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  • James Franco is 'Making a Scene' on AOL

    James Franco is 'Making a Scene' on AOL

    James Franco is 'Making a Scene' on AOL James Franco recreates iconic movie scenes in the new short-form series on AOL. Check out this story on USATODAY.com: http://usat.ly/1uebyNd There are multi-hyphenates and then there's James Franco.

  • Quentin Tarantino to curate his New Beverly Cinema

    Quentin Tarantino to curate his New Beverly Cinema

    Writer and director Quentin Tarantino has officially added another title to his already packed resume. As the programmer of The New Beverly Cinema , the cult filmmaker will now act as curator of the vintage, Los Angeles arthouse theater.

  • A masterpiece of unease

    A masterpiece of unease

    One of the best Sundays for choice features almost a dozen films that could have been named Best of the Week including a trinity that BC on TV found impossible to separate at the top as well as, today, a modern reworking of Henry Fielding , last week's top Western and a decent Clint Western . The week includes seven films that could all have been named Best of the Week in almost any other week of the year .

  • Harvey Weinstein Renounces Earlier Renunciation Of Violent Films?

    Harvey Weinstein Renounces Earlier Renunciation Of Violent Films?

    As we reported in January , the movie tycoon and Obama fundraiser had, at that time, announced his intention to "make a movie with Meryl Streep" that would make the NRA "wish they weren't alive a ." We had suggested that perhaps Weinstein was not the best person to lecture the rest of America on the evils of firearms and how he doesn't "think we need guns in this country."

  • Quentin Tarantino's new film gets distributor

    Quentin Tarantino's new film gets distributor

    Quentin Tarantino attends Comic-Con International 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 27, 2014 in San Diego, California. The Weinstein Company said Wednesday it will distribute the writer-director's post-Civil War Western -- in the largest 70mm release in 20 years.

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  • Since my life changed with the birth of my daughter I have not had the time to devote to blogging. While the sites in the portfolio have remained online and I hope people have found the content helpful, I have not been able to give the sites the attention they deserve and therefore have decided […]
 
 
  • Celebrity Dog Watcher - Digging up Celebrity Dog News - Arf!
  • Miley Cyrus? Prison-Quality Dog Tattoo: I Just Spit Out My Coffee

    Miley Cyrus? Prison-Quality Dog Tattoo: I Just Spit Out My Coffee
    Miley Cyrus Gets a Prison-Quality Tattoo of her dog – That crazy Miley is at it again with another questionable decision, this time getting a poor-quality tattoo of her late dog, Floyd under her left arm. (Floyd was unfortunately killed by a coyote a few weeks ago) Yes, it says, “With a little help from […]
  • Lady Gaga & Her French Bulldog, Asia

    Lady Gaga & Her French Bulldog, Asia
    Lady Gaga’s Dog: A French Bulldog Named, Asia: “It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M Just put your paws up ’cause you were born this way, baby” - Lady Gaga, Born This Way Not sure if Lady Gaga was inspired by her female French Bulldog puppy, Asia, when she wrote that song, […]
  • Most Expensive Dog Wedding Ever: Guinness Book of World Records

    Most Expensive Dog Wedding Ever: Guinness Book of World Records
    The Most Expensive Dog Wedding Ever occurred last year between Baby Hope Diamond (a Coton de Tulear, right) and Chilly Pasternak (a poodle, left) to take the Guiness Book of World Records spot for the most expensive pet wedding ever at over $250k. The dog wedding took place at the Jumeriah Essex House Hotel in […]
  • Duck Dynasty Gets a New Dog (Doesn?t Look Like a Retriever!)

    Duck Dynasty Gets a New Dog (Doesn?t Look Like a Retriever!)
    Dog Dynasty? With all of the controversy swirling around Duck Dynasty, (Phil Robertson’s anti-gay remarks) it’s nice to get a happy distraction. Jep Robertson, and his wife Jessica introduced a new member of the family this month; a puppy named, “Gizmo.” (Maybe named after that fuzzy Gremlin?) From this photo, it looks like Gizmo is […]
  • Justin Long Loves Amanda Seyfried?s Dog, Finn

