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Unconditional Love

Once hunters and protectors, today's dogs have been promoted to family members. here's how to choose, train and love a dog
Stacey C. Rivera
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Bacon, May/Jun 00

Their eyes sparkle and a weary yet broad smile emerges as they tell you that, no, he isn't sleeping through the night yet, but yes, he is digesting food, finally. Then come the stories, which all seem to begin with the same excited "He did the cutest thing yesterday..." There are pictures and toys; stories of family squabbles over the name choice and whether he is going to sleep in the bed. You nod in agreement, smile at the stories, coo over the photos. After all, he really is a cute puppy.  

Although the human-canine bond can be traced back to the Old Testament, the reasons for the partnership have changed dramatically over the centuries. Once bred for specific functions, such as hunting, protection or herding, today's dogs are bred for personality traits befitting a companion and family member. The family purchasing a dog today typically does not require that its new pup herd sheep or hunt vermin, but that it interact well with children and be a playful yet obedient companion.  

According to a study by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, there were 57.6 million dogs in the United States in 1998. An estimated 37.8 percent of American households (38,099,000) owned dogs in 1998 (not including households that contained both dogs and cats, which is estimated at 16,020,000 homes). More than 60 percent of the American population own a pet of some kind, which is higher than the percentage of households with children.  

During the 1990s, pet owners increasingly began to see their pets, and to spend on them, as if they were family members. "The overall trend is that animals are more integrated into people's lives," says Andrea Reisman, chief executive officer of Petopia.com, a Web site that offers a wide range of pet products. "Ten years ago you would have seen a lot of dogs relegated to the backyard. Now dogs have basically migrated from the backyard to the living room and are continuing to be welcomed into other parts of people's lives."

According to the 1999/2000 National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 38 percent of dog owners share their bed with their dog, an increase from 29 percent in 1992. Likewise, 80 percent of owners buy their dog gifts as compared with 67 percent in 1994. Last year, Petopia.com had to restock its four lines of Halloween costumes for dogs after selling out of its original gross.  

"Seventy percent of pet owners view their pet as a child," says Reisman, the owner of a soft-coated wheaten terrier named Jack who accompanies Reisman to work, where his official title is Petopian product tester. "People who have pets, especially dogs, are absolutely, in the best sense of the word, fanatic about them," continues Reisman. "The amount of premium food being sold has seen a dramatic increase. So have lifestyle products such as apparel, beds and bowls that are more like human products in terms of quality. All of these things indicate that pets are being viewed more as family."

Reisman believes the drive to own and lavish pets, dogs in particular, is attributable not only to the current economic boom but also to two trends: baby boomers experiencing empty-nest syndrome who make their pets their surrogate kids, and young couples who are waiting longer to have children.  

Yet with all of the statistics pointing to a healthy, well-loved, well-cared-for dog population, 5 million dogs are abandoned each year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and of those, 60 percent are euthanized. A disturbingly low 5 to 10 percent of dogs are rescued from shelters each year. According to ASPCA president and veterinarian Larry Hawk, dogs are predominantly given up for behavioral problems that could be controlled with proper training and owner knowledge. He also points out that many people buy dogs on an impulse, before taking into account that owning a dog is a long-term commitment and that a dog needs to be properly trained, walked, fed and loved every day.  

Every time you walk past the dog run at your local park, you begin to feel the pangs of jealousy. You want the unconditional love and unfailing companionship of an unopinionated listener. You want a truly loyal friend. You want a dog.  

What you don't want is the dog constantly begging to go for a walk or ignoring the Frisbee you throw to him. You don't want to find that what was supposed to be your loyal companion has taken over your life because he requires all of your free time. Or that the dog that was supposed to give you unconditional love and an overall sense of calm tries to bite you when you pick him up and barely tolerates being petted.  

Getting a dog, like making any other major purchase, requires extensive research. Purchasing a dog that doesn't fit your lifestyle can be disastrous for both of you. Reliable information abounds in books, periodicals, on the Internet and from nonprofit groups. Dog owners, not unlike new parents, love to talk about their pets, and in most cases are very knowledgeable. Several Internet chat rooms allow you to pick the brain of owners. On some Web sites veterinary experts field questions.

In addition, many veterinarians will meet with you before you purchase a dog to educate you about responsible ownership. Dog shows are a great place to do research because you can meet the animals and get a sense of their temperament. In most cases you can speak with a breeder who will know not only the genetic traits of a line, but also whether the dogs are friendly and active or domineering and unaffectionate.  

Finding the right pet is not all research, however. "There is some chemistry that happens between a person and an animal," says Hawk. "I see this a lot when people come through our shelter. They may be looking for a specific breed and they just won't bond with the dog--there is just not that click--but another person will see the dog and wham, love the dog."  

The first thing to consider is: Why do you want a dog? As a companion or to guard the house? Because the kids are nagging for a pet or because, as a single person, you want a friendly face to come home to? The answers to these questions will affect your choice. Then consider your lifestyle. Is it stable? Are you home regular hours or do you travel often? Do you have a lot of time to play with and exercise a pet? Are you an active or sedentary person? Are you or anyone in your home allergic? Do you own other pets? What kind of a space do you live in? Is there a backyard or are you a city dweller? Can you afford dog food as well as regular veterinary and grooming visits?  

According to the American Kennel Club, which has been registering purebred dogs since 1909, the six most popular dog breeds in 1998 were the Labrador retriever, golden retriever, German shepherd, rottweiler, dachshund and beagle. Consistently among the top 10, these breeds have enjoyed periods of popularity that reflect what is happening in popular culture.

In 1922, for instance, German shepherds became the top AKC-registered dog after Rin Tin Tin became a movie star. And, three years after Charles Schulz introduced Snoopy to the world, the beagle began a seven-year stint as the top breed. Popular culture has also influenced the popularity of other breeds over the years. In 1998, for example, the audacious Taco Bell Chihuahua inspired enough people to purchase the miniature pups that Chihuahua registrations broke the top 10 list of popular dog breeds for the first time.  

Currently 147 breeds are registered with the AKC, which breaks them down into seven categories based on the function for which the dog was originally bred. The sporting group contains dogs that were designed to assist hunters, and includes pointers, setters, spaniels and retrievers. The hound group includes canines that pursue and catch their quarry by sight and scent and guide the hunter's way. The working group, which comprises human-service dogs, includes guard, sledding and rescue breeds. The terrier group includes dogs that kill rodents and vermin and have the ability to dig. The toy group includes some of the more ancient breeds that function mainly as companions due to their diminutive size. The herding group consists of dogs that control the movements of other animals, such as sheep or cattle. The nonsporting group is the most diverse group because many of its breeds defy categorization.  

Although some species have similar purposes, they do not always have similar personality traits; ultimately, it is a dog's demeanor that will make or break a good owner-pet relationship. For example, the rottweiler and the Saint Bernard are members of the working group; however, whereas the rottweiler is generally domineering and stubborn, the Saint Bernard is easygoing and patient.  

In his 1998 book Why We Love The Dogs We Do: How to Find the Dog That Matches Your Personality, Stanley Coren offers an alternative seven-group classification system, based not on function but on human personality traits. He proposes that dogs fall into the following categories: friendly (affectionate and genial), protective (territorial and dominant), independent (personable and strong-willed), self-assured (spontaneous and sometimes audacious), consistent (self-contained and home-loving), steady (good-natured and tolerant) or clever (observant and trainable). According to Coren, by evaluating your own personality, you can better know if the dog that best suits you is one that will run you around the park, or curl up next to you on the couch while you watch television, or be content to sit quietly across the room while you read the paper. (See sidebar on page 107.)  

You must also choose whether to buy from a breeder or to adopt from a shelter, which will offer a variety of dogs, including mixed breed, purebred and mature pets. Though purebred dogs offer behavioral predictability because genetic characteristics are consistent, dangers exist. In an effort to weed out unwanted genetic disorders such as eye disease, breeders may inbreed dogs. While this usually produces desirable outcomes, it sometimes creates negative effects.

Cocker spaniels may develop eye disorders while dogs like dalmatians and German shepherds may become aggressive. According to AKC Director of Special Services David Roberts, no particular line of dogs suffers negative effects more than another, and in general, inbreeding can be a sound practice that brings out the positive genetic traits of a line. Buying a puppy from a breeder allows you to predict the temperament of a dog because you can meet its dam (mother) and, in many cases, the father, and observe their adult behavior. You can also observe whether the pup was raised in a healthy, caring environment that won't leave lasting behavioral or health scars.  

Mixed-breed dogs will usually have the disposition of the breed that is genetically predominant, and therefore be fairly predictable. According to Hawk, "There are no disadvantages to having a mixed-breed dog. It may actually give you something better."  

Utmost in importance is that you buy from a reputable breeder or pet store. Check the references of the breeder or pet shop that you are considering with the local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been made against it. Breeders do not have to be licensed, but their facilities must be inspected by a local or state agency. When buying a dog from a pet shop, you need to be especially concerned with the origin of the puppies. Many pet shops still sell dogs that come from puppy mills, where they are carelessly and quickly inbred for the purpose of sale. Puppy mill dogs often have genetic disorders, which can lead to violent behavior and an inability to be trained. Many of these animals end up being put down.  

Whether you choose a mixed or purebred dog, many authorities suggest adoption. "What we have to do as a society and as a community is to think in terms, not unlike we did with aluminum cans, of recycling our pets and think the shelter first," says Hawk. "It is kind of a cold word--recycle--but it is the concept. If you can't find what you are looking for, OK, but at least try."  

Shelter adoption does not remove the possibility of acquiring a purebred animal. "Each of the clubs that is a member of the AKC has a rescue association and we do recommend rescue. Rescue is a great way to get a purebred dog," Roberts says. An estimated 25 percent of dogs in shelters are AKC-registered purebreds. Many people are put off by animal rescue because shelter adoption can be time-consuming and for some, depressing. "A shelter is not always the most enjoyable place to go and a lot of people can't emotionally handle it," Hawk says.  

The ASPCA began an affiliation last year with Petfinder.org, an Internet pet shelter site that went national in 1998. With sponsorship from Petopia's Million Pet Mission and hundreds of animal shelters across the country, www.petfinder.org has become the Internet's largest searchable directory for homeless pets. By this May, Petfinder is expected to have more than 1,000 shelters nationwide online.  

"What makes the Internet such an attractive thing," Hawk says, "is that it gets the two main objections that I think people have to visiting shelters over with. They can visit with no emotional, heart-wrenching walk through the shelter and seeing all these sad faces looking at them. Most people know what they are looking for and Petfinder will do it for them, so it is convenient. You search from your home, it is fast, it is easy, and you don't have to drive all over the city."  

To search Petfinder's site, you input a dog breed (or mixed breed); the desired age, size and sex; your location; and the maximum distance you would like to travel to obtain the dog. Within seconds Petfinder pulls up all of the dogs that match your criteria. You can then see a picture, read a brief description, and find out the dog's name without leaving your home. Hawk hopes that Petfinder will make a huge difference in the lives of shelter animals and move the United States towards becoming a no-kill nation, where no adoptable pet is put down because of overcrowding or feeding costs.  

The woodwork in your house is completely ruined and there are gnaw marks all over your furniture. You don't want to give up your dog, but it is costing you a fortune in home repairs. To make matters worse, your neighbor has threatened to call animal control if your pooch doesn't stop barking every time he goes to the car. It wasn't supposed to be this hard.  

Dog trainer Bash Dibra, author of Dog Speak: How to Learn It, Speak It and Use It to Have a Happy, Healthy, Well-Behaved Dog, teaches his clients (which include celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Scorsese and Mariah Carey) that if you understand the basics of dog behavior, you can train a dog to be the perfect companion, at any age. As a child, Dibra befriended vicious dogs that guarded the Yugoslavian prison camp he lived in with his family after they escaped from Albania. His innate ability to be in tune with a dog led to his development of "dog speak," a kind of language by which dogs communicate with each other and humans using territorial behavior, aggression, vocalization and chemical smells.  

"The first thing in training a dog is to educate and train the owner to have the ability to communicate with a dog and then, at the same time, create leadership. Dogs like to follow a leader," Dibra explains. Dogs are descendants of wolves; the tenants of pack behavior are scripted into their DNA. Dogs look for an alpha, or leader; they like the comfort of a "den"; they chew and sniff in a constant search for calcium; and they may perceive certain benign human actions and sounds as threatening and instinctively respond. If you understand and anticipate your dog's behavior and body language, you can stop aggressive or destructive behavior before it starts.  

Understanding a dog's body language is key. Dogs communicate through their ears and tail as much as through vocalization. If a dog approaches with his body stiff and his tail and ears up, he is exhibiting a signal of dominance and you should approach with caution. If you approach a dog whose ears and tails are down, he is afraid, and you should approach him in a way that makes him feel safe, or he might snap at you.  

"All of these signals are important ways that dogs talk to each other. We always want a dog to listen to us," says Dibra. "Why can't we listen to what they say to us? When training a dog, you have to think like a dog."  

The biggest mistake people make when training their dog is to give it mixed messages. Owners have to set limits, but they are often afraid to because they don't want to be cruel. Some of the training techniques that humans perceive as cruel, such as crating, are actually comforts to a dog. "The crate is like a den, so it is part of the innate genetic makeup of the dog," Dibra explains. "That should be used as a tool to help housebreaking and to also overcome destructive behavior when they go through the teething stages.  

"A lot of people don't understand the collar principle. The best equipment is a chain collar that you can put through a loop, like a slip collar. If you do the collar the right way, in the shape of the letter P, when you pull or release the chain it doesn't hurt. It also has a click sound which lets you know if something is out of synch." When executing this technique the wrong way, it is possible to give the dog trachea stress. Some smaller dogs are predisposed to this problem, so a nylon buckle or soft leather collar can be used. Dibra suggests using a harness only when it is medically necessary. "The harness is cute, but you can never train the dog because he has control."  

Problems like separation anxiety, mouthing (play biting) and pulling can be controlled by establishing yourself as alpha and remaining consistent. "Mouthing is a natural way for dogs to show affection; it is like kissing. But it can get out of hand and people need to draw the line," Dibra says. Owners inadvertently teach their dogs bad behavior by being inconsistent. If it is sometimes acceptable for your dog to jump up to you to receive a treat but sometimes not, a dog will not be able to discern the appropriate time and adopt jumping on you and others as an acceptable behavior. Most people pet a dog while telling it no, Dibra says, which is a mixed message because the dog feels the positive reinforcement of the touch while you are attempting to enforce discipline.  

Certain actions that people make will trigger a dog's protective instinct, leading to aggressive behavior. Different dogs respond to sounds differently and they will genetically interpret certain vocal tones as growls. In dog speak, dogs challenge each other by such vocalization. Another mistake people make is when first encountering a new dog, they bend down to eye level with the dog (which some dogs, such as Akitas, interpret as a challenge) and then quickly stand upright, which other dogs may take as an invitation to jump up as well. In these cases, the dog will take its cue from its alpha and react according to your positive or negative response. "The more you train a dog, the more they trust you and stop bad behavior," Dibra says.  

"When a dog is really trained right and you understand dog speak, you will have these moments when you and your dog are totally in synch and it is almost as if you are talking to the dog through telepathy, because the dog is picking up on your body language and vice versa," Dibra adds.   Alexander Pope mused in the eighteenth century that "histories are more full of examples of the fidelity of dogs than of friends." In the twenty-first century, a wise and unknown poet paraphrased Pope into bumper sticker-ese: "The more people I meet, the more I like my dog."  

The emotional benefits of owning a dog are obvious when you talk to a dog owner. Moreover, a multitude of studies show that animal companionship benefits the infirm and the elderly and reduces stress. Dogs are even becoming a regular sight in the workplace. "There is lots of evidence of animals reducing stress and generally creating a happier, psychologically healthier environment," says Andrea Reisman of the Petopia office in San Francisco, where employee dogs roam free. "For us [having dogs in the office] actually creates an environment that is turbo-charged in terms of pace, because the animals really create a backdrop of calm and warmth."  

Dogs can also foster a sense of community among owners. In dog parks, in chat rooms and at competitive shows, dog owners never tire of discussing their beloved companions with one another. "If you walk past any dog park, you'll see the dogs playing and the people talking to each other," Reisman says. "If you listen to the conversations, people don't know each other's names, they know the dogs' names. They refer to each other as Rex's owner or Buffy's father. Dog owners really want to talk to each other." According to the AKC's Roberts, it is no different on the show circuit where "a real close-knit family" develops between people whose only association is that they compete at the same shows.  

As dogs become more integrated into their owners' lives, a growing number of services are becoming available. In the hotel industry, for instance, many establishments are now providing accommodations for the dogs of guests. The field of veterinary care has made great strides towards curing diseases and extending life. Pet therapy is also an expanding field. "Pet therapy is very valid, and people willing to make that investment, bless them, because that investment can pay off in many ways," says Hawk. "By initiating drug therapy or behavioral changes, you have created an animal that can be part of the family instead of ending up in a shelter or being put down. We all need help occasionally, and so do our pets."  

Many people still view pet owners as nuisance neighbors. In an attempt to assuage some of the fears and create confidence in a pet's behavior, the AKC has developed the Canine Good Citizen Program, in which all dogs, purebreds or mutts, can pass a series of obedience tests and be certified to behave well in society. "There is a tremendous movement now among housing people who do not want dogs in their buildings because they think they are nuisances. With a Canine Good Citizen Certificate, a board can be sure that a dog is well behaved," Dibra says.  

