Help Martin Usborne Save Mango

Martin Usborne and Mango

Yesterday’s post was about London-based photographer Martin Usborne, but there was more to tell (what else is new?). So I decided to chop it into two posts, and with today’s entry you can get your hands on one of his prints for a very good price AND help him save a little puppy called Mango from the meat trade at the same time.

It starts out like this: Martin loves animals and he decided to embark on a yearlong journey around the world to save as many as he can, and he’s named the project “A Year to Help”. Now I realize that sounds kind of granola and lofty and flowers-in-meadows, but this is also a personal odyssey for Martin. He’s a guy who, like a lot of us, has enormous compassion for animals but questions what he does with it on a daily basis. So he set out last July to do what he can, however he can. And when he says animals, he’s not excluding any species: he’s serving as savior to bugs as well. Here’s the manifesto from his project’s website:

1. Whenever I come across an animal in distress I must help (fruit flies included).
2. I must follow my heart, not my head. Ignore the nagging intellect Martin!
3. This project is deadly serious. Therefore I will try and be funny where possible.
4. I must risk failure, confusion and utter humiliation.
5. My allegiance is to the animals, not to any charity or religion.
6. I must stop eating bacon.

You can see that Martin has a good sense of humor. Read his “About the Project” page here for more of his reasoning behind his idea. It’s open, honest, and very entertaining, I must say. You’ll wonder if you’ve stumbled into a script for a new Ricky Gervais program or something.

At the moment, Martin is in the Philippines spending some time with a group called Network for Animals. In the last few days they’ve saved a puppy from the street where they sell dogs for the meat trade and named her Mango. He’s promised to get her back to the UK, and must raise at least £750 to do so. So he’s taken some beautiful photographs of her and is selling them through his project’s website to raise the money.

Mango by Martin Usborne

This one is my favorite. You can’t beat that stare of hope and expectation for keeping you up at night. If you’re thinking, “but it’s just one dog and there are so many in the same boat”, I’d say that’s true. But to this one lucky little Mango, giving her a chance is everything. Here are some others:

Mango by Martin Usborne

Sleepy Mango by Martin Usborne

There are also options with some added typography with a punch. I think Mango does a super job as a pin-up queen:

Stop the Dog Meat Trade by Martin Usborne

…and with a dash of Martin’s good humor. Or humour, I suppose:

Mango Wants Fish and Chips by Martin Usborne

So far Mango has been checked out by a vet and she’s become much more affectionate after getting some good meals in her tummy. It turns out getting off the chain and out of the grimy street is also a plus. Overall I think she’d say that it’s much better getting dinner than being dinner.

If you’d like to donate to Martin’s effort of getting Mango safely back to the UK and into a safe, loving home read his post here with the instructions on placing your photograph order (or just donating). The hardest part is deciding which print to get and what size.

If you can, please share this post to spread the word. You can also follow Martin’s journey on his Facebook page here.

The official “A Year to Help” project site can be found here.
Martin’s photography website can be found here.
All images courtesy and copyright Martin Usborne.

Dognition & The Genius of Dogs

Dognition Badges

I’m lucky enough to live near some of the best universities in America where interesting studies and programs of all kinds are always going on. There’s one program in particular often featured in the local media that always gets my attention: Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, which is often looking for people to bring their dogs in for evaluation. Dr. Brian Hare is the director of the program and he has recently published a book titled The Genius of Dogs, so there is now a lot of national and international interest. Personally, I think that if you’re a dog person, once you hear about some of the findings, you’re going to say “Of course, I’ve always known that!” But what I think is really important is that now there’s scientific data to support what dog folks have known all along: dogs are much smarter than most people think. And because of this, maybe people who didn’t give dogs much of a chance before will realize what they’ve been missing out on. Take that, cats!

Dr. Brian Hare

Basically Dr. Hare has found that unlike any other species (besides us), dogs are able to infer meaning from unspoken communication. It’s true: they watch us, observe us and understand gestures…even when we don’t realize it. Dogs that I’ve had over the years have learned to monitor my intonation when I’m on the phone during long conversations (mother), realizing that when it rises that’s a signal that I’m getting ready to (finally) hang up, which means they’ll get my attention back. Another example from my house would be when Chappie connected that when I groan it means I’m picking up a ball to throw for him, so if he hears me groan any other time he goes long. I didn’t actually realize that I was groaning during playtime after a long session in front of a computer. Thanks for pointing that out, Chappie. Sheesh.

Besides the book, Dr. Hare has been working to develop a website and mobile app with the talented McKinney Advertising agency called Dognition that anyone can use (and he’s hoping everyone will because it’ll help his research studies) to help develop your own dog’s personality profile with details on his cognitive strengths and weaknesses. You can check out the dognition site here. And a good newspaper article about it can be found here.

If you’d like to learn more about the Duke Canine Cognition Center, go here. They are offering summer internships (with a stipend!) if you’re interested, but you’d better make it snappy because application submissions close March 15.

Last but not least, I’d just like to say that I think Dr. Hare must be a cool guy, because how many other Harvard PhD’s feature their portraits rolling around in the grass with their dog and describe themselves as “scientist, author, dog guy”? His own personal site is here. If you’d like to listen to a great interview with Dr. Hare, the local National Public Radio station WUNC broadcast is here.

