Welcome!

Beloved Pharaoh. Born: June 3rd., 2003 – Died: June 19th., 2017. A very special dog that will never be forgotten.

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!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

This is too wonderful!

A Doberman pinscher shows off her caring attitude.

It strikes me dogs are loving animals. Certainly for the vast majority of animals that I write about and that we see in our daily lives. For example, on Thursday we had to take Cleo and Oliver for their annual check-ups at Lincoln Road Veterinary Clinic. They inevitably came into contact with a few other dogs and there was no friction whatsoever; just a lot of bum sniffing!

That is why I chose this article from The Dodo to share with you.

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Big Mama Dog Adopts Newborn Kitten And Carries Her Around In Her Mouth

“She’s just obsessed with this kitten” ❤️️

By Lily Feinn, Published on the 27th September, 2021

Three weeks ago, Brittany Callan wasn’t planning on adding more animals to her life. Then she heard meowing coming from the back of her aunt’s garage.

There, in the grass, was a newborn kitten. Callan placed the little animal on a soft blanket in the shade nearby, hoping the mom would return. But hours later, the kitten was still alone. She knew the little animal wouldn’t make it through the night, so she decided to take the little blind baby home.

BRITTANY CALLAN

Callan’s Doberman pinscher, Ruby, had just had puppies, and she hoped that the dog’s mothering instincts would kick in when she saw the helpless kitten.

“We’ve had baby bunnies and guinea pigs, and she just licks them like she’s their mom,” Callan told The Dodo. “She was carrying around the baby bunnies in her mouth and hiding them in the couch like they were hers — she even tried to nurse them when she was younger.”

BRITTANY CALLAN

Ruby and the kitten couldn’t look more different, but none of that mattered when they met. Callan held the kitten out to her dog, and Ruby immediately accepted the new baby into her pack.

“She just started cleaning it and nudging it out of my hand,” Callan said. “Then I just opened up the kitten’s mouth and put it on Ruby’s smallest nipple, and it started eating right away. Ruby looked at it and laid her head down.”

BRITTANY CALLAN

Rubys’ puppies were already three times her size, but that didn’t stop the kitten from crawling in to snuggle with her dog brothers and sisters.

And her new mom always makes sure the kitten is clean and safe. “She looks like the scruffiest kitten ever because she’s always wet from Ruby licking her or carrying her around in her mouth,” Callan said. “Her back end is either sopping wet or matted down from Ruby cleaning her so much.”

Ruby is now weaning her puppies, but refuses to be separated from her tiniest baby for more than a few minutes.

“She’s just obsessed with this kitten,” Callan said. “She doesn’t want to be outside — she’ll go to every door and whine and scratch until you let her in, and then she’ll just pick up the kitten and carry it around in her mouth.”

BRITTANY CALLAN

Under Ruby’s care, the little orphaned kitten is thriving, and when she’s old enough, she will travel to her forever home with Callan’s cousin.

But for now, the only mom the kitten needs is Ruby. It just goes to show when it comes to family, size doesn’t matter — it’s the love that counts.

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it’s the love that counts.

Lily Feinn has gone to the heart of Ruby’s care for this kitten: Love!

It is a great example to us humans as well. Nothing is ever gained from hate and war.

Darkness!

Chris Impey writes about his specialty in observational cosmology.

This has nothing to do with life, nothing that we are dealing with in our daily affairs, and has nothing to do with our dear dogs. BUT! This is incredibly interesting! Incredibly and beautifully interesting!

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The most powerful space telescope ever built will look back in time to the Dark Ages of the universe

Hubble took pictures of the oldest galaxies it could – seen here – but the James Webb Space Telescope can go back much farther in time. NASA

Chris Impey, University of Arizona

Some have called NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope the “telescope that ate astronomy.” It is the most powerful space telescope ever built and a complex piece of mechanical origami that has pushed the limits of human engineering. On Dec. 18, 2021, after years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, the telescope is scheduled to launch into orbit and usher in the next era of astronomy.

I’m an astronomer with a specialty in observational cosmology – I’ve been studying distant galaxies for 30 years. Some of the biggest unanswered questions about the universe relate to its early years just after the Big Bang. When did the first stars and galaxies form? Which came first, and why? I am incredibly excited that astronomers may soon uncover the story of how galaxies started because James Webb was built specifically to answer these very questions.

