BOW WOWs for canine stars!

It’s time for an applause for the artistes in the showbiz…Oscars, Golden Globe Awards, Filmfare Awards, Stardust Awards, etc…we have so many awards to recognise the talent in the film industry. But the canines sometimes go unrecognised… but not anymore… as here comes the Golden Collar Awards. So, who is the best paw star this year? Read on to know more…

Ever since Blair, a Collie, starred as Rover in the 1905 British short silent film Rescued by Rover, dogs have gone on to assume starring roles in some of the film industry’s most memorable movies including Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, The Wizard of Oz, Air Bud and Benji. Now with the creation and presentation of the Golden Collar Awards, canine actors will have their own award to bark about. Bow! All tails up to this wonderful initiative….

It’s Pawrty time!

Recently, the first Annual Golden Collar Awards was announced, for best achievement in Acting by Dogs in Film during 2011. Canine nominees were selected in three categories: Best Dog in a Theatrical Film; Best Dog in a Foreign Film; and Best Dog in a Direct-to-DVD Film. The evening kicked off with red carpet arrivals and private cocktail reception benefiting Los Angeles area dog rescue organisations and shelters. The world famous artiste Simon Tavassoli and his design studio BB Simon in Newport Beach, CA had commissioned to create the Golden Collar Awards.

And the award goes to…

The winners in different categories were: Best Dog in a Theatrical Film-Uggie (The Artist); Best Dog in a Foreign Film-Koko (Red Dog); Best Dog in a Television Series -Bridgitt (Modern Family); Best Dog in a Reality Television Series (a tie) Giggy (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and Hercules (Pit Boss); and Best Dog in a Direct to DVD Film-Rowdy (Marley & Me: The Puppy Years). While, Best Dog in a Reality Show was again a tie between Giggy (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) and Hercules (Pit Boss).

The Golden Collar awards…

The prestigious Golden Collar was given out to the dog who received the greatest number of first place votes from a panel of judges consisting of well-known, dog-loving film critics, writers and entertainment industry executives. Uggie, the trick-performing Jack Russell Terrier starring in silent film The Artist, bagged the maiden Golden Collar Awards and the one person who was pawfectly delighted was Uggie’s trainer, Omar von Muller. He accepted the award – a collar decked with Swarovski crystals, bone-shaped that said: “Uggie and me are friends forever.”

Dress me well!

Uggie, the shining star at the Golden Collar Awards was indeed the scene-stealing canine star at the event. The canine winner trotted down the red carpet sporting an extra set of black and white tails. The tux collar design Rrruffler (as the product is known) is a prototype made especially for Uggie for the first annual Golden Collar Awards produced by Dog News Daily. Rrruffler owner, Susanne Savage, was already working on the tux idea for her new pet products company when she saw The Artist and subsequently a photo of Uggie in a human-sized black bowtie for the Golden Globes.

Kudos to our darling doggies!


Born in 2002, Uggie is a smart Jack Russell Terrier famous for his roles in the movies like Mr Fix It, Water for Elephants, and most recently The Artist. Uggie was rejected by at least his first two pet parents for being too wild. He was about to be sent to a dog pound, but adopted by his trainer Omar Von Muller who is now a proud pet parent of Uggie the Golden Collar Award winner. Omar said that Uggie was quite crazy and very energetic puppy! One of the most important things is that Uggie was not afraid of things and never had fear of lights & noises on sets. Now, Uggie lives in North Hollywood with Von Muller, his wife and their six-year-old daughter. There are seven other dogs in the household all of them work in the film industry.

Yummy! I’m loving it!

Brownies, bars & biscottis, muttkins, pupcakes, lollipups, paw-shaped pizzas, cheese sticks – all these savoury delights for your cute and cuddly tail wager! Pamper them with these droolicious treats and bask in their sweet smiles.

The idea of a dog bakery probably sounds a bit far-fetched for non-pet parents. “However, for anyone who has or has had a pet at some point in their lives, will associate with our underlying belief – our pets spoil us by making us feel like the most important people in the world… Let’s spoil them too!” as Yadika Sharma of The Spoilt Brat puts it.

What’s in a name?

What better name for a dog bakery than the name of the pet himself! “We named the bakery after our black Labrador named ‘Rocky’. In fact, Rocky’s picture is in our bakery logo too. We offer a range of treats from birthday cakes to cookies and much more for dogs, just like any other bakery for humans,” told Dheeksha Rabindra of Rocky Dog Bakery.

While, The Spoilt Brat – barkery ‘n’ more – is a bakery that creates all-natural, wholesome, oven-baked biscuits, treats and cakes for dogs. “My Australian Cocker Spaniel Sir Maximus Shah – the original spoilt brat, who is truly the most pampered individual in our house, was the inspiration behind the start of this venture,” told Yadika.