    Justin Long Loves Amanda Seyfried?s Dog, Finn
    Justin Long Loves Amanda Seyfried’s Dog, Finn – Amanda Seyfried and boyfriend Justin Long were first spotted as an item over the summer, but now it looks like things have heated up between Justin and…. her dog, Finn. Well, good for the three of them. Looks like they are all happy. Here’s a photo that […]
 
 
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  • 500th Chihuahua airlifted from California

    500th Chihuahua airlifted from California
    Many elements came together to make southern California a Perfect Storm for Chihuahua overpopulation. First, with sarcastic thanks to Madonna, Pamela, Britany, she-who-won't-be-named on this blog, and all the rest who posed with the tiny dogs making them a fashion statement. Then puppy millers flooded the market because they could be bred in small spaces and didn't eat much. Wannabes bought them and then discarded them like last year's shoes. Of couse no one made...
  • The Poodle drone -- is it too brutal for modern warfare?

    The Poodle drone -- is it too brutal for modern warfare?
    Thanks to Phyllis Hennel Wise
  • A unique solution to the dog poop on your lawn problem

    A unique solution to the dog poop on your lawn problem
    Annie Preece loves dogs. In fact she is a dog owner herself and her West Hollywood neighborhood is filled with dogs ? and owners who don't pick up after them. Finally she had enough and posted a sign in her yard "To the person who lets their dog poop on our lawn and doesn't clean it up: First of all, it's beyond rude." She went on to threaten anyone who would not pick up their...
  • It's been several years now...

    It's been several years now...
    --since I last wrote a post about she-who-won't-be-named-on-my-blog. But she's back because of recently: Buying a teacup Pomeranian puppy 2½ inches long and under 2 inches tall On the internet For a reported $13,000 - $20,000 From a puppy broker/seller Named Joanne Pauze Who owns Betty's Teacup Yorkies Which is a home-based business in Canada Which buys dogs from breeders in Korea And who shared all the details with TMZ And who now expects that...
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  • Are Some Dogs Pessimists, or Are They Just Being Realistic?

    Are Some Dogs Pessimists, or Are They Just Being Realistic?

    Few phrases trigger my skepticism (which some claim is overactive anyway) like the words "a study says ..." Those three words are used as cover for more spectacular levels of pseudo-scientific BS than anything else, with the possible exception of corporate tax returns. Those, as everyone should know, are in an exceptional class of their own.

    However, on reading about a recent study from the University of Sydney that dogs' personalities are either optimistic or pessimistic, my usual surge of cynicism was lacking. In fact, my emotional response was really more of a Keanu Reeves-style "Well, duh."

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    Border Collie Hiding Under Blanket by Shutterstock.

    Let me finesse that a bit: I'm all for the study's conclusions, but how researchers got there does seem a little dodgy to me.

    First, let's look at the subjects of the study: The study, titled Canine Sense and Sensibility: Tipping Points and Response Latency Variability as an Optimism Index in a Canine Judgment Bias Assessment ran behavioral tests on 40 dogs of various breeds. The most common breed was German Shepherd (nine dogs). That's not a bad start as studies go, but when you're making sweeping conclusions about dog psychology, it's still just a start.

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    Labrador Retriever in Clinic by Shutterstock.

    The methodology involved training each dog to push a button after hearing one of two tones. One tone meant they would get rewarded with lactose-free milk; the other meant they'd just get water. The dogs were encouraged to push the button at the milk tone, and to abstain from pushing it when the water tone rang. After they'd learned that, the scientists started to introduce two new tones, pitched between the "milk" and "water" tones.

    The scientists judged how optimistic or pessimistic a dog was based on how often the dog pushed the button after hearing the intermediate tones. A dog who kept pushing the button hoping to get the milk treat was graded to be more optimistic; a dog who didn't was graded as more pessimistic. As the abstract puts it, "This indicates that judgment bias ... exists in dogs and differs between dogs."

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    French bullgog lying down after walk. by Shutterstock.

    However, "judgment bias" is different than optimism or pessimism, which have their own value judgments embedded in them. It's one thing to get frustrated about pushing a button for a reward. However, when my friends accuse me of being pessimistic, they usually mean that I have a tendency to see the universe as a bleak and absurd place, and that I believe in the end we will all be devoured by Cthulhu when he arises from his sleep in his house at R'lyeh. (Okay, I don't go quite that far.)