A graphic showing the progression of the Universe through time.
The Universe went through a period of time known as the Dark Ages before stars or galaxies emitted any light. Space Telescope Institute

The ‘Dark Ages’ of the universe

Excellent evidence shows that the universe started with an event called the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago, which left it in an ultra-hot, ultra-dense state. The universe immediately began expanding after the Big Bang, cooling as it did so. One second after the Big Bang, the universe was a hundred trillion miles across with an average temperature of an incredible 18 billion F (10 billion C). Around 400,000 years after the Big Bang, the universe was 10 million light years across and the temperature had cooled to 5,500 F (3,000 C). If anyone had been there to see it at this point, the universe would have been glowing dull red like a giant heat lamp.

Throughout this time, space was filled with a smooth soup of high energy particles, radiation, hydrogen and helium. There was no structure. As the expanding universe became bigger and colder, the soup thinned out and everything faded to black. This was the start of what astronomers call the Dark Ages of the universe.

The soup of the Dark Ages was not perfectly uniform and due to gravity, tiny areas of gas began to clump together and become more dense. The smooth universe became lumpy and these small clumps of denser gas were seeds for the eventual formation of stars, galaxies and everything else in the universe.

Although there was nothing to see, the Dark Ages were an important phase in the evolution of the universe.

A diagram showing different wavelengths of light compared to size of normal objects.
Light from the early universe is in the infrared wavelength – meaning longer than red light – when it reaches Earth. Inductiveload/NASA via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

Looking for the first light

The Dark Ages ended when gravity formed the first stars and galaxies that eventually began to emit the first light. Although astronomers don’t know when first light happened, the best guess is that it was several hundred million years after the Big Bang. Astronomers also don’t know whether stars or galaxies formed first.

Current theories based on how gravity forms structure in a universe dominated by dark matter suggest that small objects – like stars and star clusters – likely formed first and then later grew into dwarf galaxies and then larger galaxies like the Milky Way. These first stars in the universe were extreme objects compared to stars of today. They were a million times brighter but they lived very short lives. They burned hot and bright and when they died, they left behind black holes up to a hundred times the Sun’s mass, which might have acted as the seeds for galaxy formation.

Astronomers would love to study this fascinating and important era of the universe, but detecting first light is incredibly challenging. Compared to massive, bright galaxies of today, the first objects were very small and due to the constant expansion of the universe, they’re now tens of billions of light years away from Earth. Also, the earliest stars were surrounded by gas left over from their formation and this gas acted like fog that absorbed most of the light. It took several hundred million years for radiation to blast away the fog. This early light is very faint by the time it gets to Earth.

But this is not the only challenge.

As the universe expands, it continuously stretches the wavelength of light traveling through it. This is called redshift because it shifts light of shorter wavelengths – like blue or white light – to longer wavelengths like red or infrared light. Though not a perfect analogy, it is similar to how when a car drives past you, the pitch of any sounds it is making drops noticeably. Similar to how a pitch of a sound drops if the source is moving away from you, the wavelength of light stretches due to the expansion of the universe.

By the time light emitted by an early star or galaxy 13 billion years ago reaches any telescope on Earth, it has been stretched by a factor of 10 by the expansion of the universe. It arrives as infrared light, meaning it has a wavelength longer than that of red light. To see first light, you have to be looking for infrared light.

Telescope as a time machine

Enter the James Webb Space Telescope.

Telescopes are like time machines. If an object is 10,000 light-years away, that means the light takes 10,000 years to reach Earth. So the further out in space astronomers look, the further back in time we are looking.

A large golden colored disc with a sensor in the middle and scientists standing below.
The James Webb Space Telescope was specifically designed to detect the oldest galaxies in the universe. NASA/JPL-Caltech, CC BY-SA

Engineers optimized James Webb for specifically detecting the faint infrared light of the earliest stars or galaxies. Compared to the Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb has a 15 times wider field of view on its camera, collects six times more light and its sensors are tuned to be most sensitive to infrared light.

The strategy will be to stare deeply at one patch of sky for a long time, collecting as much light and information from the most distant and oldest galaxies as possible. With this data, it may be possible to answer when and how the Dark Ages ended, but there are many other important discoveries to be made. For example, unraveling this story may also help explain the nature of dark matter, the mysterious form of matter that makes up about 80% of the mass of the universe.

James Webb is the most technically difficult mission NASA has ever attempted. But I think the scientific questions it may help answer will be worth every ounce of effort. I and other astronomers are waiting excitedly for the data to start coming back sometime in 2022.

Chris Impey, University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy, University of Arizona

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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The dark ages of the universe that lasted for millions of years until gravity started to form some order out of the ‘soup’.

I don’t know about you but the winter nights, when the sky is clear, have me waiting outside for the dogs to come in looking up at the night sky just lost in the sheer wonder of it all.

