DO JEALOUS PIT BULLS DREAM OF ELECTRIC CATS?…HONORING A ‘JERSEY BOY’

I sometimes overhear Lou & Eugenie saying that I was running in my sleep and having another ‘doggie dream’. Until recently, the idea of canine dreams was largely dismissed as another case of humans anthropomorphizing their pets. New research, however,  suggests that we may, indeed, be doing just that. In a recent Parade Magazine article, Your PetExlained: The Truth About Cats & Dogs, veterinarian Melissa Bain, associate professor at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, says that “we don’t know…but we think they dream.” That’s because their brain-wave patterns resemble those seen in people. “Dogs go through sleep cycles very similar to humans’, with periods of deep sleep and periods of rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep,” says Stephen Zawistowski, Ph.D., an applied animal behaviorist and science adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of ­Cruelty to Animals. “Dreaming happens during REM sleep, which is also when dogs twitch their legs, move their lips, or vocalize.” ­Wonder when your own dog might be dreaming? As a dog starts to doze, and his sleep becomes ­deeper, his breathing will become more regular, says canine ­behavior ­expert Stanley Coren in his book How Dogs Think. “After a period of about 20 minutes,” Coren writes, “his first dream should start.” (read the entire article).

Tanner and his newest ‘baby’ (Thank You, Aunt Robby)

Not only do we dream like our two-legged partners, it seems we get jealous like them, too. As reported by CNN online, “a study by scholars at the University of California, San Diego found that dogs showed jealous behaviors when their owners displayed affection toward an animatronic stuffed dog that barked, whined and wagged its tail. The dogs snapped at and pushed against the stuffed dog and tried to get between it and the human. This may come as no surprise to any owner of multiple pooches who has seen them jostle for space on someone’s lap.”

Joe Long, far right

Thanks to the billion dollar stage hit and recent movie, JERSEY BOYS, millions of younger Americans now know the music, and tumultuous story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a quartet of street smart ‘goombahs’ who mixed music with the Mob. Well, it turns out that Lou has a personal connection to one of the Seasons, #5, Joe Long (photo, far right). Joe was born Joe LaBracio, in Elizabeth, NJ. His mom and dad, Mary and Joe, lived on High Street, a scant half-block from Spirito’s Restaurant, the landmark eatery founded 80+ years ago by Lou’s grandfather. They were such close friends that Lou’s mom and dad chose Mary & Joe to be Lou’s godparents, a big deal for Italians. When the Seasons tabbed Joey, a talented, classically trained bass player, to replace the disgruntled Nick Massi, Joey became an instant hero in  the city’s Italian Peterstown neighborhood. Fifty years later, Joe’s hometown has decided to honor him by renaming High Street Joe Long Way. It couldn’t happen to a nicer, humbler or more deserving guy. (listen to the interview).

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REASONS TO LOVE THE EASTER PIT BULL

Happy Easter and a belated Happy Passover to all our 2 legged friends. While bunnies are very nice (sometimes even a bit scary, for me, anyway),  Lou and I think that perhaps it’s time update the Spring poster creature to something more cuddly and handsome, like maybe a Pit Bull. Based on his special, LOVE MY PIT BULL, that just aired on Nat Geo Wild, the world’s most famous dog man, Cesar Millan, might agree. During the 1-hour show, he discussed the history of the breed (the ‘gameness’ or heart of the Terriers married with the strength and athleticism – don’t laugh – of the Bulldog or Boxer), their former reputation as a companion dog and guardian of children (they we’re known as the ‘Nanny Dog’) and the misconceptions surrounding their alleged propensity for unprovoked violence. According to Cesar, it’s our human counterparts who deserve the condemnation for mistreating us and then channeling our natural desire to please into violence against other animals and people. If you missed it, you can see some great photos on the Nat Geo site, and you can read Cesar’s article, ‘6 Reasons To Love Pit Bulls’ at Parade.com. 

Cesar and ‘Junior’

Thanks to the hoopla created by GIMME SHELTER, whenever people ask, “Is Tanner all Pit Bull or a mix?”, Lou and Eugenie now answer, “He’s part Pit, and part Publicity Hound!” I please guilty, especially since we just taped our first TV interview for the City of Calabasas, CA “Author’s Night” with host and former mayor Karyn Foley. As usual, my chiacchierone (chatterbox) human did the yakking while I gave the show an air or gravitas, looking regal and serene as the camera crew did their thing. Once they tell us, we’ll let you know where and when you can check it out. 
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Here are some pix that should bolster our campaign to replace the Easter Bunny with the Easter Pittie.

Tanner & Dutch

Pit Bulls…inherently dangerous…to bones and squeaky toys.
Buzz LaBracio and his 6-month-old ‘grandson’

Another ‘Dangerous’ Pit Bull


WHERE DID DOGS COME FROM…PREVENTING ‘PUPPYCIDE’

Unlike our human friends, we dogs don’t spend much time pondering our roots. Wolves, dinosaurs, aliens…given our short lifespan, it doesn’t really matter how we got here. What matters is doing our job: being loving loyal friends to you origin-obsessed two-leggeds. That said, an article in this week’s LA Times claims to shed some light on just how long the human-canine dynamic has been going on. According to the piece by Monte Morin,  researchers “have concluded that dog domestication most likely occurred in Ice Age Europe, between 18,800 and 32,100 years ago — much earlier, and much farther north, than previously believed. Dogs, the authors argued, evolved from a now extinct species of European wolf that followed bands of nomadic or semi-nomadic humans who were hunting woolly mammoths and other large prey. Initially, the wolves sought out the carcasses and scraps of meat left behind by man, the authors suggest. Over time, these hang-around wolves began to fill a special role in human hunter-gatherer society.” read more: When – and where – did dogs become our pets?
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Speaking of being loyal friends, homo sapiens often return the favor. In an essay in Parade Magazine, Love Me, Love My Dog, author Jon Katz (The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm) recalls how to wooing his wife meant befriending her very skittish rescue dog. It took time and patience, but eventually he captured  both their hearts.
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Want to be a loving caretaker to your 4-legged amigo? Be sure to check out Cesar’s Way article by Jon Bastian on ‘Puppycide’,a documentary in progress which examines the rise in dog shootings by law enforcement, and offers some tips on what might be done to curb potentially fatal dog-police encounters

Aldo: Honey’s ‘snow dog’

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