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    The Washington Post quotes Marc Bekoff, a professor emeritus from the University of Colorado, on some of the pluses and minuses that he sees in the study: "The paradigm of the study is great -- most dog studies use 10 dogs or so, and this has 40 dogs of all different breeds and ages. And it's possible that these dogs were pessimists -- but maybe they just gave up."

    Bekoff has a good point: Calling something "optimistic" or "pessimistic" implies that it's not justified by the facts. It could be, depending on the distribution of the tones, that the dogs are simply being realistic about their chances of getting a treat.

    Bekoff says that in general, the study has some interesting implications: "Especially in dogs who are abused early on, you definitely see animals who just really won't work that hard to get love or affection, having failed before," he told the Post. "I think it's perfectly legitimate to say that there are optimistic and pessimistic dogs -- and that you can change their behavior."

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    A dog enjoying a car ride by Shutterstock.

    Ultimately, the study aimed to figure out which dogs can be trained for specific tasks. For instance, the dogs who were "pessimistic" were better candidates to act as service dogs for disabled people, specifically because they were reluctant to take unnecessary risks. On the other hand, "optimistic" dogs might be more suited for search and rescue missions because they're ready to take risks.

    I don't know whether the button tests are convincing evidence that dogs are optimistic or pessimistic. My own experiences with dogs feel like better proof of that. My mother-in-law's dog, Honey, seems to be an unquenchable optimist. Whenever I go into the kitchen after dinner, she follows looking up at me with unquenchable hope and hunger. She's much more likely to get food from almost anyone else in the house because I'm not a soft touch. But I'm the one with the table scraps, and so there she is.

    Ultimately, dogs are socially complicated animals, and it wouldn't surprise me to know that they can be as pessimistic as the rest of us. I'm just not sure if you get that from a simple button-pushing test.

    What about you? Tell us whether your dog tends towards optimism or pessimism, and how that manifests in daily life.

    Via The Washington Post and PLOS One

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  • Meet Captain, an Abandoned Bulldog With Severe Mange Who Needs a Forever Home

    Meet Captain, an Abandoned Bulldog With Severe Mange Who Needs a Forever Home

    We've talked about the dreaded skin condition mange in the past -- the causes and treatments, and whether it's contagious from dogs to humans. We've even written about some rescues with severe cases, like Bethany and this mother along with all her puppies

    But nothing prepared us for this Olde English Bulldogge called Captain, who was found as a stray and ended up a shelter in Madera, California. His mange is so bad he's basically scars.

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    And that shelter is where it could have ended for Captain, if not for Recycled Pets NorCal. The rescue pulled the 64-pound dog, saving his life, and has been bringing him back to health, chronicling his recovery with photos on its Facebook page.

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    "Captain has SEVERE demodex," writes the group on Captain's YouCaring.com fundraising page. "It is clear this has been a problem for quite some time as his skin just oozes with blood and pus and he doesn't seem to notice it. He has almost no hair but scars everywhere."

    Captain received treatment for his mange at Blue Ravine Animal Hospital. 

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    "It will take some time for his skin to get better, then we will do bloodwork, get his teeth cleaned and neuter him," continues the text on the YouCaring page. "Until then he is on a super high dosage of antibiotics because the bacterial infection all over his body. He is on Ivomec, super high-quality kibble, vitamins and probiotics, plus he is getting medicated baths. Luckily, I am an expert in skin care and I hope this guy heals up fast!"

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    Once Captain is better, he'll be available for adoption in the Sacramento area, according to his Facebook page. Fortunately, he's adjusting nicely to life in a loving home, complete with a Bulldog buddy to spend his time with.

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    Check out Captain's Facebook pageRecycled Pets NorCal's Facebook page, and Captain's fundrasing page on YouCaring.com.

    Read more about rescue on Dogster:

  • This Samoyed Has an Insatiable Appetite for Dirty Underwear

    This Samoyed Has an Insatiable Appetite for Dirty Underwear

    Kaye Banks didn't witness her Samoyed, Brian, devouring the pair of silk thong underpants that she'd taken off and set out to wash last week in Brampton, northern England. It's certainly not very pleasant pondering why a dog would choose to swallow dirty panties and not some other item from the laundry pile, such as a linen napkin. But that's exactly what you and I have just pondered.