The very best of luck to NASA on December 18th!

Is there more to licking paws?

I am speaking of dogs!

Speaking for myself I haven’t ever given any notice to a dog licking its paws. Jeannie, however, would spot if a dog was over-licking, (you know what I mean), and would find out the cause.

This comes to the fore because The Dodo published a post in May, 2020, that I reckoned was worth republishing.

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Why Does My Dog Always Lick Her Paws?

Here’s how to tell when it’s a problem.

By DANIELLE ESPOSITO , Published on May 5th, 2020

You’ve seen your dog do it a thousand times — that cute paw licking that can quickly turn to “Hey! Stop that!” once it becomes a total obsession.

In general, paw licking is normal behavior for many dogs. They do it after they eat; they do it after they’ve been playing outside; they even sometimes do it before taking a nap. While all these are expected, you should start to take it more seriously if you’re noticing a sudden increase in licking, raw or irritated spots between their toes, or even loss of fur.

When it crosses the line between normal grooming and excessive paw licking, it’s probably time to try to figure out the root of the problem — so we chatted with one of our favorite veterinarians to get some expert advice.

Allergies

“There are a number of reasons why dogs lick their paws, but one of the most common reasons is allergies,” Dr. Alex Blutinger, a veterinarian from BluePearl Pet Hospital in New York City, told The Dodo.

“This behavior can be caused by environmental allergies, food allergies and even fleas or ticks,” he said. 

Dr. Blutinger said many everyday substances can also cause an allergic reaction, including things like pollen, grass that’s been treated with insecticide, certain plastics or rubber materials on food bowls, and even certain medications or shampoos.

“There are other caustic chemicals that dogs encounter in their environment,” he said, “[like] deicing salts to melt ice.”

This means that if you’ve noticed your dog is licking her paws more than usual, she’s likely experiencing allergies. If that’s what you suspect, it’s a good idea to chat with your vet about how to help her feel better.

Trauma to the Paws

Aside from allergies, excessive paw licking — which includes paw chewing — can also be caused by various types of injuries.

According to Dr. Blutinger, some of these types of trauma can include burns from walking on hot surfaces like cement or blacktop, splinters, broken nails, injured bones or ligaments, or even insect bites.

It’s a good idea to inspect your dog’s paws to see if you can find any physical trauma, and consult your vet if you think it’s something that may need extra attention.

Gastrointestinal Issues

“Interestingly, dogs that have gastrointestinal disorders (like pancreatitis) have also been shown to lick their paws,” Dr. Blutinger said.

He added that certain hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease can also cause dogs to lick their paws — which means a trip to the vet is definitely in order to sort out your pup’s health!

Anxiety

Finally, sensitive dogs can also display anxiety by licking their paws, in the same way some people bite their nails as a sign of nervousness. If you think this is the case, it might be a good idea to figure out why your dog is feeling anxious and find ways to help her feel better.

So while paw licking is generally normal for most dogs, if you worry it’s becoming obsessive, and you can’t figure out an obvious cause, it’s a good idea to check with your vet to make sure your dog doesn’t need extra care.

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I call that very sound advice.

Out of interest have any readers of this post had a case of excessive licking with their dogs?

Our Oregon wolves

A very close relative to the domestic dog.

Indeed until a short time ago it was thought that the dog evolved from the grey wolf but recently I read that the dog evolved as its own species.

But the following is a republication of an article on Oregon Wild about wolves returning to the State of Oregon.

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Wolves in Oregon

Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were once common in Oregon, occupying most of the state. However, a deliberate effort to eradicate the species was successful by the late 1940s.

In fact, trouble for wolves began almost 100 years earlier, in the years before Oregon became a state. In 1843 the first wolf bounty was established and Oregon’s first legislative session was called in part to address the “problem of marauding wolves.” By 1913, people could collect a $5 state bounty and an Oregon State Game Commission bounty of $20. The last recorded wolf bounty was paid out in 1947.

After an absence of over half a century, wolves began to take their first tentative steps towards recovery. Having dispersed from Idaho, the native species is once again trying to make a home in Oregon. One of the first sightings came in 1999 when a lone wolf was captured near the middle fork of the John Day River, put in a crate and quickly returned to Idaho by government wildlife agents. In 2000, two wolves were found dead – one killed by a car, the other illegally shot.

In 2006, a flurry of sightings led biologists to believe a number of wild wolves were living in Northeast Oregon near the Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Sadly, a wolf found shot to death near La Grande in May 2007 clearly indicated wolves had arrived in the area.

