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!
As I watched pet nutrition blogger Rodney Habib’s TedX video below, I found it simultaneously jaw-dropping and not surprising. After his dog, Sammie, was diagnosed with cancer, Habib went on a mission to find out why canine cancer is a growing epidemic. Currently, one out of every two dogs will be diagnosed with cancer at sometime in their life, mostly between age 6 and 12.
I have a 13-year-old Labrador. Admittedly, I’m obsessed with my awareness that he’s approaching the end of his life. But, what if he weren’t? What if he could live until he’s 30 like Maggie, the Kelpie, from Australia. Maggie was possibly the world’s oldest dog.
During Habib’s trek around the world, he spoke with researchers and scientists. He learned that dogs have a higher rate of cancer than any other mammal. In the ’70s, dogs lived to age 17; today the average life span is 11. Why?
Diabetes is up 900 percent in dogs in the last five years. Obesity is up 60 percent. While 10 percent of all cancer cases are genetic, 90 percent are the results of lifestyle and environmental influences, including stress, obesity, infection, sedentary lifestyle, toxins, pollution and most importantly diet.
Habib spoke with Norwegian scientist, Thomas Sandberg, who is conducting a 30-year-old study (the longest observational study to date). Sandberg is hoping to prove that poor quality food may cause cancer to develop in dogs and cats, mainly due to a compromised immune system.
Here’s the part of Rodney’s TedX Talk that was jaw-dropping for me: Research shows that dogs on a diet of dry commercial pet food fed leafy green vegetables at least three times a week were 90 percent less likely to develop cancer than dogs that weren’t. And dogs fed yellow/orange vegetables at least three times a week were 70 percent less likely to develop cancer.
I feed Sanchez and Gina organic kale, spinach, green beans and carrots, along with many fruits. Personally, I wasn’t surprised by the benefits, but by the research showing that just a little bit of produce added to kibble could have such a profound effect on canine health.
Thomas Sandberg has Great Danes, who typically live only six to eight years. In a 6-year study of 80 dogs fed a completely raw diet with low amounts of carbs, only one dog developed cancer.
Another study at Purdue University showed a 90 percent decrease risk of cancer when they added green leafy vegetables to a bowl of processed food three times a week.
Remember Maggie, the world’s oldest dog? In addition to a diet that included raw fed grass milk, she also self fasted some days. She lived on a dairy farm and exercised all day long, often getting in 9 kilometers (5 1/2 miles ). Obesity is also now known to be a contributing factor to canine cancer, which is why exercising with your pet is so important.
We have dogs because we love them. We bring them into our human world and expect them to adjust. They do, because they want to please us. We expect them to follow our house rules, listen to the music we choose, build their life around our schedules, and accept the food we choose for them. But, what if we knew more and chose differently for them? How long would they live?
Do your pets eat green leafy veggies?
Now if you have read down to this point but not yet watched Rodney Habib’s talk then …. STOP!
Go back and watch that talk!
Then you can truly appreciate the value of looking at the diets of our beautiful dogs!
Love to hear your thoughts on this!
Oh, and both Brandy and little Pedy are great vegetable eaters. But we will be following the recommendations of Rodney Habib and will share our findings with you all later on.
How humans and animals communicate with each other has more than an edge of mystery to it!
We sleep with our bedroom door open to the main run of the rest of the house. Generally, all six dogs sleep in our bedroom unless it is a very warm night when some of them may choose the cooler tiled surface of the kitchen floor.
Cleo, our female German Shepherd, has a bit of a sensitive stomach and it is not unknown for her to need to be let outside in the middle of the night. Just a couple of nights ago her need for a ‘poo’ break came at 02:40!
But the point of this is that no matter how deeply I am sleeping, all it takes is a short, quiet whimper next to my side of bed and I am instantly awake. I need no time at all to know that Cleo has to be let outside from our bedroom door that opens out onto the deck. A few minutes later I hear her feet padding along the wooden boards of the deck and she is let back in to the bedroom.
Thus this demonstrates how well I understand her and in turn how well she acutely listens to me.
Just look at this photograph.
The connection, the intensity, of her attention towards me. And this was just from me pointing the camera at her and ‘click, clicking’ my tongue.
My introduction today was inspired by an article that I recently read on the Care2 site and that I want to share with you. Here it is.
Can Humans Understand When Animals Are in Distress?
Have you ever jumped at the sound of birds fighting or a squirrel screaming? Heard an animal make a sound somewhere nearby that made your heart race?
More than one hundred years ago, Darwin suggested that there was a universal understanding of certain animal vocalizations — a way of expressing emotion that went all the way back to the Earth’s earliest animals. Now, researchers are re-examining that theory, and they’re making some interesting headway.
In a study published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,” researchers decided to explore the idea that animal vocalizations, including distress calls, might be recognizable across different species — and even into different animal classes.
Earlier research delved into whether or not humans could detect which emotion, or signal, another mammal was using, but this study is the first to examine other vertebrates as well. Amphibians and reptiles joined the club, and, perhaps surprisingly, humans did pretty well determining what these animals were trying to communicate.
