Not many dogs can claim to be a musical muse. But adopted mutts Eliza Doolittle and Alfie inspire their human, songwriter Skip Haynes, to write catchy tunes for and about them. Haynes owns the Laurel Canyon Animal Company. Based in Los Angeles, it’s the only record label in the world that creates music about, for, and with animals.
But really, this music is for and about all dogs. Laurel Canyon Animal Company has been doing its thing since 1999, when it released the title track of its first dog-centric CD, Ugly Dogs Need More Love. (Although, Ugly Dog Contests notwithstanding, everyone knows there’s no such thing as an “ugly” dog, since all canines are beautiful, inside and out.)
“Our mission is to create a bridge between animals and humans through music,” Haynes explains. “It’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for real.”
Consider “Squeaky Deaky,” a track Haynes describes as “a call to action for dogs.” Here are some of the lyrics:
Squeaky Deaky, I love my squeaky toy!
Squeaky Deaky, it makes me jump for joy!
Squeaky Deaky, roll it on the ground!
Squeaky Deaky, I love that squeaky sound!
“Squeaky Deaky” was created with the help of animal communicator Dr. Kim Ogden-Avrutik, who acted as a translator, questioning more than 200 dogs on their taste in music and content. The song was then based on the dogs’ responses. “If you bring your dog into the room to listen and then play ‘Squeaky Deaky,’ you will be very surprised at the reaction,” Haynes promises.
Several YouTube users have posted videos capturing their dogs’ responses to the song. A dog named Spezi is so determined to get to the source of the squeaking that the laptop and the mattress it’s sitting on both come dangerously close to destruction!
As for the songwriter’s muse, “Eliza’s first reaction to ‘Squeaky Deaky’ was, ‘Where’s that darned squeaky toy?’ She looks around for one every time we play the song,” Haynes says. “Her song now, however, is ‘Car Car (Eliza’s Song),’ which I play for her every time I take her for her daily ride in the car. She expects it now and points towards the radio if I don’t put the song on for her. Pushy.”
“We did learn by working with animal communicator Dr. Kim Ogden-Avrutik that animals, dogs in particular, learn to like the same kind of music their guardians do — at least about 75 percent of them,” he says. “The rest tend to have the attitude, ‘If you play that music once more I’m going to bite your ankle!'”
(Full disclosure: I played “Squeaky Deaky” for my dog Lazarus and got no response, not even a tail thump. But then Laz is a music snob from way back, with a penchant for punk and classical; think Franz Liszt and Johnny Thunders.)
The title track of Laurel Canyon Animal Company’s newest CD, It’s All Right if My Dog Sleeps on the Bed All Night With Me, is a dream come true if you sleep with your dog: “Based on our research over the past 12 years, it’s the No. 1 question that all dog owners face sooner or later — should I, or should I not, let my dog sleep in bed with me?” Haynes says. “It’s a subject that dog lovers everywhere have very strong feelings about, and one that listeners (who own dogs) respond to vigorously.”
Here’s an excerpt:
If my dog wants to sleep on the bed all night
That’s all right with me,
If she wants to snuggle up, well, that’s the way it’s gonna be
Dog head on my pillow, dog breath on my feet,
Dog on top of the blanket or underneath the sheets
If my dog wants to sleep on the bed all night with me
“‘Adopt A Dog Today’ was created to be used for adoption events, and we give it away to any organization or individual that helps dogs and would like to use it,” Haynes says.
There’s dogs that you should know about who live in your hometown,
Animals of all kinds, you can see them all around
From mutts on up to purebreds, you can see it in their eyes
Bring one home, save a life, adopt don’t buy!
Take one home for your very own — adopt don’t buy!
The new CD contains six songs for dog lovers, two songs for dog lovers and their dogs, and two songs (one being “Squeaky Deaky”) created specifically for dogs with the animal communicator’s help. Now that four-footed music lovers are sitting at attention, what future tunes can they look forward to wagging their tails to? “We want to do an album about service dogs and war dogs,” Haynes says.
Dogs and the people who love them will doubtless be all ears.