Making
Your Dog Part of Your Wedding Celebration

According to an American Kennel Club Dogs and Interpersonal Relationships Survey, 18 percent of dog owners said they either have included (or would include) their dog in their wedding ceremony. That trend is likely to continue as those under 30 years of age are 17 percent more likely than those 60 and up to say "I do" with their dog by their side.

The AKC offers the following tips for those who are considering including Fido in their wedding:


-Consider your dog's temperament. If your dog is unnerved by changes in environment or social situations, the crowds, attention and strange noises involved in a wedding may cause them undue stress.

-Select a pet-friendly location for the ceremony and reception.

-Ensure everyone playing an important role in the wedding welcomes your dog's involvement - the groom, of course, but also the bridal party, officiant and wedding planner.

-Let invitees know a dog will be attending the celebration. Your wedding Web site is a great place to share this news. But, prepare yourself - disapproval from some guests is inevitable, and people with allergies may be unable to attend.

-Take a refresher obedience course with your dog. Just like pre-wedding dance lessons, dogs should be prepared for their performance. Can your pup tolerate their costume and sit or lie down quietly during the ceremony? They should not bark, jump up or draw attention away from the bride and groom.


-Use your dog to carry the rings, flowers or walk you down the aisle.

-Designate a member of your bridal party as the official "handler" during the ceremony. Or, the dog can sit with a family member or pet-sitter in the audience while you recite your vows. This person should be armed with treats and baggies for cleanup.

-Guarantee the photographer you hire is comfortable working with animals. If your dog will not be participating in the ceremony, perhaps arrange a time beforehand so they can still be included in the photos.


-Do not allow your dog to approach the food tables or beg from guests. Only allow them doggie treats - human food may make them sick.

-Your pup should be kept on leash at all times - you don't want them crashing into the cake!

-Keep your pooch away from anyone who is scared of dogs. Conversely, protect your dog, especially if it's a smaller breed, from having his tail stepped on or being bothered by overly rowdy children.

-Arrange for a quiet room where your dog can rest in his crate if he gets tired or overwhelmed.

Additional tips can be found on the American Kennel Club Web site at

Save 5% on Pet Supplies Orders Over $75

Click on banner to visit this site.

The Overall Winner at Dog Obedience School:

Thanks to Ron R in BHC, AZ

Take a Break with Your Pet
by Whitney Gates - Seattle PI

Now that finals are over and I have graduated, I have a lot more time to spend with my cat, McGee. Looking back at finals' weeks, McGee was always a great source of comfort or a nice distraction from the essays, exams, and studying. One night that stands out in my mind was when McGee accompanied me in the car to pick up my roommate from the library. I wrapped him up like a baby in a blanket, and he stayed in my lap as we waited for my roommate. My roommate came out with an exhausted look on her face, but erupted in laughter when she got to the car and saw that the bundle on my lap was McGee. His face was poking out with a curious look, wondering where we were taking him; and we laughed as we drove home. Just his presence was enough to put my roommate and me in a better mood and to put school out of our minds for the moment.

Recently, with the weather getting warmer, McGee has been constantly reminding me that he also wants to go outside. The other day, I was on the patio reading a book, while McGee sat by the screen door. He let out sad meows about not being allowed outside. He couldn't understand why he's allowed to follow me all around inside the house, but I won't share the wonderful, bug and squirrel-filled backyard with him. He's gotten outside a couple of times, by pushing doors open, giving him a nice taste of what's beyond the windows and doors he stares through longingly. A couple of days ago, I happened to glance outside because I saw a pretty gray cat in the yard. Of course, it was McGee, and I had to quickly grab him and bring him back inside.

I knew something had to be done. McGee was always willing to follow me all over the house and keep me company during the most stressful times (namely, finals week!) This quarter, I seemed to be the last person with a final; so while everyone was off celebrating and rejoicing in the warm weather, I sat at home with my books. Of course, McGee sat by my side and provided me with little breaks here and there and offered up his soft coat as a soothing outlet. His favorite place to sit is in the window just behind my bed, so while I read, McGee will nudge and peck at my hair. I felt like I needed to reward him for his loyalty and constant sweetness, so I bought him a harness.

