Friday, December 18, 2009

The NYT Says, "Meet Ruppy"

You won't have met Ruppy at the Dog Park. Ruppy doesn't get out much. He's the first of a new breed of dogs, according to The New York Times Magazine in its 9th Annual Year in Ideas issue (Dec. 13, 2009). (To read the article, click here and scroll down to "Glow-in-the-Dark Dog, The.") Ruppy is mostly a beagle, but he also hosts genes from a sea anemone, which means that his skin glows red when viewed under ultraviolet light. He is the first of his kind, a transgenic dog.

The point of making Ruppy (Ruby + Puppy = Ruppy; cute) fluorescent is to help fertility researchers study hormones. The researchers who developed Ruppy used to study transgenic mice, but their hormones are not as compatible to humans' for study. Plus, they died during the process. The beauty of Ruppy, says the article, written by Emily Biuso, is that "unlike the rodents, Ruppy can provide useful scientific knowledge without necessarily having to sacrifice his life."

Necessarily is the key word here.

By the way, Eric B., I did not read this story in The Onion. 

The magazine's other topics of interest to Dog Parkers include mosquito combat lasers, bicycle highways, and why Jane Austen's books are ripe for zombiefication.

Art above is from NYT: Photo illustration by Reinhard Hunger; set design by Sarah Illenberger; they also did the cover art.

Finally, a hearty congratulations to Sarah (Tony), who graduates summa cum laude from Texas State University today with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Animal Science. Hooray!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Toast: Puppy Toast

I was inspired to make bread from scratch the other day. I embellished a basic recipe for oatmeal bread. I kept adding ingredients until I had concocted a monstrous batch of dough. It kept crawling out of the bowls, and ultimately it sprawled out of the pans as it baked. I gave a loaf to Erica (Cocoa and Joey), apologizing for its "love handles." But when Erica sliced it for her breakfast, the bread's true shape emerged. As you can see, with Erica's addition of raisin eyes and an almond nose, it's a puppy! (Dog is everywhere.) Her photo of her breakfast made me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walkabout with Dogs

Once again the New York Times confirms the obvious—that people who walk with dogs are more likely to be fit and to exercise consistently than those who walk with fellow homo sapiens. Are you surprised? I didn't think so.

In a recent entry on her regular blog, Well, Tara Pope-Parker explains how a study of 54 senior citizens living in Missouri were divided into three groups—those who walked with dogs, those who walked with human partners, and a control group (i.e., couch potatoes). The folks who took a bus to a local animal shelter to walk with a dog every day increased their walking speeds nearly 30 percent (compared to less than 5 percent in the walkers with human companions).  They also were eventually able to give up walking aids, such as canes or walkers. The reason? Dogs  never say no to a walk. On the other paw, human companions were constantly trying to talk each other out of taking a walk. The excuse? "It's too hot." We, the survivors of the hottest summer on record in Texas blow our noses in your direction, Missouri. Hahahahahaa! Weaklings!

Among the comments posted to the blog entry—and I paraphrase—"You don't have to pick up your human companion's crap, but you do have to listen to it." At Dog Park, we have the best of both worlds--walking with humans and with dogs. There's crap galore, so bring plenty of bags.

We hope to see you at the Dog Park. Bundle up, though. Wind chill will put the temps in the 30s. Brrr.