New & Noteworthy

Social Media for Pet Lovers: All-Star Pets

Starting this week, DogTails – the weekly blog brought to you by DogWatch Hidden Fences – will begin highlighting the best of the pet-centric social media world.  In this post, we tell the stories of three pets who have become worldwide stars thanks to social media.  We love following these cats’ and this dog’s exploits on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogs, and we know you will too.

So, without further ado, we give you our “Star Pets of Social Media.”      

Maru the Cat

The equation is simple: cat + cardboard box + video camera = genius.  Maru, a male Scottish fold from Japan, is the star of a seemingly unending series of irresistible YouTube videos.  His YouTube channel has over 63,000 followers and his videos have been viewed more than 58 million times.  Not bad for a clumsy kitty!

If you are like us and can’t get enough of Maru, check out his blog.  (It includes English translations.) While it seems criminal to choose just one video, our favorite video of the moment is this slow-motion clip of Maru jumping out of – you guessed it – a box.

Sockington

Sockington the Cat

Maru may have recently eeked out a win over Sockington in “the battle for the internet’s favorite feline,” but the social media world still can’t get enough of this other cat sensation.

Sockington, a very proper-looking black and white rescue cat from Waltham, MA, has so far amassed over 1.5 million followers on Twitter.  His owner, Jason Scott, chronicles his cat’s thoughts and broadcast them to the ever-growing “Socks Army.”  Sockington loves food and naps, frequently shouts in all caps, and is surprisingly witty.  A recent tweet read: “HURRAH GIFT GIVING TIME may I present you with 3/4 of a mouse HEY I DO NOT APPRECIATE YOUR INSINUATIONS or the screaming for that matter.”

In addition to his Twitter feed, Socks also has a blog and a Flickr account filled with numerous photos of “the most popular cat on Twitter.”  As Sockington himself might say: “OF COURSE I AM THE MOST POPULAR nap time zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Tillman the Bulldog

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Dog Matters

Book cover, Inside of a DogAlexandra Horowitz, author of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, takes us into the dog’s world in a way few authors have before. She describes in great detail their umwelt: their subjective or self-world.

Not only does the the book provide insights into a dog’s sight, sound and olfactory abilities, it also explains the wondrous dog-human bond. Horowitz asks us to consider what accounts for our bond with dogs, and offers eleven worthy explanations: they’re diurnal, a good size, their body is familiar with parts that match ours, they move more or less the way we do, they have a relaxation to their stride and a grace to their run, they are manageable, we can leave them by themselves for long stretches of time, they are readable, they are resilient and reliable, their lifetime is in scale with ours, and they are compellingly cute. While all of these are relevant she says, “They don’t fully explain why we bond.”

The human-dog bond, we learn, is formed over time. Not just on looks, but on how we interact together. Horowitz suggests that there are three essential behavioral means by which we maintain—and feel rewarded by—bonding with dogs. The first is contact, the second is a greeting ritual, the third is timing (the pace of our interactions with each other) Together, they combine to bond us irrevocably.

Horowitz believes that the bond strengthens and changes us. Physically we are calmed by simply petting a dog, and the social support they offer us reduces our risk for various diseases, from cardiovascular to diabetes to pneumonia, and provides better rates of recovery from the diseases we do get. The bond with our dogs makes us someone who can commune with animals, and according to Horowitz, “a large component of our attachment to dogs is our enjoyment of being seen by them.”

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Dogs in Art: A Feast for the Dog Lovers Eyes

In a recent blog post, Maria Goodavage wrote about Dogs in Art, a video created by Moira McLaughlin.  Moira writes about Dog Art on her blog, Dog Art Today.  She’s published over 840 posts about the creative ways dogs appear in every form of art.  She focuses on “the joyful depiction of dogs and the eternal bond that they have made with the artists in their lives.” Dog Art Today contains a long list of dog art sites as well as sites for the dog lover.

What’s particularly striking about the Dogs in Art video is Moira’s dedication.  She says she had been inspired by a YouTube masterpiece on Women in Art and knew immediately that she wanted to create a video even though she had never done anything like this before. The project took her over two years to complete. Dog lovers are truly an amazing breed!

The list of art shown in the video is quite exhaustive, some dating back as early as 50 A.D., up through the ages to present day artists you may be familiar with and some not as well known. In any case, it’s a masterpiece.

Are you a dog art lover? What are some of your favorite paintings?  Tell us about them.

Dogs and SmartPhones: 8 Popular Dog Apps

cool dogNo, dogs and smartphones isn’t a joke we heard at a New Year’s Eve Party. Though it sounds like it could be.

While even the smartest dogs aren’t using mobile phones (yet), their owners are tapping away with their thumbs in startling numbers—on every topic under the sun. In addition to game apps featuring dogs, there are ones which can help track information, educate on a wide variety of dog-related topics, and provide countless hours of advice.

Here’s a list of some of the most interesting dog-related apps we’ve come across this week.

1. Dogs First Aid by PetMD

Fast and clear advice for the most common Dog Emergencies.

2. Pet First Aid by Jive Medi LLC

Pet First Aid contains detailed articles, video, and illustrations to help you care for your dog or cat. Record your pet’s vital medical information to ensure their veterinarian is never more than a touch away, and your pet will never miss another vaccination.

3. MyPets Info by Mobile Simplified

MyPets is an Information Manager that helps you keep track of your Pets day-to-day activities, medical information, important contacts, such as groomers or doctors and all other information relevant for your pets.

4. Dog Tricks & Bark Machine by Pocket Cocktails, Inc.

The ultimate portable Dog Trick training tutorial with nearly 200 pictures and step-by-step instructions. Bark Machine includes a variety of amazing sounds designed to captivate you and your dog.

5. DogBook by Poolhouse Enterprises

Keep a diary of your dog’s life, locate other dogs by breed or location, and then “friend” them.

6. Dog Symptoms by PetMD

Fast convenient access to hundreds of Dog Health Topics on the go. You can either select a category such as “Behavioral” or “Digestive” and browse the related topics in that category or search by keywords.

7. The Dog Breeds by MyAppBuilder

100 dog breeds with information such as their temperament, exercise requirements , and size.

8. Dogbook by Poolhouse Enterprises

Connect with other dogs and owners in parks and groups, post on their walls, and share photos and videos.

What dog-related apps are you using?

Photo credit: xploitme flickr