I've taken him on a walk everyday so far. At first, when I put the harness on him, he would walk a few steps forward then he'd step back and walk a few steps in a different direction, then move back – nearly crawling. Finally, he saw a squirrel, ran to the screen door, and forgot all about the harness for awhile - long enough for me to put the leash on him and bring him outside with me. He was so interested in his surroundings that he didn't seem to mind the bright neon green leash or his owner hovering a few feet away. Soon, McGee was meowing less to be let outside.

It's important that we take a few moments out of our day to stop and smell the roses or pet the animal in our life. Pets are great reminders that yes, there is a world out there, outside of this temporary time of stress, or frustrations, whether it's with work, school, or people in our life. We can always count on our pets to be there for us. We need to re-pay them for their companionship whenever possible – even if it means buying them a leash and taking them outside during these warm, summer months. You'll both be happy you did.

Deal of the Week 120x60
AmeriMark Direct is a leading direct marketer of women's apparel, shoes, name-brand cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry, watches, accessories, and health-related merchandise.
Click on banner to visit this site.

Pabst the Blue Ribbon Dog
Takes World's Ugliest Title
By Gina Kim - The Sacramento Bee

But owner Miles Egstad doesn't see ugly in his 4-year-old, 60-pound dog.

"Apart from his underbite, I think he's great looking," said Egstad, 25. "I think if you took 100 of those Chinese cresteds, you would have 100 ugly dogs. And if you have 100 boxer mixes, you're only going to get one Pabst, and that's if you're lucky."

Egstad adopted the 6-month-old Pabst from a mobile adoption group more than three years ago and named him for his "bitter beer face."

It wasn't the 2-inch underbite that drew him in; it was the soft and kind eyes that felt as if they could see right into Egstad's heart.

"As soon as I saw him, it was on," said Egstad. "It was just the uniquest face. And I instantly fell in love with him."

Pabst had been found wandering around Auburn, had a large burn mark on his abdomen and was missing part of a toe. He was timid and fearful, but Egstad brought him home anyway.

"All he needed was a little love, and he's the best dog I've ever had," Egstad said.

Pabst doesn't know any tricks beyond sitting. He snores and farts. And he can be found on the couch in the morning, although he always starts the night on his bed.

But when Egstad gets home from his job as a millwright, where he installs and maintains industrial machinery, all of Pabst's body parts are in motion.

"I love the way he greets me when I come home," Egstad said. "His whole body is shaking, his tail is wagging and his evil-looking grin looks like a big smile."

Egstad entered Pabst into the best smile contest affiliated with this year's Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash. Pabst won the blue ribbon and a gift bag full of prizes. Egstad then decided to go for the ugliest dog title.

The judges – celebrity veterinarian Karen "Doc" Halligan; Jon Provost, who played Timmy in "Lassie"; and Sonoma-Marin Fair board member Brian Sobel – picked Pabst as the ugliest mutt, ugliest dog in the mutt-and-pedigree runoff, and finally, the reigning World's Ugliest Dog at the Petaluma competition Friday.

Pabst won $1,600 in prize money; a collection of collars, leashes and bowls from the House of Dog; a $1,000 yearlong modeling contract; and an eruption of publicity.

Pabst already has been filmed by Animal Planet, appeared via a live feed Sunday on "Fox & Friends," and is going to New York to appear on "The Early Show" on CBS sometime this week.

"He's loving it, he's absolutely loving it," Egstad said. "When we were walking onto the stage, he was pulling me into the crowd and letting the kids pet his belly and ears."

A former ugly dog champion has a line of greeting cards sold at Target stores saying things like, "Birthdays can be ugly. And trust me, I know ugly."

And while there is potential for Pabst's earnings, orthodontia is not in his future.

"That's his trademark," Egstad said.