As per Aneesha Rai of DAWGZ Store Bakery,’ “Our brand name is DAWGZ. This name was inspired by one of our dogs, Prince, who could understand that we would be speaking about him whenever we used the word ‘dog’. So, everyone in the family started to spell it out as D.O.G. to confuse him. Soon he understood that too so we had to tweak it a bit more to make it D.A.W.G. That’s how this name came to be.”

While Aditi Limaye Kamat of Home Chef shared, “My partner and I run Home Chef, a cafe and catering service, along with ‘the cake studio’ through which we make designer hand-crafted cakes, desserts, chocolates and more.”

The inspiration…

Most pet parents would have their own stories to share about how their pets sniff out cakes or cookies. “Well, Rocky was no different! He not only loved but was crazy about bakery treats. Very often he would take a walk all by himself to the nearby bakery without our knowledge. His friendly approach, ever hyper with an insatiate appetite and his constant desire to be pampered won many friends including the bakery staff and got plenty of bakery treats. Eventually this led us to explore ways to substitute bakery products with our homemade recipes. Now, we want to share the healthy eating habits to all the dog lovers and cater to bakery needs of dogs. The idea took shape early August 2010 after sufficient research on dog nutrition and consulting vets and nutritionists,” told Dheeksha as a matter of fact.

For Aditi too, the inspiration came from his pet dog. “Our love for pets made us make some doggie loving cakes for my pet dog’s birthday and this is how our journey began into pet cakes.”

And Bubbles’ lack of desire to eat made Aneesha discover the pleasures of baking. “Actually I started baking much before I actually did my grooming or even opened the store. Bubbles, my basset, once fell ill and wouldn’t eat anything. That got me really worried. That’s the first time I baked nutritious treats for her. She loved them and lapped them up. Later my vet started recommending his patients’ pet parents to me to bake some for their ailing pets while they re-cooperated. When I opened the store was when I actually launched the bakery under the brand,” told Aneesha.

The variety…

“Along with the major ingredients that go into baking like flours, eggs, fruits and veggies, we also include ingredients like flax seeds that helps prevent dry itchy skin, heels cracked paws and prevents constipation. Parsley and mint which are natural breath fresheners and helps dogs with arthritis. Cinnamon could be given to diabetic dogs that helps regulate blood sugar level. There are many more natural ingredients like above that could be used for natural healing through the treats which tingles their taste buds as well,” told Dheeksha.

DAWGZ Store Bakery offers a whole range of treats including Training Tit-bits, pup-cakes, granola bars, doggie desserts, so on. “While deciding on a recipe, the nutrition content, the palatability, the purpose of the treat, for example, are they for training, to help fight fleas, etc, all are kept in mind. We also think of the presentation factor. All these are additionally fortified with essential vitamins and minerals to make them very nutritious. We do gluten-free treats too. We don’t use any preservatives and hence we make these fresh to order. All treats are made from human grade ingredients and we encourage our pet parents to join the party and enjoy them with their babies. Our best seller is our Liver Snap Biscuits & Cakes,” told Aneesha.

“We also keep certain dog allergies in mind and use relevant substitutes for the same. For example, dogs are not allowed chocolates, so we use an imported ingredient called carob which is a chocolate substitute and as such can be consumed by dogs. Since many dogs today have food allergies or health restrictions, we also customise our goodies to ensure they get what their diet requires. So, we have a line of gluten-free biscuits as well as biscuits enriched with multivitamins. The idea is to make their treats nutritious and tasty,” added Yadika of The Spoilt Brat Barkery, Mumbai.

While Rocky Dog Bakery offers a variety of birthday cakes, both veg and non-veg (choice of meat) with different frosting (yoghurt, carob, banana and cinnamon, spinach and beet), cupcakes and muffins with pets’ favourite veggie or fruit (carrot, banana, pumpkin, cherry), short eats like pretzels, cinnabun swirls, apple drops, blueberry nibbles, variety of cookies like peanut butter and oat, parsley and flaxseed. “All the above treats are customised for the pets keeping their allergies, likes, and needs in mind as some dogs are lactose intolerant. And our bestsellers include peanut butter, oat cookies and pretzels in short eats and chicken and vegetable cake and carrot honey cake in cakes,” added Dheeksha.

“We bake cup cakes (mini/regular) which are a hit for pet birthday parties. We make these in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian varieties and they are 100 percent sugar/maida/chocolate free,” told Aditi as a matter of fact.