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    Soon after his panty picnic, four-year-old Brian fell ill.

    "I got really worried when he wasn?t eating properly and he regurgitated his food undigested," 47-year-old Banks told the Telegraph

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    Brian was rushed to Abbey Vets in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, whose staff "could see a big bulge on the X-ray," Banks explained, "but they weren?t sure what it was."

    Brian was wheeled into emergency surgery, where vets worked on him for two hours.

    ?When they pulled out a black lacy thong," Banks remembered, "everyone had a bit of a shock."

     

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    Four days later, Brian was declared well enough to return home.

    But within hours of his homecoming, Banks' daughter Charlotte noticed that a certain item of her clothing had mysteriously vanished.

    "I put a pink lace thong in the washing basket," Charlotte told her mother, "and now it?s gone."

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    A quick trip back to Abbey Vets revealed Brian as the thong-munching culprit once again. Apparently major surgery and his previous pukefest had taught him nothing. 

    ?He?s a bit cheeky, and he often roots through handbags or bags of shopping and he?s occasionally chewed on the odd sock, but nothing like this," Banks told the Telegraph. "I couldn?t believe it when we?d just got him home and it happened again."

    Henceforth, "it?s underwear straight into the washing machine where he can?t get at them," Banks said.

    That's good advice for all of us. You never know who's walking around the house wanting a snack.

    Illlustrations by Anneli Rufus.

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  • Today We Honor Military Working Dogs

    Today We Honor Military Working Dogs

    Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and people across the country are taking time to remember prisoners of war and those who are missing in action. At Dogster, we believe it's appropriate to revisit one of our favorite subjects: military working dogs.

    Here's a round-up of some of the stories about military dogs we've done in the past year, plus some stories about the stateside dogs of those serving -- and there's a look at what may be the future of military dogs.   

    1. Animal Planet's Glory Hounds Follows Military Dogs in Afghanistan

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    From the story:

    Did you know that when Seal Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden, a military dog was part of the raid, working with his handler? Did you know that the military has more than 600 working military dogs in Afghanistan, protecting soldiers and civilians, sniffing out bombs and tracking insurgents? 

    In Afghanistan, military dogs have proved crucial, the best defense against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are hidden randomly in the sand. As such, the dogs are also prime targets for the Taliban. They take on the most dangerous roles and develop intense bonds with their handlers.

    Read the rest of the story here.  

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    2. Monument for Military Dogs Is Set to Open in San Antonio

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    A model of the monument.

    From the story:

    The monument is the passion of 65-year-old John Burnam, who served as a scout dog handler in Vietnam.

    "I experienced firsthand how valuable these dogs are at saving soldiers' lives," Burnam said in a press statement. "Yet, despite their value, when we pulled out of Vietnam the dogs were left behind. They were fellow soldiers and they were our best friends. They were heroes and they were left to die. So I was determined to get the dogs, of all wars, recognized at the highest level of our nation's government and then build them a magnificent national monument to ensure they would never be forgotten again." 

    Read the rest of the story here. 

    3. A Military Dog Is Captured by the Taliban

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    From the story:

    On Thursday, the Afghan Taliban said it had captured a U.S. military dog and posted a video of the dog online. In the video, the dog is wearing a "complex harness" and mills around members of the Taliban, clearly frightened. 

    According to the Guardian, the dog appears to be Belgian Sheepdog. The paper talked to "an experienced dog handler" who has worked in Afghanistan, who said the dog "just wants to get back to his handler. 

    Though early reports said the dog was from the U.S. military, the Pentagon finally weighed in and said the dog did not belong to U.S. forces, but rather British.  

    4. Lucca the Three-Legged Retired Military Dog Has Been Nominated for a Hero Dog Award

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    From the story:

    Lucca is a nine-year-old German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix. She is now retired after serving in the United States Marine Corps for six years. During her service, Lucca was the victim of an explosion in Afghanistan. She suffered serious burns to her chest and torso, and her left front leg had to be amputated. However, her sacrifice helped spare the lives of the humans on patrol with her, and she was saved after being evacuated immediately. If that doesn't make her a Monday Miracle, we don't know what does!

    Her injury occurred in March of last year, but she didn't officially retire until May 2012, when she was adopted by her original handler. In the past year, Lucca has been living the good life as a family pet and as an ambassador for all soldier dogs. She even got to ride on the "Canines With Courage" float in the Rose Parade, debuting a mock-up of the U.S. Military Dog Teams National Monument.

    Read the rest of the story here. 

    5. Dogs on Deployment Helps Our Troops Keep Their Pets

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    Shawn and Alisa Johnson with their two dogs, Jersey and JD, and their parrot, Kiki.

    From the story:

    Since June of 2011, Dogs on Deployment has helped nearly 200 pets find temporary homes [while their owners are on deployment]. It uses Facebook to spread the word about animals in need, which helps introduce the organization to the public and within the military, which offers its members no official support or education for pet ownership.

    "At least once a day, I get a call about a service member who turned in their dog to a shelter. Not everyone has the education we have as pet owners," Alisa explains. She says that just as the military provides information about financial planning, it should teach service members what it means to be a responsible pet owner. She hopes to one day get such information dispensed through official channels and for the organization to become officially recommended by military assistance organizations and base family-support centers. Until then, the Dogs on Deployment team, which also includes Navy Lt. Theresa Donnelly, uses networking and word of mouth to reach pet owners in need.

    Read the rest of the story here.

    6. Robot Dog Cujo Goes on Military Training Missions

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    From the story:

    Nicknamed Cujo by his fellow soldiers -- hat tip on the name, Marines -- the dog can walk and run over rugged terrain, following a soldier while carrying 400 pounds and maneuvering around large objects, according to the Daily Mail. Cujo is a pack mule, basically, but one who can scare enemies back to bed. 

    One of his main acts in the Hawaii training sessions was to bring water and supply to various platoons in the training area, many of which were located in rough terrain that could not be accessed by all-terrain vehicles. 

    Read the rest of the story here. 

    7. Prepare to Bawl Over These Videos of Sick Dogs Reunited With Their Military Dads

    From the story:

    The first video is ruthless. A dog named Kermie, cancer-stricken and dying, held on just long enough to greet her returning Dad, a sailor who was stationed overseas for eight months.

    According to the New York Daily News, a month after Navy Hospital Corpsman Eric Ralston was deployed to Guam, his wife received horrible news -- Kermie had oral cancer and had three months to live.  

    ?We were devastated to say the least,? Jennifer Ralston posted on YouTube. ?Kermie was our first child, and we did not think Eric would ever get to see her again.?

    Kermie grew sick and weak, but she hung on, long enough to have this ridiculously tender moment with her dad:

    ?His return was some sort of magic pill for her. She began eating and drinking again, without struggle!? Jennifer said. ?Watching the homecoming video, you cannot even see the struggles of the previous months.?

    Read the rest of the story here. 

    Have you any experience with military dogs? Or thoughts about their role? Let us know in the comments.

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  • For World Gratitude Day: Why We're Grateful for Our Dogs

    For World Gratitude Day: Why We're Grateful for Our Dogs

    Sunday is World Gratitude Day, and like any self-respecting pup-centric publication, we're taking it as our cue to talk about why we're grateful to have dogs. I invited our writers to share the many reasons they're grateful for their dogs (both past and present), and they sent me some of the sweetest notes I've received in my inbox in ages. We'll get to those in a little bit -- one of the perks of being the one tasked with compiling a roundup like this is I get to go first! And I could write a bloody novel about why I'm grateful for my dog this year.

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    My heart dog, Mr. Moxie.

    Last November, I wrote a Thanksgiving post detailing the reasons why I was thankful to have my own pup, Mr. Moxie, in my life. I didn't think I could get more grateful, having been given the chance to keep him when my then-partner and I called it quits. But then Mox had to go and throw himself out of a third-story window in May. And now, seeing him dance around the apartment with what was a completely mangled leg four months ago, I have new reasons to be grateful. He's finishing his rehab program, and his leg is finally out of the splint it was in for months. He's gone from limping to putting weight on his limb, and though he'll have to wear a brace from now on when he runs at the park, I know I'm going to bawl the day he's ready for that. I will sometimes pick him up and press his forehead into mine and tell him how thankful and how terribly relieved I am. He is a ridiculous, sweet, one-woman dog, and I am so happy to be that woman.

    OK, time for our writers to share their thoughts. And I would love if you do the same below, too. 

