Dogs live in the present – they just are! Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value. Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years. That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
Alex and Lisa have put together a remarkable video
Yesterday, in came an email from my son, Alex, about an amazing starling murmuration at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
Lisa took the video and together they uploaded it to YouTube.
Having watched the amazing video I then did a little bit of research. I came quickly across the science of murmuration and have included it below.
Murmuration refers to the phenomenon that results when hundreds, sometimes thousands, of starlings fly in swooping, intricately coordinated patterns through the sky.
Maybe you’ve seen a murmuration video before. But this one is especially beautiful. It was shot earlier this month in Wales, at Cosmeston Lakes in the Vale of Glamorgan, and posted on Facebook by the BBC Cymru Wales. (It’s not included, Ed.)
It’s all about science. Just how do the starlings manage to fly in such an amazingly coordinated way?
A few years ago, George F. Young and his colleagues investigated starlings’ “remarkable ability to maintain cohesion as a group in highly uncertain environments and with limited, noisy information” — a nice description of what goes on in a murmuration.
Going in, Young et al. already knew that starlings pay attention to a fixed number of their neighbors in the flock, regardless of flock density — seven, to be exact. Their new contribution was to figure out that “when uncertainty in sensing is present, interacting with six or seven neighbors optimizes the balance between group cohesiveness and individual effort.”
Young et al. analyzed still shots from videos of starlings in flight (flock size ranging from 440 to 2,600), then used a highly mathematical approach and systems theory to reach their conclusion. Focusing on the birds’ ability to manage uncertainty while also maintaining consensus, they discovered that birds accomplish this (with the least effort) when each bird attends to seven neighbors.
Woman Manages To Get Her 17 Pets To Pose For Incredible Family Paw-Trait
By Jess Hardiman, 3rd December, 2019
A woman has achieved the ultimate feat for any pet owner, having managed to get not just one of her animals to pose nicely for a photo, but all 17 of them.
Kathy Smith, 30, is the proud owner of eight dogs and nine cats, who she somehow wrangled into an incredible family paw-trait.
Mind you, the accomplishment didn’t easy, as Kathy spent two weeks trying to get the perfect shot. That’s right, a FORTNIGHT – I guess they do always tell you never to work with animals; now I can see why.
It turns out the dogs were up for the challenge and sat quietly for the camera, but it was getting the cats involved that proved to be more difficult. Like trying to herd… well, cats.
Numerous warm-up photos show the eight well-behaved pooches in place, with Kathy bribing Ruby, Ben, Max, Sheba, Teddy, Rio, Storm and Misha to ‘sit’ with a handful of treats.
Then came the moggies, a process that saw shop assistant Kathy dashing back and forth with her camera on standby, hauling the cats back into place several times.
Kathy eventually got them all into position and captured a split-second snap of the 17-strong pack before they scattered to return to their pressing everyday lives.
Kathy, from Corwen, Wales, said: “I was so thrilled when I I’d captured this shot – it’s like a little family photo.
“I love all of my pets so much so I was really happy when I managed to get them all posing together – despite it not being easy to do.
“I kept trying to get photos of the cats and dogs all together but some of them were always out of frame.
“The dogs will all sit for treats so that was easy enough, but the cats were another matter.
“I now know the real meaning behind herding cats – I had to just keep picking them up and putting them back until they stayed.
“It took about three attempts but in the I managed to keep them there for a couple of seconds and get the photo before they were off again.
“We live in quite a chaotic but you get used to it.”
Kathy, who rescues and cares for pets and other wildlife in need, said people are often surprised to see her giant four-legged family when they come to visit her in her three-bedroom semi-detached home.
She has three German Shepherds (Mishka, Storm and Max), three border collies (Sheba, Ben and Rio), a mongrel called Ruby and a Yorkshire Terrier Maltese cross named Teddy.
Along with the nine cats, she also has four budgies, several fish and even a baby hedgehog in her care.
Kathy “People are usually shocked when they come over and realise how many pets we have, the house is but we’re used to it.
“They all run and you don’t there’s a lot of them until they’re in one room.” Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News
One can easily get Jess’s background for it is on the same page:
Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics – indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brilliant! To be honest I don’t really know how Jess pulled it off!
This latest email from the Important Dog Recall Update is just that: an update!
Dear Fellow Dog Lover
I’m pleased to report there have been no new recalls announced since our last email on November 19.