So dogs can even make science better—now I wonder what they can do for algebra.

 

Typographic Tuesday: Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Society Ad

It’s Typographic Tuesday, and today I’m featuring a message from Best Friends Animal Society. They’ve cleverly packed some good facts into this puppy head about pet overpopulation here in the US, and the importance of spaying and neutering. Not only did they do a great job with this project, they always seem to hit the mark with their communication efforts. Ah, the power of good design.

It’s World Spay Day

Doris Day and Doggie

You tell ’em, Doris!

Doris Day, that is. And she’s featured here because she, along with her Doris Day Animal Foundation, founded World Spay Day—and that’s today, folks! Always the last Tuesday in February, this day is meant to draw attention to pet overpopulation and encourage spaying worldwide. It comes at the end of February (and I’m wondering if it shouldn’t be held at the beginning instead) because all month long it’s been Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. All over the world there have been great free or low cost clinics available to get as many pets spayed as possible, and you’ve gotta love these names: Spay It Forward, Hunka Hunka Furry Love, Neuter Your Scooter… um, you get the idea. So if you know about a certain furry being that needs to be “tended to”, check out what’s going on in your area before the end of the month—or get the word out to others—and save some money at the same time.

Here are a few more photos of dear Doris, because well darn it, they just don’t make celebrities like they used to!

Doris Day with black doggie

Doris Day with dogs

You can find more information about World Spay Day, locate a spay event in your area, or enter the spay pageant on the official portal here. Various groups and clinics around the world have been uploading photos from different spay events, mobile services, etc. and it’s really great to see the reach.

Information on the Doris Day Animal Foundation here.

And Maverick Was His Name-o

2010 Mavericks Competition

Maverick’s is a famous big wave surf spot in northern California, just a few miles from Half Moon Bay. Since waves can break at about 80 feet high, it’s also the location for a world-renowned big wave competition held each winter, as long as there’s a good winter storm to produce these maximum waves. Only the world’s top surfers are invited, and there is just a 24-hour notice given to these select 24 individuals to grab their boards and hustle there to compete.

But the neatest part about Maverick’s (as far as I’m concerned) is how it got its name. According to Bark Magazine‘s spring 2013 issue:

“In early March 1961, three surfers decided to explore the big waves breaking about a half-mile from shore at Pillar Point, near Half Moon Bay, California. A friend’s white German Shepherd, Maverick, came to the beach with them. Maverick was used to swimming with his surfing buddies, and paddled out after them. Concerned for the dog’s safety, one of the surfers returned him to shore and tied him to the car bumper. Ultimately, the immense waves proved to be too much for them as well, and the men cut their day short. Because the dog seemed to have had the most fun that afternoon, they named the giant waves in his honor. Today, the Mavericks Invitational is known worldwide as a testing ground for elite big wave riders.”

Cool, man.

Maverick's 2013

Visit the Mavericks official contest website here. Photo above courtesy of The Inquisitr, read about this year’s contest winner 43-year-old Peter Mel’s victory along with a video on their site here. Great SF Chronicle article on a Maverick’s film here.
Thanks to Bark Magazine for the heads up on this story. Best dog magazine ever.

Typographic Tuesday: Groucho Marx

Groucho plus quote

Originally with Typographic Tuesdays, I wasn’t going to actually write anything. But the problem is that I usually end up having something to say and today is no exception, so here goes…

The lovely dog atop the quote is aptly named Groucho. I first noticed his photo on the Best Friends Los Angeles Facebook page, because they had a very clever campaign timed with the Super Bowl titled “The Super Bull”. I think these folks do a fantastic job with their approach to not only finding homes for all sorts of dogs, but also with their efforts to show the public what great dogs the “Bull” breeds can be when given the chance to thrive. This campaign focused on their love of playing hard, giving it all they’ve got just like any given football hero. Here are some more photos of handsome Groucho, who by the way is still available for adoption! Besides getting an amazing dog, what a great conversation starter he would be! Sigh, I’m starstruck.

Best Friends LA dog Groucho

And here is the main image for their campaign, with some of the other dogs they featured, every single one of them a hero in so many ways.

BFLA's Super Bull Campaign

If you’d like more information on Groucho or any other dog, please do visit Best Friends of Los Angeles on their website here. Okay, I’m done talking :-)

Typographic Tuesday: Martin Luther King, Jr.

mlk_quote_final

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Today’s quote for Typographic Tuesday is by Martin Luther King Jr., in honor of his recent birthday plus all the warm, hopeful feelings here in America that are in the air with an inauguration and a new year for setting things right. I’m including this photo because I think it’s one of the most tender images I’ve seen in a while.

Here’s the background: a few months ago I did a post on Sara Turetta and the group she started called Save the Dogs. One group that really helps Save the Dogs is the Swedish-based Hundhjälpen. Not only do these guys send pallets loaded with all kinds of dog food, treats, toys, medicines, etc. they also take regular trips to Romania and volunteer however they can. In the end, they transport a lot of these dogs back to Sweden and find them warm, loving homes. This photo is from their trip just a few days ago, and the kindness of this simple gesture melts my heart. Thank you, Hundhjälpen and Save the Dogs for never looking the other way.

To find out more about Hundhjälpen or donate, go here. To see all of the photos from their trip, visit their Facebook page here. And of course, Save the Dogs’ website is here.