The Spoilt Brat’s most popular ‘barkery’ products are the Bow-wow Brownies, Apple Cinnamon Lollipups, Ginger Honey Treats, Garlic Cheese Pleasers, Sunflower Cookies, Cheesy Carrot Biscuits and Pup-eroni Pizzas. “And of course, our monthly Season’s Specials are always a sell-out,” added Yadika.

Message to all furry angels…

“Have a blast. Enjoy them and let me know what would you like to have next,” told Aneesha happily. While Dheeksha added, “This is for all the rockstar pets – eat healthy, stay healthy because healthy dogs are happy dogs.”

“We know you love us unconditionally, and we hope you know you mean the world to us too! Let your parents know that even though you are pampered and spoilt rotten, you will behave like an angel as long as you get rewarded by your favourite treats,” concluded Yadika.

Pawfect frame!

Photographs are a great way of preserving the beauty and personality of your dog. However, taking pictures of your best friend is not always easy. Here’s how to get the best shot.

Here are some tips that will help you get the best frame of your dog.

Avoid flash: Dogs are best photographed outside in the natural daylight. This is mainly to avoid using flash. Whenever you are indoors, the light is low and your camera automatically pops out the flash which gives your picture a terrible doggy red eye. If photographing outdoors is not possible for whatsoever reason then try getting your dog close to a large window, with plenty of natural light coming from behind or slightly to the side of you as you face your dog.

Shoot outdoors: Unlike other pets, dogs are very playful by nature. So, once you are outdoors there is a better chance you will get a nice action shot when you try to capture your dog’s picture. Next time when you go to your neighbourhood park with your dog, do not forget to carry your camera along. The best time to photograph is either in the morning or late in the evening. During afternoon the lighting is too harsh and not advisable.

Dog’s world: Most people make one big mistake when they photograph their dogs. They don’t get on the eye level of the dog. Go down to their level and lie flat on your stomach to take the most beautiful doggy pictures. Doing so will give your viewers a look into the world of your dog. Try to go as close as possible and zoom in to fill in the frame with your subject.

Personalised shots: Posed shots can be fun but one thing I love to do is to photograph them candidly, paparazzi style. Try to capture your doggy’s movements like while he is busy digging or burying the bone or chasing the birds or when he is sitting contentedly with his head sticking out of his dog house. When your dog is barely aware of your presence then the shots turn out to be very natural without distracting the dog from his activity.

Helping hand: Whenever you are photographing your dogs, it helps to have another person to handle your dog. Go get your kids, your roommate or your spouse to help you out with this. When someone else is keeping your dog entertained, you can focus on setting up your camera for that pawfect shot.

(Sahana Sharan is a freelance photographer based in Mumbai. She is an alumnus from National Institute of Photography).

Dine with your canine… in style

If you are in Bengaluru and you wish to dine with your loved ones (pooches included), CounterCulture is the place to be. Indulge in the exotic, relaxing and pet-friendly atmosphere… while you enjoy your gourmet.

The venue…

Spread over 25,000 sq ft, CounterCulture is a place that welcomes you with your pets to have a great time together. CounterCulture primarily came about as an attempt to create a space channelised towards encouraging and showcasing alternative ideas. Offering a restored old factory converted into a restaurant surrounded by almond, chikoo, mango and coconut trees, it is located in a quaint part of Bengaluru suburbs called Mahadevpura, close to ITPL in the industrial belt of White Field.

In a city that is undergoing more makeovers than the residents can keep pace with, CounterCulture hopes to impart a faint whiff of the quintessentially Bangaloreans relaxed open spaces, where the greenery serves as the canvas for theme-based gourmet fare while still allowing guests to swing back into their own preferred comfort zones. And what’s more? You can bring along your pets too – everybody is welcome to our place, says Vishwaraj Mohan, the owner of the restaurant.

The pet angle…

“We understand people have pets and love to spend time with them – they are an integral part of their family and it just makes sense to take them along. I am a pet lover myself and if you happen to come to my restaurant, you would have met Bonzo, my one year and four months old Rottweiler. He is a very happy dog and he loves to meet people,” told Vishwaraj.

“Though we have never advertised ourselves as pet-friendly restaurants but once the customers come here and see the relaxed atmosphere here; they eventually bring along their pooches next time. In fact, most of the people who bring dogs here are our regular customers,” he added.

The response…

“Pet lovers go crazy about the concept…they simply love it. Of course, there are a few customers who are not so comfortable about having pets around but since we have a huge space, we keep such customers away from pets…thus maintaining their privacy,” told Vishwaraj.

The pets’ response…

“Normally, the pets are little apprehensive in the beginning as it is a new territory for them but they ease themselves after a while,” he told. “And yes, we ensure that the pet parents take care of their pets’ needs and handle them.”