However, some recalled products may still be on store shelves… or even in your own home. So, if you’ve missed any of the 11 recalls we’ve sent since July… be sure to visit our Dog Food Recalls page for full details.
8 Best Dog Food Lists
Over the last 60 days, The Dog Food Advisor has updated the following best dog food pages:
A runner who broke her leg on remote moorland was rescued after her dogs raised the alarm.
Pita Oates, 48, was left unable to stand after she fell on a three-mile run in Lancashire with her blue collies Buddy and Merlyn.
One of the dogs stayed with her as she inched down the hill, while the other ran around barking for help.
This attracted the attention of another dog walker who contacted emergency services.
Ms Oates, from Leyland, said: “They were like a tag team, Buddy never left me while Merlyn went for help.
“I would have died without a doubt, I wouldn’t have lasted the night.”
When help arrived Ms Oates, who had left her mobile phone in her camper van, was drifting in and out of consciousness and starting to suffer the effects of hypothermia.
She said: “It was the tail-end of Storm Gareth, it was freezing and I was soaking wet. The winds were horrendous.”
Ms Oates broke the femur behind her left knee and tore her anterior and cruciate ligaments on the run on Great Hill near Chorley on 12 March.
“I couldn’t stand up, I was having to bum-shuffle all the way down,” she said.
“Every time my leg touched the ground I was in pain so I rigged up a sling using the dog’s lead to keep my leg up.”
It took her 90 minutes to get down the hill by which time it had gone dark.
“Buddy never left me and Merlyn kept barking back at him – when this man came with his dog he knew something wasn’t right,” she said.
Paramedics and members of the Bowland Mountain Rescue Team, as well as two from Bolton Mountain Rescue, arrived to help rescue Ms Oates.
She spent eight days in hospital and had a titanium plate fitted but still needs another operation.
Part of me is not surprised at the behaviour of Ms Oates’ dogs. Dogs show their care and attention in so many ways. But then again I was surprised because these two dogs knew exactly what to do. One to stay and one to seek help. Which is what they did.
It was a close-run thing (pardon the pun) as Pita was starting to fade away when help arrived.
Hugo the puppy is the subject of this winning image by 16-year-old Jade Hudson.
The gray faces of old dogs speak to all the love and friendship they’ve provided over the years as Lizzie, a 12-year-old mixed breed dog, shows us. Curling up with a cracking fire and your four-legged BFF is one of life’s great joys.
This portrait of two Afghan hounds named Ozzie and Elvis took first place for the Dog Portrait category. The setting is the idyllic Ashdown Forest in Sussex.
And finally, the winner of the Puppy category is little rescue puppy Buddy enjoying a bowl of milk. The photo was taken by Colorado-based photographer Linda Storm.
“The entries for this year’s Dog Photographer of the Year competition were some of the best we have ever seen,” says Rosemary Smart, Kennel Club chief executive. “Choosing the winners was an incredibly challenging task and we commend every photographer who entered. Each of the winning photographers beautifully captured the essence of their canine subjects on camera, demonstrating how important dogs are to us in every walk of life.”
If you’re a photographer who loves dogs as your subject, keep an eye on the opening date for next year’s competition!
I should say so! These photographs are the very best of pictures taken by very talented photographers.
There’s a science background to being healthy and happy.
Especially as one gets older.
It’s Jean’s birthday today and we are grateful for our lot. I’m 75 now and Jean is a few years younger. But more importantly we are so grateful to have met and, subsequently, fallen in love.
As well as Jean’s love in return we have our gorgeous dogs as well (not to count in addition the two horses, the two parakeets and the cat) and they reinforce the feelings of happiness that surround us.
All of which is an introduction to an article on The Conversation that caught my eye yesterday.
I’m afraid it doesn’t mention dogs but then again we dog owners know for sure how they benefit us humans.
Are you as grateful as you deserve to be?
November 26, 2019
By Richard Gunderman
Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University
As a physician, I have helped to care for many patients and families whose lives have been turned upside down by serious illnesses and injuries. In the throes of such catastrophes, it can be difficult to find cause for anything but lament. Yet Thanksgiving presents us with an opportunity to develop one of the healthiest, most life-affirming and convivial of all habits – that of counting and rejoicing in our blessings.
Research shows that grateful people tend to be healthy and happy. They exhibit lower levels of stress and depression, cope better with adversity and sleep better. They tend to be happier and more satisfied with life. Even their partners tend to be more content with their relationships.
Perhaps when we are more focused on the good things we enjoy in life, we have more to live for and tend to take better care of ourselves and each other.
When researchers asked people to reflect on the past week and write about things that either irritated them or about which they felt grateful, those tasked with recalling good things were more optimistic, felt better about their lives and actually visited their physicians less.
It is no surprise that receiving thanks makes people happier, but so does expressing gratitude. An experiment that asked participants to write and deliver thank-you notes found large increases in reported levels of happiness, a benefit that lasted for an entire month.
One of the greatest minds in Western history, the Greek philosopher Aristotle, argued that we become what we habitually do. By changing our habits, we can become more thankful human beings.
If we spend our days ruminating on all that has gone poorly and how dark the prospects for the future appear, we can think ourselves into misery and resentment.
But we can also mold ourselves into the kind of people who seek out, recognize and celebrate all that we have to be grateful for.
This is not to say that anyone should become a Pollyanna, ceaselessly reciting the mantra from Voltaire’s “Candide,” “All is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds.” There are injustices to be righted and wounds to be healed, and ignoring them would represent a lapse of moral responsibility.
But reasons to make the world a better place should never blind us to the many good things it already affords. How can we be compassionate and generous if we are fixated on deficiency? This explains why the great Roman statesman Cicero called gratitude not only the greatest of virtues but the “parent” of them all.
Gratitude is deeply embedded in many religious traditions. In Judaism, the first words of the morning prayer could be translated, “I thank you.” Another saying addresses the question, “Who is rich?” with this answer: “Those who rejoice in what they have.”
Gratitude also plays an essential role in Islam. The 55th chapter of the Quran enumerates all the things human beings have to be grateful for – the Sun, Moon, clouds, rain, air, grass, animals, plants, rivers and oceans – and then asks, “How can a sensible person be anything but thankful to God?”
In his 1994 book, “A Whole New Life,” the Duke University English professor Reynolds Price describes how his battle with a spinal cord tumor that left him partially paralyzed also taught him a great deal about what it means to really live.
After surgery, Price describes “a kind of stunned beatitude.” With time, though diminished in many ways by his tumor and its treatment, he learns to pay closer attention to the world around him and those who populate it.
Reflecting on the change in his writing, Price notes that his books differ in many ways from those he penned as a younger man. Even his handwriting, he says, “looks very little like that of the man he was at the time of his diagnosis.”
“Cranky as it is, it’s taller, more legible, and with more air and stride. And it comes down the arm of a grateful man.”
A brush with death can open our eyes. Some of us emerge with a deepened appreciation for the preciousness of each day, a clearer sense of our real priorities and a renewed commitment to celebrating life. In short, we can become more grateful, and more alive, than ever.
When it comes to practicing gratitude, one trap to avoid is locating happiness in things that make us feel better off – or simply better – than others. In my view, such thinking can foster envy and jealousy.
There are marvelous respects in which we are equally blessed – the same Sun shines down upon each of us, we all begin each day with the same 24 hours, and each of us enjoys the free use of one of the most complex and powerful resources in the universe, the human brain.
Much in our culture seems aimed to cultivate an attitude of deficiency – for example, most ads aim to make us think that to find happiness we must buy something. Yet most of the best things in life – the beauty of nature, conversation and love – are free.
There are many ways to cultivate a disposition of thankfulness. One is to make a habit of giving thanks regularly – at the beginning of the day, at meals and the like, and at day’s end.
Likewise, holidays, weeks, seasons and years can be punctuated with thanks – grateful prayer or meditation, writing thank-you notes, keeping a gratitude journal and consciously seeking out the blessings in situations as they arise.
Gratitude can become a way of life, and by developing the simple habit of counting our blessings, we can enhance the degree to which we are truly blessed.
That reference to Reynolds Price and his challenges make one think. I have been fortunate that nothing really dreadful has happened to me; apart from my father’s death when I had just turned 12. I’m getting a little hazy in terms of certain memories but that’s an old age thing rather than an illness. But to go through what he did; I just don’t know the person that I am, in terms of how I wold react to that.
But to the general tone of the article, I would hope that I can get better and better.
For it’s splendid to cultivate that disposition.
One is to make a habit of giving thanks regularly – at the beginning of the day, at meals and the like, and at day’s end.