Pet Fees Gone Wild: 4 Reasons
Animals Shouldn't Fly
Elliott, Christopher - The Baltimore Sun

At just two pounds, Natalie Maldonado's teacup Chihuahua weighs less than her purse. But on a recent AirTran flight from Tampa to Atlanta, as she tucked the dog under her seat, a crewmember stopped Maldonado because the pet had been improperly tagged, she says.

"I was surrounded by four agents, a gate agent, the flight attendants and another crewmember," she remembers. "They demanded that I pay a $70 pet carry-on fee."

That's when her flight went to the dogs. Although she reluctantly agreed to pay the surcharge, she was walked off the flight after an attendant told her she was committing a "federal offense" by interfering with the flight schedule. She and her Chihuahua were allowed to take the next AirTran flight to Atlanta.

"The manner in which I was treated was completely unacceptable and the pet policy fee is ridiculous and excessive," she told me.

In their struggle to turn a profit, airlines have piled on a lot of fees in the last year, from surcharges for checked luggage to extras for confirmed reservations. And just when it seemed they had found every last fee, it looks as if they've turned up one more: They're looking to Fido and Fluffy for a little extra cash; specifically, to their owners.

Maldonado's pet problem may sound like a tempest in a teacup. But it isn't to her. She alleges AirTran employees intimidated and humiliated her and her dog. When she tried to take names, one flight attendant told her he "wasn't allowed to give last names." I was sure the airline would respond to her complaint, so I suggested she send a polite letter describing the incident.

AirTran's response? A form letter saying it regretted "to learn of your disappointment with our pet travel policy" but pointing out that pet fees are "standard" in the airline business. It promised to pass her comments about the crew's behavior along to a supervisor.

Here's the kicker: When it comes to pet transportation fees, AirTran is widely considered to be one of the most reasonable airlines. Its competitors, who at some point must have caught wind of the fact that close to two-thirds of Americans have traveled with their pets and exclaimed, "Ah-ha -- there's money to be made there!" routinely charge twice what this discount airline does.

Call it pet fees gone wild. To get an idea of how crazy these charges have become, consider what happened to Richard Grove, who was asked to pony up $300 to transport his 7-pound cat roundtrip on a recent Delta Air Lines flight. "That's more than I paid for my own ticket," he complained. Grove wrote Delta to protest the absurdity of paying more to fly his kitty than himself. The airline replied with a form letter thanking him for letting them "know how you feel."

It would be tempting to see this as yet another airline industry money grab. But aviation analyst Michael Miller says pet transportation charges differ from other so-called "ancillary" fees charged by airlines today in a few important respects. Pets represent more of a liability than a revenue opportunity, for starters. If a dog or cat dies in the luggage hold -- more on that in a minute -- the company may face an expensive lawsuit. Although that's far less likely to happen to animals in the passenger cabin, pets of any kind are essentially unwanted guests on a plane, from an airline's perspective. Miller says airlines aren't just "charging whatever they want" to make more money, but to discourage people from bringing animals on board.

That's not to say there isn't a market for airborne pets. This summer, Pet Airways, which is billed as an alternative for pets traveling in cargo holds, is scheduled to begin flying ( between New York, Washington, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Still, this may be one of those rare times when I agree with the airlines. If dogs and cats belonged at 36,000 feet, they would have wings. But the current system, whether it's a moneymaker or a deterrent, is hopelessly broken. Here's why:


Literally. Pets die on planes, particularly when they're in the cargo hold. According to the Web site (, a total of 109 animals have perished since 2005, most of them dogs. Airlines must report deaths, injuries and losses to the Transportation Department, but the numbers are thought to be artificially low, since animals that aren't kept as pets or carried on an all-cargo or unscheduled flight aren't counted. Continental Airlines had the most deaths (34) followed by American Airlines (21) while Delta Airlines and United Airlines tied for third, with 12 casualties. Delta lost the most pets (11) while Continental had the most injuries (14) according to the government.


Why does it cost AirTran $70 to carry a pet one way, but Delta charges $150? Does the cumulative weight of these creatures make planes consume more fuel on one airline, necessitating a higher fee? You don't have to be an airline employee to know the answer: of course not. Then again, when have airline prices ever made sense? A seat bought two weeks before a flight costs just a few hundred bucks, but buying it the day before your trip can set you back a few thousand. Madness!