On pet food…

“Though we do not offer any delicacies for the pets but yes, we do stock commercial pet foods, in case any of our pet guests want a bite,” laughed Vishwaraj. “After all, each family member needs to be pampered – why leave our pets behind?” he concluded.

For more info, visit www.counterculture.co.in

National Training Centre For Dogs… where pooches get trained!

Tucked away from the maddening crowd of Gwalior city is the National Training Centre For Dogs (NTCD) situated on an idyllic greenbelt of Tekanpur township where pooches get trained to serve in different defence organisations/departments in India and abroad. A visit to this world-class dog training centre of Border Security Force (BSF) impressed me a lot with an insight into how skilful our four-legged friends are in the field of detective jobs. And the credit for such extraordinary achievements goes to the team of trainers/handlers at the centre operating under the command of Dr MR Popli, Officer Commanding, NTCD, BSF Tekanpur.

The long drive leading to National Training Centre For Dogs (NTCD) gave me a joyful experience of the tranquillity of the green surroundings. But my arrival at the training centre was quite a different and new experience. After meeting a team of noble BSF officers, Dr MR Popli, Officer Commanding, NTCD, BSF Tekanpur eventually introduced me to a troop of well-trained furry jawans for whom I made my purpose to travel from Delhi to Gwalior. A GSD pack leader named Vardhan among them greeted me with a bouquet in a very amicable gesture welcoming me to their training ground. Then those troopers of GSDs and Labradors led by Vardhan, namely, Prince, Basanti, Fanna, Ronaldo, Putli, Hero, Monica and Madhu demonstrated their amazing talents through some mocked drills, which I still can’t believe! This is how my day at NTCD kick started to access the 22 acres campus housing a complete combo of training facility, kennels, breeding centre, veterinary hospital and quarantine.

Training regimes…

Established in the year 1970, NTCD was set up under a firm objective to train dogs and their handlers to produce well-trained pooches for all needs in the defence departments of state and central police organisations and other law enforcement agencies of the country as well as other friendly neighbouring Asian countries. “We are imparting trainings on explosive detection, narcotic detection, search and rescue, assault, infantry patrol and guard dogs,” said Dr Popli adding that NTCD however arranges for any kind of training as per the requirement and need of the departments.

Duration of all training regimes is 24 weeks except ‘tracking’ that takes 36 weeks. “Refreshers training courses are also very important because we need to constantly maintain (refresh) efficiency, proficiency and performance of both dogs and handlers from time to time,” mentioned Dr Popli. The provision also includes some veterinary handling and management skill courses for officers or subordinate officers of police departments as well as BSF. Exclusively under these skill courses are pup rearing and management programmes.

Complete campus…

Overall activities on the campus of NTCD come under three broad categories – training, breeding and theory classes. “Our agility training site is equipped with modern equipments and accessories. We deeply focus on out-of-campus training as this exercise gives our pooches an exposure to the environment where they could be practically deployed later on in real,” explained Dr Popli adding that they carry out such training in crowded public areas like railway stations, bus stops, airports, etc. The kennels in the campus consist of isolation units, quarantine and rearing units, which are constructed in both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned accommodations. And the veterinary hospital in the campus is a full-fledged facility having a well-equipped laboratory to conduct x-ray, ultrasound and other modern diagnostic infrastructures.

Breeding centre…

Young ones jumping upon visitors for friendship would be usual scenes at the breeding centre of NTCD, which is truncated remotely from the training ground for some safety reasons. “This (breeding) centre has 10 air-conditioned kennels attached with a veterinary dispensary adjacently to handle any emergency treatments,” told Dr Popli. A tiny ‘agility’ park constructed near the centre is a ‘children’ park in real sense of the term where all small pups after 12 weeks of age play around. “Actually, this kind of outdoor activity is necessary for young pups socialising with various kinds of new sounds, touches… which we call socialisation, familiarisation, localisation and vocalisation,” explained Dr Popli.

“We monitor the behaviours and temperaments of each breed right from their puppy stages,” remarked Dr Popli. He added that if there is shy behaviour or submissive/dominance aggressions, they improve/remove at this early stage of life. Those low hurdles, mini tunnels and other play items installed in the tiny park help the puppies remove any kind of phobias of objects or obstacles. Concerning the diets of the amazing pooches, Dr Popli admitted that all dogs in the campus are fed with good quality dog foods specially formulated according to their age and size. His also mentioned the need for routine grooming done twice a day in the morning and evening for all dogs.

Beyond India…

So far so good… NTCD has trained 49 foreign handlers along with their pooches for a number of countries including Nepal, Ghana, Seychelles, Bhutan, Mauritius, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. And a total of 2,600 dogs and 4,672 handlers from both abroad and India have been trained till date by the centre. Home minister P Chidambaram who recently visited NTCD appreciated the facility saying that this is one of the best dog training centres in the world. K-9 Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) team from the US also visited NTCD this year and the team’s words of appreciation eulogised the centre for being of international standard. “ATA is now ready to extend technical collaboration and consultancy with us,” mentioned Dr Popli.

