Thursday, April 30, 2009

Animals Have Feelings

Marc Bekoff, biologist at the University of Colorado, has compiled a new book, The Smile of the Dolphin, (Discovery Books/Random House, $35) in which dozens of animal researchers explain why they believe animals have emotions.

The Grieving Chimp

In one chapter, primate expert Jane Goodall recounts the grief experienced by a chimpanzee child named Flint after his mother, Flo, died in Africa's Gombe National Park. "Over the next three weeks, Flint became increasingly lethargic. He stopped eating, and he avoided other chimps, huddling in the vegetation close to where he'd last seen Flo," she writes.

The sad-eyed mourner made his way to the spot where his mother had lain, next to a stream, staring into the water until he died.

"Chimpanzees, differing from us genetically by only just over one percent, can't be said to weep, for they don't shed tears. Yet...they show behavior that's associated with sadness, depression, and grief in humans: soft whimpering, crying sounds, listlessness, lack of appetite, avoidance of others," Goodall writes.

But are such animals truly "sad," in the sense that they realize something is lost that will never be regained? How can they be said to be happy, sad, or angry if they don't perceive themselves as a separate being?, the skeptics ask. Others say it's credible to count apes as capable of feeling, but a broad stretch to attribute emotions to lions or sheep.

"Does Flint reflect and say, 'I'm sad'? I don't know if he does, but he's behaving as if he's sad, and there's no reason to believe that he's not sad," Bekoff says, adding that anyone who lives with a dog knows when she's happy, sad, or fearful.

Human-Animal Bond

Clinton Sanders, a professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut, writes that he studied a guide-dog training program to find out more about the social bond between dogs and people.

"For people who depend on dogs for special assistance, knowing their animal companions' thought processes and feelings is central to building an effective alliance," Sanders says. "The visually-impaired people with whom I talked often spoke of the special pleasure their dogs derived from doing the work they were trained for – and, in contrast, the embarrassment they obviously felt when they made mistakes."

Mother-Infant Bond

Jaak Panksepp, an expert in neuroscience at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, says he witnessed the power of the mother-infant bond when his two female cats, a mother and her daughter, each gave birth after building nests in closets on opposite ends of his long, ranch-style home.

The mother cat gave birth first, and the daughter, while awaiting her babies' arrival, took charge of the mother's brood, carrying them to her nest. "Then we had a few days of chaos, as mother and daughter repeatedly ferried the kittens between their domains," Panksepp recounts. "We know many of the neurochemistries that activate these strong (maternal) feelings. At the basic emotional level, all mammals are remarkably similar."

So, what does it mean to believe that animals have feelings? "It means they are not just objects with which we can do what we please," Bekoff says. But the broader implications of viewing animals with more sensitivity could mean dramatic societal changes, like stopping the factory production of meat for humans, or granting animals more rights.

"I think it will have a subtle, slow impact," says Bekoff, who's a vegetarian. "I think the world is going to be different."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dangerous Medications for Dogs

Some people think that human medications might help dogs; DON'T DO IT!

Here are three medications you should NEVER give your dog:

1. ASPRIN. Aspirin. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Aspirin can be especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs such as steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. There is a much higher risk of toxicity. Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot in cases of wounds or lacerations. Spontaneous bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal problems are common in dogs.

2. IBUPROFEN is a popular and effective over-the-counter medication available to treat pain and inflammation in people. For dogs, ibuprofen can easily exceed toxic levels. The most common cause of ibuprofen toxicity is a well-meaning owner who tries to alleviate pain in his dog by administering a dose he thinks is adequate without knowing the toxic dose. The initial toxic effect is bleeding stomach ulcers. In addition to ulcers, increasing doses of ibuprofen eventually lead to kidney failure and, if left untreated, can be fatal. Symptoms include poor appetite, vomiting, black tarry stools, vomiting blood, abdominal pain, weakness and lethargy.

3. ACETAMINOPHEN. Common brands include Tylenol®, Percoset®, aspirin free Excedrin® and various sinus, cold and flu medications. Dogs most commonly receive toxic amounts of acetaminophen because owners medicate them without consulting a veterinarian. They also consume tablets that are dropped on the floor or left around. Dogs are less sensitive to acetaminophen than cats. For example, a 50-pound dog would need to ingest over seven 500 mg tablets in order to suffer toxic effects. In the cat, one 250 mg acetaminophen tablet could be fatal. If you suspect that your dog has ingested a toxic amount of acetaminophen, (one pill or more), contact your family veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility immediately. Aspirin toxicity (salicylate toxicity) is poisoning that occurs following the ingestion of aspirin or aspirin-containing products. Aspirin can be especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs such as steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. There is a much higher risk of toxicity. Aspirin interferes with platelets, which are responsible for helping the blood to clot. Disruption of platelet function increases the amount of time it takes the blood to clot in cases of wounds or lacerations. Spontaneous bleeding may also occur causing pinpoint bruises to appear in the skin and on the gums (petechiae). Aspirin toxicity may cause gastrointestinal problems, respiratory difficulties, neurological problems, bleeding disorders and kidney failure. Gastrointestinal problems are common in dogs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dog Escape

Have you ever had your dog escape its kennel?

You cannot imagine the talent of this beagle who makes an incredible escape from his confines. Watch this and you will laugh!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Rescued A Human Today

Here is a tear-jerking story written by Janine Allen CPDT

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her. I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldn't be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didn't want her to know that I hadn't been walked today. Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn't want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn't feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone's life. She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.

I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.

Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms. I would promise to keep her safe. I would promise to always be by her side. I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes. I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who haven't walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Dogs Incrediable Sense of Smell

Yes, dogs can smell cancer as well as low blood sugar.

The Pine Street Foundation, a cancer-education and research center in San Anselmo, California, published a study showing it was possible to train dogs to identify, based on breath samples, which patients had lung and breast cancer. Now the organization is recruiting ovarian cancer patients and dogs for a new study.

In diabetics, the presence of ketones—substances made by the body during the metabolic process—can be smelled in urine and on the breath when blood sugars are high. Dogs can pick up on other smells that humans can’t when glucose levels drop.

Pretty amazing, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Importance of Water
For Your Dog's Health

"It simply cannot be overstated how important water is to your dog's health and well being," says Dr. Jon. It helps digest food, absorb nutrients, flush out waste and control body temperature. Next to oxygen, water is the most important nutrient in your dog's body.

According to Dr. Jon, dogs can go for days without food. Their bodies can lose all their fat and up to half their protein and still survive. But when a dog loses just 10 percent of his body's water, bodily functions shut down causing serious illness. A 15 percent loss of body water will kill him.

So how much water does your dog need?

There is no steadfast rule. In general, animals should take in two and a half times more water than food. Another useful guideline for dogs weighing 20 pounds or less is that they need about 1 cup (8 ounces) of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. So, a healthy 15-pound dog would need 3 cups of water a day.

Check your dog's water dish regularly. When fresh, clean water is available a dog will generally drink all he needs to survive. The fresher the water, the more appealing it will be to your dog.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Smiling Dogs

Dogs are always ready to please and are happy with even the slightest gesture on our parts... whether it is a little playtime or "one more" treat.

Dogs seem to have and endless supply of happiness.

Here are some photos that capture this wonderful spirit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

In honor of Mother Earth, I decided to spend as much time possible in her company absorbed in all her beauty.

This morning Ebony and I took a walk in our beautifully wooded area listening to the birds. I was feeling grateful and appreciative.

In the afternoon having completed a watercolor painting I had been working on for several days, I returned outdoors to reconvene with Mother Nature. I traveled via skates (Landrollers) along the Chehalis Western Trail with Ebony at my side. Along this trail are several ponds and plenty of wildlife, so once again I was enraptured by the beauty of my surroundings. Unfortunately, a gray squirrel crossed our path and I forgot to let go of Ebony's lead. CRASH. Good thing I wear padding.