Jacking up the prices for man's best friend exposes one of the last remaining airline subsidies: lap children. On domestic flights, airlines don't charge parents with kids under two who sit on their lap. Fido flying under the seat pays $150. Junior sitting on the lap pays nothing. Does that make any sense? No. When you account for all the extra stuff that you have to bring along, like diapers, formula, snacks and toys, lap kids account for far more weight than most pets stowed under the seats.


Southwest Airlines used to have the right idea. It didn't accept live animals in the cabin or cargo compartment other than those trained to assist people with disabilities, until it reversed itself this spring (, citing the soft economy.

(Here's a handy list of airline pet policies (

Think about it. What self-respecting cat or dog would intentionally lock itself in a pressurize aluminum tube for several hours? I don't know of any.

Full disclosure, here: I am owned by two cats that I love dearly. And I interviewed Miller as he was taking his Australian Shepherd, Nikki, for a walk. So it's safe to say neither of us have a problem with pets in general.

But flying with them is a terrible idea, at least for now. "I would never put Nikki on a plane," Miller told me.

My cats Max and Pollux are grounded, too. At least until airlines can come up with a better and fairer way to transport their animal passengers.

(Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. This column originally appeared on You can read more travel tips on his blog, or e-mail him at

Click on banner to visit this site.

Click here for "Dating Tips, Relationship Advice and Intimacy"

Click here for "News, Commentary and Opinions"

Cathy M. Rosenthal: TV Drama Addresses Pet Illness, Death
Cathy Rosenthal -

When dogs and cats get sick, they don't complain. Instead, they may sleep more or eat less. Sadly, we often don't notice these subtle changes until their illness is serious. Then we wonder how we could have overlooked our pet's suffering.

This is exactly where Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) finds herself on the season opener of "The Closer," the TNT crime drama that started its fifth season a few weeks ago. "Why didn't I know this could happen?" she says when she learns her "Kitty" is very sick.

Pets are great at masking their pain, struggling quietly to keep up with us. It might seem like they will always be here, but they practically leave us over night. Over the last few episodes, "The Closer" has woven this emotional journey into the story line, from the moment Johnson realizes her cat is sick to the final moments when she is holding Kitty in her arms.

Kitty became part of "The Closer" in season one when Johnson reluctantly takes the feline in after the cat's owner is murdered. Since then, the show has introduced some valuable pet lessons, including the importance of sterilization and the anguish of searching for a lost pet. This year though, the real-life cat was diagnosed with kidney disease. Rather than replace Kitty on the show, James Duff, executive producer for "The Closer," wrote the cat's illness into the script.

"That just seemed like the honorable thing to do," Duff says. "Pets are part of the family."

Knowing the real cat was dying, however, had an unexpected and emotional impact on cast and crew. "I can tell you that there were lots of people weeping on the set, when she (Sedgwick) was going through the last scene with the cat," says Duff. "Her last moments with Kitty are so heart-rending."

What Duff didn't know until after the scripts were written and production had begun was that Sedgwick had put her own feline down over the hiatus. My guess is her personal pet loss generated real tears and grief while filming her television Kitty's final moments. The cast and crew — and every pet owner watching — could easily cry along with her, including Duff, who referred to the loss of his own dogs and cats as "devastating" and who nightly ponders the aging of his current 12-year-old dog Henry, who "pauses before going upstairs to make darn sure I am not coming back down, because he only wants to go up once," he says.

Jone Bouman, communications director for the American Humane Film & Television Unit says, "This is the first time we, who are on more than 1,000 productions a year, have heard of this kind of episodic story line in covering a pet's illness and death."

I was pleased to see a television show delve into the universal moment all pet owners share. We readily accept the joy of our pet's friendship, knowing all the while the heartache that awaits us at the end of the journey. It's a brave thing we do.

Send your stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Check out a picture of Miss Kitty on Cathy's Animals Matter blog.

Click here to visit The EZ Online Shopping Network of Stores

No comments: