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'Unfortunate' photo wasn't tampered with: IKEA

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Date: Friday Aug. 25, 2006 1:53 PM ET

An IKEA catalogue with a photo that appears to show a dog with a larger-than-normal, human-like appendage has not been tampered with, according to the furniture giant's Canadian office.

The first photo in the 2007 catalogue -- a two-page, front-cover foldout -- shows a young family lounging on a bed with a dog.

The dog, which appears to be a greyhound or whippet, seems to have one distinctly human male characteristic, prompting some to suggest the image had been tampered with by a mischievous employee using a program such as Photoshop.

Ikea Canada says that's simply not the case.

"The picture has definitely not been tampered with," Debbie McDowell, corporate communications manager for the Swedish retailer's Canadian office told

She said the photo was shot in Sweden, where the catalogues are put together.

"We saw this particular photo when the prints came through here in Canada. ...But we can definitely say this is a picture of a dog's leg, and it is not something else."

About six million copies of the catalogue have been distributed in Canada, and 175 million go out globally -- all with the same opening picture.

Though the picture -- which one blogger referred to as "Swedish Sausage" -- is fast making the rounds on the Internet, reader response in Canada has been minimal so far, McDowell said.

"There have been a handful of customer calls regarding this. But personally I've only taken two calls," McDowell said, adding that several media inquiries have also come through.

Quite simply, she said, the photo appears to be something it isn't.

"It's that straightforward. The picture is unfortunate, but we hope our customers will see past the image and see how fantastic the other 364 pages in the catalogue really are."

It's not the first time the trendy home-furnishings company's catalogues have come under scrutiny. IKEA's publications have developed an almost cult-like following online. Readers have found all kinds of strange tidbits, including mysterious cat pictures, apparent Mickey Mouse references and weird books wedged into the many shelves that clutter the catalogues.

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