When I was tutoring this evening, I asked my student what they did in school for Earth Day. To my astonishment she said they did nothing and asked if it were a day to recycle. Schools have dropped the ball; how disappointing. Where else will the younger generation learn to care for our planet?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dogs Love to Chew

Does your dog chew everything in sight?

I just learned that dogs generally have 28 baby teeth and 42 adult or permanent teeth. The permanent teeth include six pairs of sharp incisor teeth, which are in the front of the mouth, surrounded by two pairs of large canine teeth.

There are very few things that can challenge a dog's teeth. Dog's teeth are highly specialized structures that tear, cut and grind food into pieces small enough to swallow. Teeth also serve as weapons of offense and defense.

If you don't give your dog his own personal things to chew, he will be forced to satisfy his natural instincts by chewing the things around him. And trust me, he will find plenty of things that are pleasing to chew ... mine chewed the molding on the door frame!

Yes, dogs love to chew. It can be a very soothing activity that brings your dog a lot of comfort ... or a very dangerous one that threatens his very life. You can't change your dog's biology. The fact is, he's driven to chew.

So, find durable, safe, and chewable toys for your dog.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Why Do Dogs Chase Cars?

My neighbor's dog taught my dog, Ebony, how to herd the UPS truck. I thought that was just something border collies think up.

I learned why dogs chase cars; They are either playing a game or they are hunting. To a greater or lesser degree, chasing involves a dog's natural prey drive.

In most socialized, well-adjusted dogs, prey drive expresses itself as a canine tag game, in which the dogs take turns being "it." The object isn't necessarily to catch the other dog; the real fun is just running around. Chasing balls or Frisbees is another outlet for dogs' prey drive.

Dogs may play-fight as part of the game of tag, lunging or even snapping playfully at one another during the chase. This form of play may extend to include cats, joggers, people riding on bicycles or skateboards, or cars. The intent is not to hurt or kill, but to engage the other creature (or thing) in a game.

A good training tool for chasing cars is an electronic training collar;
It works!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Black Dogs Less Popular?

There does seem to be an issue with the adoptability of black dogs. There are many black dogs at animal shelters. Are black dogs less adoptable?

According to Susan Smith of the Franklin County Dog Shelter, black dogs are less adoptable. Ms. Smith says, "If you have two similar dogs - one black, one light colored side-by-side with similar temperaments, both well behaved, both house broken and friendly, the light-colored dog will be adopted before the black dog".

It is known that dark hair is a dominant trait. There are more brunettes than any other hair color. Maybe, there are just more black dogs?

Mine sure is cute............

It was love at first sight!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Time for Skating

Two days of sunshine here in the Pacific Northwest! Time to dust off my skates.

Last fall I purchased some fun skates; Mojos made by Landroller ( Tell them I sent you!). Because Ebony has been trained to a remote electronic dog training collar, she runs beside me on the trails. She LOVES it and so do I!

Here we are last fall. The maple leaves were very challenging to skate through.

This is what the skates look like close up.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dog Happiness

According to the English dictionary, happiness is a feeling of contentedness, well-being, pleasure, or good fortune. With dogs, who essentially wear their hearts on their sleeves, contentedness and well-being is a far less complicated affair and is plain for all to see - as long as you know what you are looking for.

Is YOUR dog happy?

Read more....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meet Your Breed

Which dog breed is right for you?

With more than 140 pure breeds to choose from, narrowing down the list of choices can sometimes be overwhelming.

To help in the process of selecting a breed here is a very nice breed selection tool. It's called BREEDmatch. It works just like, but instead of finding a date, it will help match you to your perfect pet. It was created by Eukanuba and it is provided at no charge.

Check out BREEDMatch,and click on "Meet your Breedmatch" on the left.

This is a very neat way to find the breed that best fits you.

So, who is your perfect pet?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Dogs Bury Bones

Dr. Jon enlightened me today with an article explaining why dogs bury bones.
Do you know why?