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    Daisy's Saint Bernard, Monkey.

    From Dogster Writer Daisy Barringer:

    Monkey is my first-ever dog. Yes, I got a Saint Bernard as my first dog. I live large. So does he. (Literally and metaphorically.) I knew that bringing a dog into my home would be a lot of work, but I don't think I realized quite how much work. Still, it?s all worth it. The drool, the snoring, the tumbleweeds of hair. I wouldn?t trade any of it, because it?s all part of what makes Monkey, well, Monkey: a goofy, loving, stubborn, clumsy, lazy, loyal pup. Who just so happens to give me purpose every single day. (Even if sometimes that purpose is figuring out how to scoop a massive pile of poop into one tiny plastic bag.) But that face and those kisses ... they make it all worth it. Discovering my heart is so much bigger than I ever thought? That's the biggest gift anyone?s ever given me. I never would have thought it would come from a dog. I'm so lucky to have him in my life and I tell him every day. Via belly rubs, of course. 

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    Crystal's pup, Pinch.

    From Dogster Writer Crystal Gibson:

    As an expat in France who has moved around quite a bit, I'm so grateful for my little dog, Pinch. At times, he's been my only friend, my only company, and the only one I've let see me cry when the homesickness got really bad (and I'm grateful to him for licking the tears off my face). I don't think I could have braved this expat life nearly as well without my little sausage-shaped sidekick, and my love for Pinch is matched only by the gratitude I have for him being in my life.

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    Our very own Annie Phenix.

    From Dogster Training Columnist Annie Phenix:

    A reporter recently asked me to describe why we have dogs in one word. The word came to me easily: joy. There is no greater reason to have a dog than for the joy they bring to our lives, and they do so with no words -? just tail wags and happy feet. Dogs are joyous about things we have forgotten to be happy about: running outside at full speed or playing with our friends. Something as simple as a small piece of a hot dog makes a dog?s day. Dogs remind me to be in the present moment, to play, to be silly, and to give and accept love freely, without reservations or conditions.

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    "Spot called dibs on the sunny chair. Dolly ignored him. I laughed," says Pam.

    From Dogster Writer Pam Mitchell:

    I can't imagine life without Dolly and Spot. My best friends for more than a decade, they make me smile and laugh and feel unconditionally loved. I am grateful for the excited greeting sweet D. gives me whenever I walk through the front door. I am thankful for the nightly scratchies for which Spotty crawls into my lap. I appreciate every sigh and snuggle, each wet kiss and stinky fart. Dolly and Spot are my loves.

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    Heather and Ghost Buster

    From Dogster Writer Heather Marcoux:

    A couple of weeks ago I was really sick. I ended up curling up in a ball on my kitchen floor waiting for my husband to come home. GhostBuster did not leave my side during this time. He stayed with me and licked the back of my head for 20 minutes. I know that?s gross, but I am grateful for my boy?s incredible love and loyalty. Even if it is gross.

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    Melvin's pup, Idris.

    From Dogster Writer Melvin Pena:

    My last dog, Tina, and I had a comfortable, established routine when she passed away in April. I've had my new dog, Idris, for five of her 10 months on Earth, and we still don't quite mesh; we still haven't developed a routine that works for both of us. I'm grateful for her all the same. Why? Because Idris teaches me that any relationship worth committing to is worth patient investment.

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    Dawn's pupster, Chachi.

    From Dogster Writer Dawn Taylor-Church:

    Dear Chachi, thank you for choosing me. Even from the moment we met, for greeting me with obvious and abundant affection. Everyone else seemed to get low growls, raised lip, sometimes a bark or nip. But always sunshine for me! It's a mystery why you chose me ?- how you knew we were meant to be together ?- but thank you.

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    From Dogster Breed Expert Caroline Coile:

    I'm grateful for my dogs, for without them I would never know how to repair drywall, put in a doggy door, sew up a sofa cushion, use a wet-vac, or balance in my sleep with one hand bracing me from being pushed off the bed!

    About the Author: Janine is your typical annoying Aries overachiever with nine human siblings and a soft spot for sighthounds. She is a tattoo collector, tea drinker, and unabashedly into marshmallows and cheesy musicals. Janine believes responsible breeders exist -- her dog is from one. She runs the show as editor-in-chief of Dogster and Catster.

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