I have been interested in eating healthy for more than 35 years. Unfortunately, my actions haven’t always matched my aims. As Mae West said, “I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.”
I drifted too, for a long time, but after writing posts for this blog for nearly 10 years, I have gotten good at it. I used the Lose It! App for a while (iPhone, iPad, Touch) a calorie counter that also breaks down nutrients and gives you a daily weight chart to demonstrate your progress. It’s not the only tool like this around, but it’s a good one. I think you are better off using a tool than not using one, especially if you are just embarking on a weight loss program.
Using that tool and practicing some self discipline I now have complete confidence in my ability to maintain a healthy body weight. I still need to work on the lean muscle mass thing, though. I love riding my bicycle and have no problem logging lots of miles and putting calories into the bank to free up my eating. I average around 100 miles a week. That covers a multitude of sins at the table. Biking is a wonderful cardio workout. Few people realize, however, it is also very stimulating for the brain. It’s a lot more fun than working with weights, but ya gotta do that, too. I write about the benefits of cardio exercise on the brain often in this blog as it is usually misunderstood and/or completely overlooked in most fitness writing. I had an aunt who died of Alzheimer’s, my mother who suffered from dementia in her final years, and my grandfather on my father’s side also had cognitive problems in his later years, so I am dead serious about protecting myself from mental decline. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – and exercise to read more about it.
I retired 19 years ago. I spent 20 years as a Reuters Correspondent and Editor after starting my career in men’s magazines. I taught journalism at Medill for a while and then wrote in the investment department of a major U.S. philanthropy where I spent my last few years managing $900 million in bond investments.
Now that I am retired, I have complete control over what I eat. My heart goes out to you folks who go to work every day. It is much harder to control your caloric intake. There are business lunches and dinners to attend, late days at the office, working through lunch as well as traveling. I think if I were still working I would seriously consider bringing lunch from home a day or two each week to keep a handle on my intake. With a fridge and microwave where you work, you are good to go.
When I started writing for this blog in March of 2010 I weighed 165 pounds, the lowest I had been in 15 years. I thought I had arrived at fitness and health. Now, in 2019, I weigh 155 pounds. That’s right, I have melted off a further 10 pounds from my best weight in years. My resting heart rate is under 50 beats per minute (bpm), a result of my cycling, but significantly under the ‘normal’ of 65 to 90 bpm for a guy in his upper 70’s. I have less than 16 percent body fat and a 31 inch waist (the first time since high school). I have reached this state of fitness and health following the ideas and techniques I write about in this blog. You can, too
When the blog started, I was talking the talk, over nine years later I am walking the walk. You can do the same. I am just a regular guy. If I can do it you can, too. Check out my page How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off for a start. Lots of excellent, practical principles there that I have learned and now apply to my daily life.
Just over 20 years ago my weight got out of control and I ballooned over 220 pounds. I took off 50 pounds in a year, but that only got me down to the mid-170’s. You can read How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks if you want chapter and verse.
I have about 40 games of backgammon going on the web. I was born January 26, 1940. I am an Aquarius and a senior citizen. At 79 years of age, I am healthier by far than I was over 20 years ago when I was in the work force and a relatively young man in my 50’s.
As a senior who presently is winning the war of the waistline, I am also grappling with the experience of aging. As part of this blog’s focus on good health I look seriously into aging and what can be done about it. I know there is no fountain of youth, but there are techniques for aging gracefully and, more importantly, retaining one’s mental powers. I promise to share with you everything I can find out about it.
The masthead photo is a shot of me taken 40 years ago by a girlfriend when we were bike riding by the lakefront in Chicago. I had a lot more hair then.
Now Tony recently published a post that I found so interesting.
It’s all about improving one’s vision.
Walking improves vision – Study.
By Tony, November 25th, 2019
As a big fan of walking I was thrilled to learn of this further benefit to the Cinderella of the exercise world. Walking leads to an increase of peripheral visual input, according to a study from the University of Wurzburg.
How do we perceive our environment? What is the influence of sensory stimuli on the peripheral nervous system and what on the brain? Science has an interest in this question for many reasons. In the long term, insights from this research could contribute to a better understanding of diseases such as ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.
Perception and the underlying neuronal activities are usually measured while subjects are sitting or lying, for example while doing magnetic resonance imaging. As a rule, the head is fixed and people are encouraged not to blink. The measurements therefore take place under well-controlled but rather unnatural conditions.
