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WNYC News

Westminster's Closing Night: Who's Top Dog?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An American Foxhound and an Affenpinscher are among the favorites to become America's top dog. The Westminster Kennel Club picked its best in show Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Walking and Looking

Thursday, January 31, 2013

This interview originally aired live on January 31, 2013. An edited version was re-aired on August 9, 2013 as part of a special episode of The Brian Lehrer Show. 

Alexandra Horowitz teaches psychology, animal behavior, and canine cognition at Barnard College and is the author of Inside of a Dog and now On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes. She tells what she learned walking the city with "experts" -- including a geologist, an artist, and her dog.

 

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WNYC News

Digging Through Dog Data: What Do You See?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

We’re open sourcing our dog data. Dig through the complete dog license registry and tell us what you find.

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WNYC News

NYC's Top Dogs: Mapping Names & Breeds in the City

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

If you own a dog in New York City, odds are it’s a mutt named Max.

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WNYC News

Man’s Best Friend Helps Soldiers in the Battlefield and at Home

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Long Island-based animal rescue group is one of a handful that help bring back animals saved by soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq as the military draws down its presence. But unlike others, this group has been focusing on pairing veterans or their families with the stray animals.

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WNYC News

Niche Market | Doggie Duds

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

New York is a city of specialists from foodies to academics, laborers to shopkeepers. Every Wednesday, Niche Market will take a peek inside a different specialty store and showcase the city's purists who have made an art out of selling one commodity. Slideshow below.

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Transportation Nation

Airlines Can be Deadly for Pets: 35 Died in 2011

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dogs, planes (photo by: flickr user derekb)

 

For 35 pet travelers, 2011 was the end of the line.

More than half of the deceased, 19 pets, flew Delta airlines. All of the deaths happened in the cargo holds of the planes, government documents show.

The pets ranged from dogs and cats to a chinchilla.  It boarded a Delta flight at New York’s JFK Airport last June for the second leg of its journey from St. Louis to Moscow, Russia.  The airline notes that the flight was delayed 44 minutes in St. Louis before departure for New York.

Still, the pet chinchilla appeared fine to the Delta crew at JFK, according to a Live Animal Incident Report.  Without warning, the chinchilla arrived in Moscow deceased.  The airline was forced to ship the pet, without its owner, back to New York, because Russian authorities refused to allow the dead animal into the country.

Other airlines also noted pet deaths last year; five animals died on American Airlines, three on Continental and two perished on United.  The pet injury and death figures are drawn from the January-December 2011 Airline Reports to USDOT of Incidents Involving the Loss, Injury or Death of Animals During Air Transportation.  The lost and deceased pet tallies are included in the U.S. DOT's Air Travel Consumer Report.  The 2011 figures are lower than in 2010, when 39 animals died.  Delta again recorded the most pet deaths, with 16; Continental had six.  Far fewer pets perished in 2009 - about 23 total.  Nine animals died on American Airlines that year.

Delta’s record for pet deaths this January was no better than its record in January of 2011 – it again recorded one pet death for the month.  American Airlines also recorded one death for January.  Monthly 2012 reports can be found here.

The most recent death involved T Bone, a 1 year old Yorkshire Terrier traveling from Frankfurt, Germany to Nashville via Atlanta on January 13, 2012.  In the Incident Report, Delta notes that there were no indications of a problem with the cargo hold being too hot or too cold.  Yet the necropsy indicated the tiny Terrier died from hypoxia, “perhaps associated with seizures, hypoglycemia, or hyperthermia.”

Other Delta victims include Coco, a 9-month old English Bull Dog who traveled from Stuttgart, Germany to Philadelphia via Atlanta.  The puppy was found unresponsive when unloaded in Atlanta, “less than 10 minutes after the aircraft had parked,” according the Delta’s Live Animal Incident Report.

Cats also died on Delta.  Phoebe, an 11-year-old short hair, was traveling with her companion kitty Newman, from Pittsburgh to Phoenix through Atlanta.  The flight was just ten minutes behind schedule, and the airline reported temperatures in the 60s.  But when the flight landed in Atlanta, the ramp crew noticed Phoebe was unresponsive, lying in the back of her crate.  She had passed away.  Newman had to do the final leg of the journey without his buddy.  A necropsy revealed that Phoebe died of chronic heart failure.

Some of the incidents over the years involved older pets, or dogs that are susceptible to breathing problems, like Bull Dogs.  But others involved younger, less at-risk animals.  Like Katie, a 6 year old yellow Labrador Retriever whose last trip was from Pensacola to Atlanta last July.  Her final destination was supposed to be Baltimore.

Katie boarded her first flight with no issues.  Scattered clouds flecked the Pensacola sky.  Temperatures were moderate to warm, about 75 to 80 degrees.  The ground crew reported that Katie made it to Atlanta without incident.  Delta personnel then transported the middle aged Lab via temperature controlled van to await the next leg of her journey to Baltimore.  Katie boarded her second flight.  It was scheduled to leave at 1:50 pm.  But apparently the plane was delayed; the Captain and ground crew “were informed the delay would only be brief,” according to the Incident Report.

But two hours later, the flight still waited in the sweltering Atlanta summer heat for take-off clearance.  At 5:33 pm, the crew got the go-ahead for departure.  Yet somehow, the report stated, the flight was still on the ground at 7:46 pm, delayed an additional two hours.

Around that time, the crew finally got instructions to return the plane to the gate.  When ground handlers opened the cargo bin door, there was Katie, non-responsive inside her kennel.  Katie’s necropsy report is still pending according to the report, even though her death happened almost 8 months ago.