Big achievements…

A number of NTCD-trained dogs have received big applauses for their unrivalled performances in seizures of opium and other narcotic substances in India and various parts of the globe. A doggy named Tina in a Sri Lankan police department sniffed and detected high-intensity explosive implanted in a vehicle in 2006. An inspector general (IG) of Nepal Police appreciated India for providing highly intelligent detective dogs to his country with special highlights of NTCD’s dedicated efforts.

In addition, furry detectives who had been trained at NTCD did great jobs during big public events all across India. “A team of specially trained dogs was deployed during the recent XIX Commonwealth Games 2011; New Delhi for explosive detections in stadiums and transit buses,” mentioned Dr Popli.

Chosen breeds…

Breeds who are currently undergoing training at NTCD are predominantly GSDs, Labradors and rarely some Dobermans. “GSDs and Labradors are proven breeds for explosive and narcotic detections. Every defence department opted for these two breeds for such activities,” said Dr Popli. And he added, “We are however in the process/planning of introducing Cocker Spaniels, English Springer-Spaniel and Beagles for the jobs because these breeds have advantages of their sizes in activities to penetrate all narrow corners during detection jobs.” He further explained that it should be ensured that sniffing dogs leave not even an inch of the searched areas whether it is an aircraft or a sport stadium.

Godly tasks…

In connection with the unique characteristics of the furry detectives, Dr Popli remarked that God has given special tasks to our four-legged creatures to perform holy jobs that we human beings cannot do. “When they detect an explosive, it saves thousands of human lives,” he reasoned, signifying the contributions of dogs in the welfare of mankind. He added that NTCD is given assignments to take care of those furry angels in directing them towards the right directions.

“Dogs have very high power of sense, super detection power and peculiar supremacy of vision,” explained Dr Popli. Of course, when man can see an angle of 180o, dogs could do it upto 270o. Dogs can detect any unusual movements in crowded public areas and they are born with supernatural capability to hear pin drop sound. “In this respect, our agility trainings are carried out in such a manner that it could build up confidence in dogs to carry on all their special powers without fear or any complex,” added Dr Popli.

Future vision…

NTCD is the only established and fully developed training centre in India commanded by a veterinary officer and having vets as training and administrative officers as well. The centre foresees a broader prospect to magnify the overall training programmes and infrastructure of the centre. Dr Popli, who is honoured with President’s Police Meritorious Medal Awards presented by Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh, feels that NTCD will surface at a global platform soon. He mentioned that a Hydro Therapy Centre in an extended area and new technologies like dog-mounted video cameras will soon be some added features at NTCD!

Dog art connoisseur!

From nineteenth century dog paintings and collectibles to modern day dog art –William Secord Gallery has it all! Here’s more on this pawfect art gallery.

Established in 1990, William Secord Gallery in North America specialises in fine nineteenth century dog and animal paintings. It is a popular destination for those interested in dog art and collectibles. The founding director of The Dog Museum of America, William Secord is a specialist on nineteenth century dog paintings and as an author he has explored the representation of the dogs from their origins to the remarkable paintings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries up to modern times. He is the author of A Dog Painting, 1840-1940, a Social History of The Dog in Art, as well as three other books on nineteenth century dog paintings. While initially known for its antique dog paintings, the gallery has branched out to the contemporary market. Here’s what William Secord has to share about his passion.

Tryst with dog art…

“I was finishing my PhD at New York University when the American Kennel Club was starting what they then called The Dog Museum of America (Now called The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, Saint Louis, Missouri). They were looking for a director, and in 1981 they hired me. I stayed with the Museum until 1986, when they moved to St Louis, Missouri. I wanted to stay in New York, so I started working out of my apartment: writing about dog art and selling 19th century dog paintings,” told William Secord of William Secord Gallery.

The art gallery…

“I felt that in order to properly display an artist’s work in depth, one needed a gallery that was open to the public, on a regular basis. I worked privately out of my apartment for four years before opening my gallery at 52 East 76th Street in 1990,” he added.

Artists – then and now…

“Painters of dogs and animals were in the mainstream of art in the mid-nineteenth century. The best of them are exhibited at the Royal Academy in London and at other important venues. Today, the art world is much more heterogeneous, and realistic, contemporary dog paintings are no longer in the mainstream. Artists simply continue the tradition,” he shared adding, “The best known artists of 19th century were Sir Edwin Landseer, who was the animal painter for Queen Victoria, and in modern times, I am a big fan of the works of Christine Merrill and Pamela Hall.”