The researchers primarily looked into whether or not people listening to certain animal sounds would be able to detect the level of arousal — high or low — that an animal expressed vocally. High arousal indicates an animal in distress, expressing desperate or negative screams, who might be calling out because of a fight, a predator in the area or another perceived danger. Scientists believe that these sounds are part of an old signaling system.
Researchers asked 75 college-aged individuals to listen to sounds from nine different species. In order to account for language differences, these people included English, German and Mandarin speakers.
Scientists collected 180 recordings of animal vocalizations, reflecting high or low levels of excitement, such as “the sounds of frogs in competition for mates, monkeys reacting to danger or ravens confronted by a dominant bird,” and included humans in that list, instructing actors to react neutrally or with different, heightened emotions while speaking Tamil.
The 75 people were then asked to identify which vocalization out of paired sounds from the same species represented the higher level of arousal.
In this study, the results showed that people identified the correct “emotion,” roughly speaking, better than expected by chance. Here is how the accuracy broke down across species:
Humans: 95 percent correct
Giant panda: 94 percent correct
Hourglass tree frog: 90 percent correct
African bush elephant: 88 percent correct
American alligator: 87 percent correct
Black-capped chickadee: 85 percent correct
Pig: 68 percent correct
Common raven: 62 percent correct
Barbary macaque (monkey): 60 percent correct
It seems strange that people were less able to identify the distress call of a monkey than a frog, but Harold Gouzoules, a bioacoustician and animal behavior expert at Emory University, posits that the monkey calls may have sounded less extreme in intensity than those of the other species, making it harder to tell the difference.
“Our study shows that humans are naturally able to recognize emotional arousal across all classes of vocalizing animals,” said Piera Filippi, who studies the evolution of cognition and communication at the Vrije University Brussels in Belgium.
This doesn’t mean that humans should feel confident in interpreting animal emotions or body language in general, though. Those behaviors can vary greatly, and humans are prone to misinterpretation and anthropomorphism. You wouldn’t, for example, want to assume a wolf baring its teeth is simply smiling at you.
Naturally, much remains to be studied in the effort to understand a wider range of animal emotions. Filippi hopes to repeat the experiment, but with the black-capped chickadees taking the place of the college-aged humans in interpreting the distress calls. It will be interesting to see if this understanding between humans and other animals goes both ways.
Could there be a beneficial reason for animals to understand each other’s distress calls? What do you think?
Yes, we know that they are but the science as to why this is nonetheless is fascinating!
Inevitably when you think about my cultural roots you would not be surprised to hear that I use the BBC News website as a key source of staying in touch with the world. But very rarely would I think of sharing a news item with you via these pages.
One of those rare exceptions greeted my eyes back on July 20th. It was an article published by Helen Briggs of the BBC under the Science & Environment news classification. I can’t imagine any reason why I can’t republish it here.
Why dogs are friendly – it’s written in their genes
By Helen Briggs – BBC News, 20 July 2017
Being friendly is in dogs’ nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists.
Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago.
During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research.
This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company.
“Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even),” said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University.
The researchers studied the behaviour of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals’ skills at problem-solving and sociability.
These showed that wolves were as good as dogs at solving problems, such as retrieving pieces of sausage from a plastic lunchbox.
Dogs, however, were much more friendly. They spent more time greeting human strangers and gazing at them, while wolves were somewhat aloof.
DNA tests found a link between certain genetic changes and behaviours such as attentiveness to strangers or picking up on social cues.
Similar changes in humans are associated with a rare genetic syndrome, where people are highly sociable.
Dr Elaine Ostrander of the National Institutes of Health, who was a co-researcher on the study, said the information would be useful in studying human disease.
“This exciting observation highlights the utility of the dog as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows how minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans,” she said.
Dogs were domesticated from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.
Lisa Mae DeMasi offers you all a beautiful guest post.
Not going to allow my words to delay you reading this wonderful essay from Lisa.
How this Handler and Service Dog Nurture One Another
by Lisa Mae DeMasi
At two years old, Lady’s ribs protruded from her coat and her belly was swollen with milk.
Like the thirteen other Labs that had arrived at a rest stop in Union, CT on the straight 12½-hour drive from Muncie, IN, she was presented to us on a crisp autumn day amid the chaos of respective adopters.
My husband Dennis had never experienced the warmth and companionship of having a dog and well, I surprised him with Lady, who we quickly renamed to Sabrina. The very afternoon we picked her up, we raced to the park, wanting her to feel the joy of freedom and play. My husband’s face lit up and while I was thrilled at the opportunity to befriend and care for Sabrina; it meant closing the 20-year gap since our beloved German Shepard from my childhood passed away.
Until laying my eyes on Sabrina’s profile, my heart couldn’t entertain loving another dog.
And what canine isn’t after the same love?
In Sabrina’s case, she couldn’t know of the family members that awaited to embrace her presence. Within days of the initial hair-raising excitement, the cat sought out occasions to groom her ears. Our pet rat was free to waddle the kitchen floor un-bothered, and the pair of bonded bunnies in want of company stretched out beside her on the living room floor.