After Katie died, Delta apparently took action.  The airline stated in the report that it will try to ensure the crew is notified if there’s a pet in the cargo section of the plane when flights are delayed.  “As a result of the animal’s death, our Load Center will pull another Load Manifest in order to determine if an animal exists on a delayed aircraft,” stated the Delta report.

Some of the Animal Incident Reports indicate pets injured themselves during flights, desperate to break free of their crates.  Rides in cargo holds can be grueling, with extreme temperature swings.

In March 2011, a Chihuahua traveling Delta Airlines between Atlanta and Buffalo lost three lower incisor crown teeth chewing the handle and front corner of its crate.  Last January a Golden Retriever reportedly chewed and then tried to swallow the zip ties that secured its kennel door during a flight.  The ties ended up lodged in its throat – a vet anesthetized the dog and managed to remove the obstruction.  Both dogs survived their ordeals.

The airline Incident Reports are required since passage of a federal law, the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act.

A necropsy isn’t always in the mix.  In Coco’s case, the puppy, one was performed.  It found that Coco, due to stress, “regurgitated food consumed prior to transportation which aspirated into the trachea and lungs,” stated the report.  Essentially, the puppy choked.  The vet also noticed “indications of a preexisting respiratory infection which was still inflamed,” according to the report.

TN reached out to Delta Airlines, sending emails and making several calls, but there's been no response as yet.  Airlines can make substantial ancillary revenue in part from pet transportation fees.   According to recent figures, TN reported that Delta earned the most revenue of any reporting airline from ancillary sources like pet transport fees, in the third quarter of 2011.  To see the additional Miscellaneous Operating Revenue data, go to BTS Schedule P-1.2.

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The Takeaway

The 40th Iditarod

Friday, March 09, 2012

It’s the time of year when Alaskans proudly cheer, volunteer, and race in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Stretching 1,049 miles, the race features teams of 12 to 16 dogs, led by a musher. This year is the race’s 40th anniversary. Early this morning the first teams crossed the half-way point in the race.

Andy Angstman is a superfan of the Iditarod and a musher since childhood. He participated in the race in 2007. He joins us from Achorage, Alaska.

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Features

Dogs You Can Believe In: Most Popular Breeds for 2011

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The American Kennel Club has released its annual ranking of most popular dog breeds. For the 21st successive year, the Labrador Retriever took the top spot in the country, while the Yorkshire Terrier remained at the top of the pack of favorite breeds for New Yorkers.

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Features

Behind the Scenes at the Westminster Dog Show: How to Make a Standard Poodle

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photography by Kathy Landman

Ordinary dogs undergo extraordinary transformations in order to win at dog shows, and among the most eye-catching is the Standard Poodle.

The Poodle is a water dog, and, untended, has a nappy dense coat sort of like good pile carpeting that hugs its rangy body. But in the hands of an expert groomer, a Poodle becomes a dazzling confection, something between a meringue, a soufflé and a topiary hedge.

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The Takeaway

Checking In On the Westminster Dog Show

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This week marks the 136th Annual Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. It's the biggest and longest-running, continuously held canine show in the country. Sarah Montague is a senior producer and the Westminster Dog Show correspondent for our co-producer WNYC. She's been covering the event for the past 12 years and tells us about the culture of America's most beloved dog show.

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Features

Beauty and the Beasts: Grooming Champions at the Westminster Dog Show

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In the grooming area for the Westminster Dog Show, contenders for Best of Breed, Best of Group, and Best in Show are getting pressed, primped and powdered. See what it takes for dogs to walk the walk in our video and slideshow.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Showing Dogs

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kathy Mines and Sue Willumsen, two handlers competing in the 136th Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden, talk about the ins and outs of showing dogs. Mines, one of the top breeders of Norwich Terriers and Labradors, will be showing 5 different dogs from various breeds. Willumsen is a licensed American Kennel Club judge in the Labrador Retriever category who also breeds, handles, and shows her own dogs. Her dog Walter was the first chocolate lab to receive Grand Champion status and will compete at Westminster.

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Features

Man Is Dog's Best 'Friend'

Monday, February 13, 2012

America’s leading show dogs have their own Facebook pages and they're getting lots of traffic.

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Features

Infinite Variety: New Breeds at Westminster

Monday, February 06, 2012

The 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is right around the corner. Learn more about the new dogs on the block -- from coonhounds to Ceskys to Xolos -- who will be strutting their stuff at Madison Square Garden.

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Selected Shorts

Selected Shorts: Dogs and Dates

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Two stories from the new media venture Electric Literature are featured on this program. 

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Features

Corgi Dressed as M23 Bus Wins Halloween Dog Parade

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A corgi named Harry dressed up as an M23 bus and his owner, Ben, who was a bus stop, won "Best in Show" at the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Day Parade on Saturday. Other winners included canines dressed as Hurricane Irene, Charlie Sheen and the management at Trader Joe's. Check out a slideshow here.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Following Up: Rescue Dogs

Friday, October 14, 2011

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Jill Abramson on Puppy Love and The Times

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The new executive editor of The New York Times, Jill Abramson, expands on her New York Times column about her first year with her golden retriever in her new book, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog named Scout, and talks about the future of the newspaper.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Susan Orlean on Rin Tin Tin

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Susan Orlean talks about the life and times of Rin Tin Tin, tracing his journey from orphaned puppy to movie star and international icon. Rin Tin Tin: The Life and Legend begins on a battlefield in France during World War I, when an American soldier discovered a newborn German shepherd in the ruins of a bombed-out dog kennel. He took the dog back to California, where he became Hollywood’s number one box office star.

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