Favourite portrait…

“My favourite one is “Queen Victoria’s Favorite Pets,” by Edwin Landseer, because it is the quintessential pet portrait,” told William.

My lovely pet…

A dog art lover got to be a dog lover too. “Yes, I have a Dandie Dinmont Terrier, who is a companion animal. His father, though, twice won the breed at the Westminster Kennel Club,” concluded William.

History of dog art

(Excerpts: A Dog Painting, 1840-1940, a Social History of The Dog in Art by William Secord)

Queen Victoria, perhaps the archetypical nineteenth century animal lover, provided an extraordinary precedent for the commissioning and collecting of dog paintings. Her lead, as well as the active involvement of prominent dog fanciers, created and encouraged countless others. One can hardly imagine nineteenth century painting, for instance, without the sometimes anthropomorphic paintings of Sir Edwin Landseer, one of Queen Victoria’s favourite artists. His work for the Queen and Prince Albert, in England as well as in the Scottish Highlands, provides a fascinating chronicle of the many breeds whose companionship the royal couple enjoyed.

Nor was their patronage limited to Landseer, for Burton Barber, Gourlay Steell, Muad Earl and Friedrich Wilhelm Keyl to name a few, were also employed to depict royal pets.

This interest in chronicling one’s pet, pure-bred or otherwise, was certainly not limited to royalty and in the last quarter of the nineteenth century pet portraits reached a height of popularity.

Two important categories of dog painting emerge. The first includes depictions of sporting dogs and hounds, painted to illustrate the superior working abilities of the animals. The second is that of the pure-bred dog, depicted to illustrate the breed characteristics in general and the finer points of one animal in particular.

A third category of dog painting may also be delineated, one which by its nature in more generic—that of the pet portrait. While pure-bred dog fanciers may have celebrated the finer points of their breed, the owner of a beloved pet, whether pure-bred or not, was no less interested in having a lasting portrayal of his dog.

The pet dog might also be pure-bred, but in the pet portrait the intention was to depict the dog more casually in a domestic environment. The pet portrait portrayed the animal engaging in typical canine activities such as resting, sleeping, begging or performing tricks.

These three categories also relate to parallel developments in the United States, although the pure-bred dog portrait did not become as popular there until the early twentieth century. Dog painting in nineteenth century America was dominated by the sporting breeds, which was among the first to be shown in organised American dog shows.

In America, similar, if somewhat later developments created fascinating chronicle of American dogs. While Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait predominated in the nineteenth century, others such as Percival Rosseau, Edmund Osthaus, Gustav Muss-Arnolt and J M Tracy became known for their portraits of sporting dogs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

CGS Hospital | where joy is infectious!

Cuddle, Goldy and Spotty (CGS) Hospital is the place to be when you are looking for medical, grooming and boarding needs for your pets. This recently launched hospital offers comprehensive high quality veterinary care with an emphasis on exceptional client service and patient care.

CGS Hospital is a DLF initiative to provide excellent veterinary facility for pets and pet lovers. Inaugurated by Kavita Singh, the hospital is spread over 1.25 acres of land, with a covered area of 17,000 sq ft and its facility boasts of the best doctors and amenities.

The expertise…

Dr Samar Mahendran, director of the hospital, comes with an extensive experience of 22 years. He has expertise in soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries.

He is well supported by a team of veterinary ultrasonologist, radiologist, pathologist, anesthesiologist’s orthopedic surgeon and other experts.

The facilities…

At CGS Hospital, they have two OPDs for dogs and a common OPD for cats & birds, which is operational for seven days a week. The experienced vets have access to the best diagnostic aids, which help them in competently handling cases referred from local practitioners. Besides, they have high standard laboratories for the examinations of organ function tests for screening liver, kidney, pancreas, blood sugar, etc; urine routine and culture/sensitivity; blood culture; cytology of ears/tumors/vaginal smears; hormone levels detection and histopathological studies. The hospital is fully equipped for surgery and anaesthesia, computed radiography, diagnostic endoscopy, dentistry, laser lithotripsy, ultrasound, CO2 laser surgeries, gaseous anaesthesia, micro chipping and de-worming.

CGS Hospital also offers a home away from home for your pets while you are not there. A relaxed and comfortable environment is provided for them where they can enjoy their stay. Besides, there is inpatient boarding facility, grooming parlor, pet shop and open play area. At CGS, pet parents can be assured of the best environment – temperature and humidity controlled environment, clean and comfortable bedding. Attentive staff ensures the compartments and exercise areas are clean and comfortable for pets. They are monitored very carefully during their stay for elimination habits, appetite and overall well being. Besides, they are fed premium food and exercised twice a day in a large fenced area.