Although dogs have been around for millions of years, they have only been domesticated for a few thousand years, and they spent a lot of time developing behaviors that helped them to survive. Burying bones is one of the behaviors that had to do with finding and maintaining an adequate food supply.

Dogs might sometimes kill a prey animal large enough to feed the entire pack,or other times when small prey animals were abundant, they might kill many of these bite-sized creatures. Dogs often found themselves with more food than they could eat at one time. They could never be sure when they would be able to find and kill another prey, so to be on the safe side, they carried the bones, which were filled with nutrient-rich marrow, back to their lair, and buried them nearby. When food was scarce, they could always rely on the bones to keep them fed.

This process is called caching or hoarding, and it is common among dogs, wolves and foxes. In fact, other animals practice a form of caching; squirrels gather enough nuts to last through the winter, and camels store enough food and water to last for several days in the desert. Our domesticated dogs may have their food handed to them each day in sufficient quantities, but they still carry this caching trait and bury their bones or toys in the back yard or under a pillow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dog Testiness

Does your dog test you? Does your dog constantly keep you on your toes?

I wonder if certain breeds of dogs are more testier than others. What do you think? Ebony is a cross between a Black Lab and a Border Collie. I am not sure which breed is the culprit or if it is the combination breed which accounts for her testiness.

I remember meeting a woman at the park when Ebony was a pup. She insisted that her Black Lab only behaved well walking with a "gentle leader." So I bought one! It worked somewhat, but at about a year old I tried the electronic training collar on her. SUCCESS STORY!

Yet, she still tests me. Each morning when we go for our walk, she likes to inch ahead of me. I do not understand. Is this a test? Or is it that important to her to be in the front? She reminds me of children.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Look Mom, No Hands!

Have you ever seen three big dogs walking with their master without a leash?

Jayme has trained her dogs by using an electronic dog training collar.

Heads turn when they see her and her dogs walking together.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dogs and Car Rides

It seems to me that dogs either love car rides or hate them.

Fortunately my dog, Ebony, looks forward to car rides. She anxiously watches me when I come outside because no matter what I do, I must pass by the car. I can see the expression on her face as she watches my every move.

She asks, "Walk?" "Car Ride?"

If I walk past the car, she is immediately bounding joyfully down the road. If I open the car door, she scrutinizes me.

She asks, "Can I come, too?"

A "No" response gets a sad, poor me look. But, If I open the back of the car, she is READY for adventure. You can see the smile on her face. My buddy off to explore the world.

I feel sorry for those pet owners whose dogs get car sick or do not like traveling in cars. There must be a way to help them. Any one have some training advice?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tired Of Throwing Balls For Your Dog?

Do you have one of those dogs that love balls and can play fetch for hours?

My Irish Setter never tired of playing fetch or frisbee.
I was the one who got worn out. She could go on forever.

If any of you have this problem, here is one way to solve it.
Watch this dog!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Does Your Dog Show
That She Misses You?

I just returned from spending a week at Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Isla Mujeres is a small island off the Yucatan Peninsula. Isla Mujeres means island of women in Spanish, and how appropriate that I was there with a bunch of women on a retreat.

Ebony was home alone. My neighbor checked on her. This neighbor rations out daily two dog biscuits to any dog that comes to her door. Needless to say, Ebony shows up. After her morning feeding, Ebony decided to follow my neighbor home for her two biscuits...she knows a good thing!

Ebony was patiently waiting in the driveway when I drove in. Yes, she greeted me with exuberance which lasted for several minutes and followed me around for the next few minutes. This seems like normal behavior for a dog who has not seen her owner for awhile. But how do you know if she really missed you?

The way I can tell is when she does behavior which is not her normal routine. That happened the next morning when she jumped up on the bed to lick my face. Again, she licked my face when I was doing stretches on the floor. This was different behavior and I got the feeling that she really missed me.

How does your dog show that she misses you?
I would love to hear........