Dog, cat, rat, rabbit?
And Dennis and me?
Like kids again.
Sabrina settled into the folds of our lives, well-nourished and exercised in Boston’s epic snowfall in the winter of 2009-2010, taking careful watch over all of us. The fear expressed in her eyes pre-adoption disappeared.
Eight years later, she watches over me in particular. Thirty years ago, I was struck and thrown from the passenger side of a car until my abdomen collided with the steering wheel—blunt force that called for iterative repair to my digestive system and caused permanent damage to the nerves that signal my bladder is full.
Today when I’m busy working away, Sabrina will alert me to get up every couple of hours to make a trip to the restroom by gently placing her head in my lap.
When I suffer acute intestinal cramping, Crohns-like symptoms, she’ll sit at my side and lean her body against mine. Her calm and steady source of nurturing, helps me to relax and mitigates the cramps.
In 2008, the Department of Justice amended the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This was amended to include digestive, bowel and bladder impairments that limit major life activities as the disabled, calling for employers to make reasonable accommodations and if the individual elects, to allow task-oriented service animals [dog or miniature horse] to accompany them on the job.
Sabrina, serving in the capacity of a sensory/medical assist – alerting me to get up and take care of myself – qualifies.
The HR Director, Debra Susler of Reputation Institute in Cambridge, MA this past April would not allow Sabrina to accompany me on-the-job. I sent her an elaborate email explaining my condition and Sabrina’s certification. She did not reply to me but to my supervisor.
She said “no”.
I walked out of the place
Sabrina: rescue dog to devoted helper dog.
Respectively, Sabrina’s competencies and understanding of language cease to astound us and her behavior on-the-job at Dell EMC is so well-mannered, coworkers never run out of compliments.
And bystanders in public? The grocery store, pharmacy, gym, dentist, doctor?
Gazes from cell phones are broken, conversations fall short.
Then, come the smiles. A question. Praises. The feel-good moment.
Sabrina brings people together.
I recently read a distressing post from a woman who said every time she looks into a service dog’s eyes, she sees sadness. Even Ingrid Newkirk, CEO and Co-Founder of PETA, has told me, “the life of a typical service dog is a terrible one.”
It’s true. Any canine enslaved to servitude is doomed a dog’s life unlived.
Service animals are working animals, not pets.
The ADA confirms it.
But that’s not the relationship Sabrina and I share [and I understand it can’t be the same with other handlers and service dogs]. In addition to being my devoted helper, Sabrina teaches me to exist in the moment — just like she does. To enjoy the sight of the sun shimmering through the trees, the call of the birds, the fragrance of wildflowers, the feel of the soft soil I tread a few yards behind her when we’re on our hikes.
What more could a dog do for a girl?
There is something rather special about Lisa’s guest post; special in an introspective way!
Lisa’s creative work has recently placed second in Fiftiness’s 2017 Writing Contest (Why I Love Bike Commuting in Boston) and been featured in the anthologies, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex & Intimacy After Fifty (9/17, print) and The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal (11/17, print). Her essays have been published in the lit journals and several other media outlets. She considers Massachusetts her home, but has lived in Connecticut, Vermont, New York State and two other planets called Wyoming and Arizona. She earned a B.A. from Regis College and an MBA from Babson College, and holds a Master certificate in Reiki.
Lisa is seeking a development editor [that gets her] to work on her collection of essays and her memoir.
If you detect a tone of exasperation in the following then you are very sensitive to the mood in the Handover household!
For until around 10:30 yesterday morning we had every expectation that the flooring installers would be hard at work through to Wednesday. That fact displayed on this blog by the continuing Flooring Diversion posts.
However, when we were told yesterday that a) Home Depot couldn’t advise us of the total cost of laying the board laminate on our floors, and b) that the installers were now unable to return to our house until the 23rd., it was decided that a face-to-face with the person in charge at our local HD store was called for.
That resulted in us going to the store and meeting Ben the store manager. And in fairness to Ben he listened to our grumbles, acknowledged that we had reason to grumble and got it all sorted. That translating into the installers being with us this coming weekend.
I had planned to publish a fabulous guest post on Thursday assuming that the flooring work had been completed by then.
It is now being published in ten minutes time. You will love it!
The post Floor Diversion Day Three has been postponed for twenty-four hours.
Simply because yesterday morning the installers contracted by Home Depot (HD) to rip up our existing carpet and start laying the laminate wooden boarding found underneath the old carpet underlay another carpet that some time in the distant past had been glued down. Why this wasn’t spotted by the HD measuring unit when they came here to look at the project and offer an estimate for the cost of installing the new flooring is a question that has yet to be answered.
However, while the majority of HD work the full weekend the ‘Chargeback’ department do not. This department had to hear what had been discovered in order for us to know what extra costs we might be looking at!
A long-winded way of explaining why it is a pleasure to offer you a regular Picture Parade for today.