In a nutshell, CGS Hospital cares for your pets, just like you would care for them.

Frame your Heartbeat!

What better way to show your love for your pet than to have him painted on a canvas? Here, we bring two artists – Gita Bhattacharjee from India and Lisa Graziotto from Canada who create canine portraits – helping people make their pets immortal.

The beginning…

Lisa Graziotto is an artist in Toronto, Canada who paints canine portraits with a difference! “My first artistic attempt was a drawing of a dog I did at the age of 14 months…my destiny to become an artist was sealed for me with that drawing. Several years ago, my dog Dylan passed away… one day while sitting alone in the studio missing him, I painted his portrait…I moved on to another dog portrait, then another…this continued until I had both a portfolio and the confidence to show the work in public…I started off with dogs shows before a few American galleries pursued my work to be hung in their space…since then, I have been painting for my clients around the world who have seen my work either online, at a gallery, in a show or on television,” told Lisa.

While, for Gita Bhattacharjee, painting is her passion since childhood. “It’s my first love. My husband Nikhil encouraged and supported me to pursue art as a career. Since last nine years, I have been pursuing art as a profession. As an artist, I am improving and becoming better, each moment I spend with my paintings. Art is about expressing one’s inner feeling towards something i.e. an idea, or thoughts or beliefs. The beauty of nature and love for animals inspires me, so I have chosen nature and wildlife as my favorite subjects for painting. I am a realistic artist and my works involve paintings of landscape, wildlife, tiger, still life, flower, fruit, instrumental, pet animals (dog, cat, etc), animal portraits etc,” shared Gita.

Paintings that talk…

“I like to refer my work as, ‘a painting that tells a story about the subject’…often I will include something in the portrait that appertains to the life of the dog/cat… a toy, a certain collar, a specific background such as a lake, cottage, park or couch…by incorporating some of these details in the composition, I create a narrative about the subject… it is this narrative that gives viewers of the painting an idea of the nature of the dog/cat. My goal is to produce a piece of art that will reflect the nature of their dog/cat so that when they look upon the painting, they feel the presence of their beloved friend,” added Lisa.

“In the process of creation of any painting the most challenging work is fusion of composition and emotion/feelings. Composition is principle of all art, it is an arrangement of different elements, colour balances that contribute to the overall effect of paintings composition and emotion is the major part of what catches the eyes and stirs the soul. To make pet or animal portrait, the most striking feature is to bring life to the eyes: eyes speaks with you, connect with you, it can create an emotional bond with the viewer.

Besides, balance of nose, ears, mouth etc is equally important in creating a pet portrait. Each and every moment of creativity is a challenge till you reach up to the level when you find you have done justice to your work. Once I start my work, the painting gets finished only ‘till life on canvas” can be felt,’ told Gita.

The soothing effect…

“A couple of years ago, a client emailed me asking to paint a portrait of her dog Zack. Her husband died suddenly a few weeks after they discussed the idea to contact me. He died of heart attack one day in December while walking with Zack in the park…he was 36 and a new dad to a baby of just a few months old! While we talked, a very clear vision of what the painting should look like entered in my mind…I told her about it…Zack would be in a park setting with snow all around, the time of day would be just before dusk…Zack would be sitting, looking directly at the viewer…under his paw, I would paint a black and white photo of her husband…the photo would look like it is about to blow away if Zack were to lift his paw up.

The client cried after I explained my idea for the composition. She said that this was the first time she had cried since her husband died. She thanked me and hung up. I spent the next few weeks alone in the studio working on this portrait…at one point, I ‘felt’ her husband standing next to me while I was putting the finishing touches on the painting…the painting was a huge part of my clients’ healing process…,” narrated Lisa.

“I have got lot of appreciation from dog lovers/art lovers for the innovative idea of introducing pet paintings and pet portraits,” told Gita.

The undying inspiration…

“Dylan was always by my side and loved being in the studio with me….he would sometimes walk around with a paint brush in his mouth! I used to wonder what he would create if he had the thumbs to really work the brush? I joke now by saying that Dylan is now able to work ‘through’ me painting a subject matter which he can totally relate to! I miss that boy…,” told Lisa. It is said that dogs target rabbit as prey but Ginny (German Spitz) & Tap (rabbit) together have proved this wrong.

One day, after giving Tap his meal I went to the other room for some work. When I came out, I witnessed a roller coaster site wherein Tap, my rabbit was running after Ginny coz Ginny had stolen Tap’s food. Tap was running like Tom and Ginny was trying to escape like Jerry. It took me few minutes to calm both of them.