Perhaps what is needed is a better understanding between people. Those who don't love dogs can't understand why most dog owners admit to having regular conversations with their pups and to calling them by a diminutive. Or why more than 50 percent of dog owners refer to themselves as Mommy or Daddy. For those who do not love dogs, it is hard to understand why people subject themselves to the sometimes unpleasant aspects of owning a dog. To them, Dibra asks, "What is the point of living if you don't have a dog?"  

Christine Merrill is exclusively represented by The William Secord Gallery Inc. in New York City. For more information, call 212-249-0075 or visit its Web site, www.dogpainting.com.    

MASTER'S CHOICE  

Find which dog best suits your personality, according to Why We Love the Dogs We Do, by Stanley coren.  

If you're this sort of person... EXTROVERTED

Outgoing in social situations, cheerful and people-oriented. Your job involves a lot of public contact. You deal well with people and are generally the joke teller in the center of the crowd. Your dog should be...

CONSISTENT (Chihuahua, dachshund, pug) or clever (Belgian sheepdog, German shepherd, poodle)  

If you're this sort of person...INTROVERTED

You avoid social interaction because you are uncomfortable in a crowd. People sometimes call you aloof or distant. You work well in jobs where you can be independent of other people. In a crowd, you tend to stay with the people you already know. Your dog should be...

INDEPENDENT (borzoi, Chinese shar-pei, dalmatian) or steady (basset hound, beagle, Great Dane)  

If you're this sort of person... DOMINANT

You are forceful, assertive, self-assured and competitive. Because you are very ambitious and achievement-oriented, your job is in management where you can have power and lead. Your dog should be...

SELF-ASSURED (Jack Russell terrier, shih tzu, Yorkshire terrier) or steady (bloodhound, bulldog, mastiff)  

If you're this sort of person... NONDOMINANT

You are shy and passive and avoid leadership roles. You like structure and therefore work in an environment where the rules are clear. You are nonconfrontational and sensitive to the needs and wants of others. Your dog should be...

PROTECTIVE (Akita, bull terrier, rottweiler) or independent (Afghan hound, greyhound, pointer)  

If you're this sort of person... TRUSTING

You are gentle, obliging and modest. People who know you refer to you as a good sport. You work in the arts because you don't like situations in which manipulation is an advantage. You tend to leave your car unlocked and take friends at their word. Your dog should be...

PROTECTIVE (boxer, chow chow, puli) or clever (Cardigan Welsh corgi, border collie, papillon)  

If you're this sort of person... CONTROLLING

You are competitive, calculating and manipulative. People sometimes refer to you as cocky and blunt. You can bluff in any situation and may work in marketing or sales. You are charismatic and have a desire to be successful at any cost. Your dog should be...

STEADY (Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, Saint Bernard) or self-assured (miniature pinscher, Welsh terrier, basenji)  

If you're this sort of person... WARM

You are sympathetic, forgiving, affectionate and charitable. Because you are accommodating and helpful, your job is in the personal service field. You belong to clubs and boards, but don't require recognition for your efforts. Your dog should be...

CLEVER (Doberman pinscher, Shetland sheepdog) or friendly (golden retriever, soft-coated wheaten terrier)  

If you're this sort of person... COOL

You are self-oriented and independent. People refer to you as a lone wolf. You work in a job where your cynicism and skepticism are helpful, such as investigation. You give little thought to the desires of others and you want to win at all costs. Your dog should be...

STEADY (Bernese mountain dog, clumber spaniel, Scottish deerhound) or consistent (Boston terrier, English toy spaniel, Maltese)    

MILLENNIUM DOG  

Wouldn't it be great if you could occasionally shut your dog off? If you didn't have to walk him or dispose of his waste? If he neither shed nor required grooming? What if you could operate him by remote control?  

For on-again, off-again owners, AIBO, an entertainment robot introduced by Sony in 1999, may be the perfect pet.  

In Sony's words, AIBO (the first two letters stand for artificial intelligence, the last two contain part of the word robot) is "an autonomous robot that acts in response to external stimulation and its own judgment. It displays various emotional expressions and learns by communicating and interacting with human beings."

Because AIBO is made for interaction with humans, it was given the familiar, lovable, four-legged shape of a dog and can even wag its robotic tail (though it sports no fur). So popular was the concept that when Sony first began manufacturing AIBO, all 5,000 units sold within 20 minutes in Japan and within four days in the United States. Sony made 10,000 more robots and received an overwhelming 135,000 orders for those "pups." Sony promised to fill every order received during an 11-day ordering period in February 2000. The date for the next edition has yet to be decided.  