Shift of visual preference
When processing visual stimuli, however, it makes a difference whether the person is sitting or moving: When walking around, the peripheral part of the visual field shows enhanced processing compared to the central part. This can be proven both by the behaviorally measured perception of the test persons and by their brain response.
This shift in visual preference makes sense. “It is above all the peripheral visual input that provides information about the direction and speed of our movement and thus plays an important role for navigation,” says Dr. Barbara Händel. The neuroscientist from Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, and her colleague Dr. Liyu Cao have published their findings in PLOS Biology
“It was known from animals that increased body movements lead to an increased firing rate in visual areas of the brain,” says Dr. Händel. So far, there are only a few behavioural experiments available for humans that investigate the influence of movement on sensory brain areas. However, there is evidence that cognitive processes are linked to the behavioural state. “For example, some studies show that people learn better when they move,” says the JMU researcher. However, the underlying neuronal mechanisms have not yet been tested in detail.
Mobile EEG, sensors and video glasses
It is precisely such gaps in knowledge that Barbara Händel wants to close with her work. In order to explore the link between movement and perception, sophisticated technical equipment is necessary. While the test subjects walk around, they wear electrode caps and a small amplifier that records their brain waves. The EEG data are sent wirelessly to a laptop, which the subjects carry in a backpack. Motion sensors, video glasses, and a mobile device for recording eye movements complete the setting.
Quite an effort. “But we have to take this step if we want to understand human perceptual strategies during natural behavior,” says Dr. Händel. Research into perception during movement is still in its infancy. It is now up to science to ask clever questions and find out which of them can be answered with mobile technical equipment.
Many exciting research questions
Next, the JMU scientist wants to further investigate the effect of altered perception during movement. Does it only occur for visual input or possibly also in other sensory areas? Does it, in addition to navigation, perhaps also play a role in other cognitive processes such as memory and creativity?
All this is possible: experiments with rats have shown that these animals learn better, when they are in motion. And the idea that walking increases creativity has existed since ancient times. “For example, the Peripatetics, a philosophical school around Aristotle, usually were discussing while walking, from which their name derives,” says Barbara Händel.
There is also a connection between creativity and eye movements: “It is known that people blink more often the more creatively they solve a task. And we found that people also blink more often when they walk around compared to being at rest.” Obviously, there are many connections between the movements of the body, the eyes and the mental performance. Their research could reveal many more interesting aspects.
As I write this post, yesterday afternoon, it has been snowing for some hours at Hugo Road (ZIP 97532). In the anticipation that we might be snowed in at 8am we drove the short distance to our local Dollar General store to stock up on dog food and other bits and pieces.
So this story from the Daily Dodo seems really apt. I hope you enjoy it.
Stray Dog Found Curled Up In Snow Keeping Orphaned Kittens Warm
Last weekend, while driving on a freezing cold night in Ontario, Canada, a Good Samaritan spotted something that made her stop.
There, curled up on a snowy roadside, was a shivering stray dog.
But she wasn’t alone.
Though the dog could have found a safer place to pass the night, she wasn’t just thinking of herself.
A closer look revealed the kind pup had wrapped herself around five orphaned kittens, whom she was cuddling to keep warm in the biting temperatures.
The Good Samaritan, in turn, saved them all from the freezing night by taking them to the Pet and Wildlife Rescue shelter. But by then, an incredible bond between the dog and kittens had already been formed.
For rescue staff, learning the circumstances of this case made one thing clear: the pup had saved the kittens’ lives.
“It’s truly heartwarming!” a shelter spokesperson told The Dodo. “It had been a very cold night so these kittens would have had a very hard time surviving.”
The kittens are now safe, but require treatment for flea and worm infestations. Meanwhile, the sweet stray dog who saved them insists on overseeing their progress with regular visits — much like a proud mother.
It’s still unclear where the dog or kittens came from originally, or if they knew each other prior to that night. Pet and Wildlife Rescue is hoping an owner will come forward to claim them, but if not they’ll be put up for adoption.
Thanks to that brave pup, however, a sad ending for the kittens was transformed into a happy one.
“Our staff sees many difficult situations on a daily basis and stories like this one make every heartache worth it,” the shelter said.
There may be someone who wants to follow this up by supporting the Pet and Wildlife Rescue in Ontario. So here is the website.