“The beautiful relationship which I share with my pet babies motivates me to create pet paintings. Whenever I start my work, Ginny always wants to sit next to me, she even sometimes plays with colours to get attention.

In all my pet paintings, you will find little bit of my pet babies Ginny & Tap,” concluded Gita enthusiastically.

PETA: Compassion for all

Passion for compassion always brings out the best in a person and sets up an example for all to see…that’s how PETA came into being. Here’s more on this noble organisation.

Compassion….all through!

When I was seven years old, my parents moved to New Delhi where my father worked as a navigational engineer and my mother volunteered for Mother Teresa and various charities. My early volunteer experiences–packing pills and rolling bandages for people who were suffering from leprosy, stuffing toys for orphans, stopping a man from beating an exhausted bullock, and feeding stray animals–led me to understand my mother’s words, “It doesn’t matter who suffers, it matters that they suffer.” In other words, every individual is worthy of concern.

However, until I was 21, I had given no thought to animal rights per se or even vegetarianism. In 1970, however, when a neighbour abandoned some kittens and I decided to take them to an animal shelter, my life changed. I resigned from my job and went to the shelter to clean kennels and investigate cruelty cases.

PETA US comes into being

While working at an animal shelter in Washington, a young man came in to volunteer and gave me a copy of the well known philosophy professor Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation. This book motivated me to form PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) US. PETA US first uncovered the abuse of animals in experiments in 1981 and launched the precedent-setting ‘Silver Spring monkeys’ case.

PETA India…a girl’s promise kept

When I was a little girl, I had promised myself that I would come back to India to help animals, and I did. I founded PETA India in 2000.

I am involved in all areas of work by PETA US, PETA India and other international affiliates, but we employ many caring and creative people who work tirelessly to spread a message of compassion.

It’s through these staff that for example, in India, we enlist the help of celebrities like Malaika Arora Khan who recently appeared in an ad encouraging people to boycott animal circuses, John Abraham who helps animals in so many ways including by speaking out against the cruel killing of pigs for meat, and R Madhavan who sat in a cage to help people consider the plight of chickens killed for meat and to encourage them to go vegetarian.

PETA’s activities…

We operate under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA India and its affiliates focus attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time, such as slaughter industry, laboratories, fur and leather trade and entertainment industry.

We also actively promote sterilization of companion animals to prevent homeless animals being hurt on the street, and encourage people to adopt needy dogs and cats from shelters rather than buying them from breeders or pet stores, which only promote more breeding and which result in dogs and cats with genetic inbreeding disorders.

We also rescue neglected and abused animals who are forced to pull heavy carts and carriages.

Dogs plight in India…

All over India, around 25 millions of Indian dogs struggle to survive on the streets. Many of them starve, are injured, hit by vehicles, or abused by cruel people. Countless others are housed in animal shelters because there aren’t enough good homes for them. Breeders, pet stores, and people who don’t spay and neuter their animals are to blame for much of the animal overpopulation. Every time someone buys a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store, a homeless animal roaming the streets or waiting in a shelter loses a chance at a home–and a good life.

The solution is simple: Animal Birth Control (ABC). Spaying one female dog can prevent 67,000 births in six years, and spaying one female cat can prevent 420,000 births in seven years—animals who will never suffer and never end up abandoned on the streets or dumped at animal shelters. Sterilized animals also live healthier & longer lives.

Message to the readers…

Please be actively kind. Look for ways to help. Never pass a stray in need. Be a friend in deed and in word by educating others to the animals’ plight. Always spay and neuter, and if you have the time and resources, please adopt an Indian dog from the shelter or streets, encouraging others to do the same.

Yap! Lap!

Yappy hours for your pooch

US-based Bark Vineyards offers premium canine wine and spirits for your pooches. When you hear the words Fine Wine for the Canine, perhaps the first question that comes to your mind is, “Is this really a wine?” The answer is “No”. Manufactured in a FDA approved facility using only human grade ingredients, Bark Vineyards makes a premium au-jus, designed to be poured over our furry friend’s meal. With clever names such as Barkundy, Pinot Leasheo, Sauvignon Bark and White Sniff-n-Tail combined with beautifully designed labels, Bark Vineyards has been quite the “in” means for the four legged members of the family to enjoy a relaxing evening drink with their human companions. The beauty of the labels has created a demand from wine collectors and art lovers.

The idea was conceived by Kathleen Ramsey who embarked on creating a healthy and fun au-jus or gravy for dogs, which can be presented as a fine wine. Commenting on the rapid growth and success of this start-up company Ramsey says, “Bark Vineyards was a novelty idea that turned into a success with not only wine lovers but people who love their dogs and cats like their children.”

If you wish to have more info about these drinks for your canine, log on to www.barkvineyards.com