While AIBO won't fetch the newspaper or chase away rodents, it acts remarkably like a real dog. Eighteen motors power its 6 1/4"x 10 1/2" x 10 7/8" frame, allowing it to walk on its four legs, sit, stretch, pop up after falling over, and belly-crawl. Programming variables give it the ability to "learn" other movements. A sensor on its head and a pair of stereo microphones installed on its ears make it respond to touch and speech.  

AIBO is programmed to have what Sony calls six "emotional states"--joy, sadness, anger, surprise, fear and discontent--and four "instincts"-- love, search, movement and recharge. According to Sony, "Through the environment in which it is raised and the people with whom it communicates, AIBO can feel and learn.... AIBO will gradually grow into its own unique personality."  

AIBO communicates with its human master by using a language of musical tones and melodies as well as body language and eye lights. The robot pup will ask you to play ball with it by making the shape of a ball with its paws and trying to get your attention, or when it is in a "bad mood," it may ignore your commands and presence altogether.  

AIBO has three modes: autonomous, performance and game. In autonomous mode, AIBO will interact with humans and rely on its emotions and instincts the way a real dog would. In performance mode, it will act out preprogrammed behavior patterns. In game mode, it can respond to remote-control commands such as forward and backward as well as more sophisticated commands such as "kick the ball" or "hold it in your mouth." (AIBO likes to play soccer while in game mode.) Owners can purchase an additional AIBO Performer Kit motion editor, which allows users to edit and create original movements on their home PC.  

AIBO sells for $2,500 and comes in silver gray or metallic black. You get a pup with a 64-bit RISC processor, 16 MB of internal memory and 8MB programmable memory |in the form of a memory stick. The unit weighs only 3 pounds, 8 ounces, including its battery, and will never pee on the carpet. --SR    

GRRREAT GIFTS  

The following is a sampling of some of the items Petopia.com has to offer:  

BROWN CORDUROY CAR COAT Your pet will be stylish as well as warm in this eight-wale corduroy jacket with faux shearling lining that extends to the collar to protect sensitive little ears from the cold. $69.97  

CROSS-BOARDED LEATHER COLLAR (dual prong) Imported leather is cross-boarded to give an embossed effect. Brass fittings are extra durable. Matching leash available. $55.97  

DARK LEATHER LEASH Imported directly from Great Britain and made of English bridle leather, this leash is tanned with natural vegetable dyes and hand-finished with tallow wax. All fasteners are solid brass. Matching studded leather collar available. $30.97  

GREEN STRIPEY DOG BED The round George bed is covered in cotton duck printed with dog images. The inner cushion is made of Comferel for the feel of down filling. Outer lining is made with machine-washable, flat-weave cotton. Zippers are solid brass. $119.97  

CREATIVE PET TRAVELLING KIT All the items necessary for travelling with your dog or cat are packaged in a heavy-duty suitcase. Included are the best-selling Pets Welcome book, (which lists American hotels and inns that welcome pets), a book for recording medical information about your pet, a comprehensive but compact first-aid kit, two bar-coded ID tags with toll-free number (in case your pet gets lost), Odorless Pet deodorizer, food and water bowls, leash for dog or cat and a chew preventative that doubles as a toy. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this kit goes to support the Humane Society of the United States. $44.97  

THE ROADIE HIKER A vehicle restraint system, the Roadie Hiker is designed to deal with the extreme forces that occur during fast stops, turns and the unexpected. Allows your dog to sit, stand or lie comfortably. Attaches to any vehicle's seat-belt system. $65.47  

PET STEP RAMP The lightweight (20 pounds) and portable utility ramp, with universal grip, fits any vehicle as access for your pet. The ramp has a no-slip surface, is 18 inches wide and 70 inches long when extended and holds up to 500 pounds. $175  

GEORGE OLIVE CORDUROY/SHERPA QUILT Olive corduroy covers the face, crème Sherpa the reverse. Trim is black grosgrain. Forty-seven inches square. Machine-washable. $129.97  

EXCELLENT DOG BOWL High-quality, tan porcelain bowl with dog crest printed on outside rim. The word food or water printed on the inside may spark the interest of literate pups. $35.97  

BOW WOW BISTRO GOURMET CIGAR TREATS All-natural and healthy doggy cigar treats. Hand-dipped in yogurt and individually wrapped for freshness. Contain no by-products, artificial colors, artificial flavors or preservatives. $12.97 for box of 10  

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