After that sad chapter, wolves began to establish a fragile foothold in the state. In July 2008 pups were confirmed to a wolf named Sophie by the Oregon Wild wolf pack (and B-300 to government biologists). Those pups represented the first wolves in Oregon in nearly 60 years! A second set of six pups were confirmed and videotaped in November 2009. The following July, a third litter of pups was confirmed.

Unfortunately, the news was tempered with additional poaching and heavy-handed state management. After peaking at 26 confirmed wolves, wolf recovery stalled out in 2011. While some wolves dispersed from the Imnaha Pack, only one pup was confirmed to Oregon’s best-known pack, and two pups were confirmed in one of the state’s other two packs (the Walla Walla and Wenaha). Oregon’s confirmed wolf population fell to 17, and then to 14, when the state killed three more wolves (two on purpose) and poachers killed a fourth.

In 2011, wolves in Eastern Oregon lost their federal protections due to an unprecedented congressional budget rider sponsored by Montana Sen. John Tester. Hours later,  Oregon used their new authority to kill two wolves and issue dozens of landowner kill permits at the request of the livestock industry.

Meanwhile, anti-wildlife interests and their political allies pushed over half a dozen bills in Salem aimed at making it easier to kill wolves and undermine wolf recovery. Most of the bills were defeated, but a compensation fund and new predator killing fund were approved.

Wolf hunts in nearby states also threaten the region’s fragile recovery. When wolves were federally delisted the region was home to an estimated population of about 1,700 wolves. Over 1,000 were killed in the first two seasons alone.

The large tracts of pristine and unspoiled Wilderness and roadless areas in Northeast Oregon are vital components in the successful recovery of wolves, and other wildlife too. (Ed: see the photograph below of the wild lands of Oregon.) The reappearance of wolves, wolverines, and other endangered wildlife in Oregon further underscores the importance of protecting those roadless areas that remain on public land.

Anticipating the eventual return of wolves, the state of Oregon completed a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan in 2005 aimed at making rational decisions in the light of day that would lead to wolf recovery. Though state polling put support for wolf recovery at over 70 percent, the plan was weak, allowed the state to kill wolves, and set scientifically indefensible recovery goals.

Even so, the plan was actively opposed by the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. They argued in their minority report that “wolves are being used as a biological weapon” and that wolves are a non-native species that citizens should have the right to shoot without permits. 

Oregon Wild and other conservationists generally – if reluctantly – agreed to honor the compromise embodied in the plan. Most believed lethal control would be an option of last resort and conservation would be a priority.

After the state shot two young wolves in response to the first livestock depredations in over half a century, it was clear the state was willing to address the concerns of the livestock industry by killing wolves.

In 2010, the plan was reviewed and revised. The public process took the better part of a year and demonstrated that support for wolf recovery had grown. Over 90 percent of a staggering 20,000 public comments were in favor of stronger protections for Oregon’s endangered gray wolves. Oregon Wild joined other conservationists and the Oregon public in defending the plan against continued attacks. Though the plan survived relatively intact, most of the approved changes made it easier to kill wolves. 

In 2011, a lone wolf from the Imnaha Pack generated international headlines when he became the first in Western Oregon since 1947, and then the first in California in nearly a century. The story of Journey (OR-7) provided a welcome opportunity to step away from the unnecessary controversy manufactured by those opposed to wolf recovery and instead reflect on the positive story of a native species retaking its rightful place on the landscape.

Since 2012, wolf recovery in Oregon has slowly started to get back on track. Although the population has increased over the last several years, in 2015, and with only 78 known adult wolves in the state, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and its Commission decided to prematurely strip wolves of state Endangered Species Act protections — despite what peer reviewed, independent scientists recommended. Shortly after, lawmakers in Salem passed HB 4040: a bill that statutorily affirmed the delisting of Oregon’s wolves. The passage of HB 4040 essentially blocked the ability of conservation organizations to bring forth a lawsuit challenging the merits of the Commission’s decision.

The latest update to the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan — which was approved by the Commission in June of 2019 —  significantly erodes protections for wolves by lowering the threshold for when the state can kill wolves, removing requirements for non lethal conflict deterrence, and opening the door toward public hunting and trapping. 

For many, wolves are a symbol of freedom, wilderness, and the American west, and Oregon’s wolf country contains some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world. Science continues to demonstrate the positive impacts of wolves on the landscape and the critical role played by big predators, and interest in their return is fueling tourism in Oregon’s wolf country and elsewhere in the west.

Still, wolves are threatened by a purposeful campaign of misinformation and fear. This webpage shoots down many of the common myths about wolves. A small number of vocal anti-wolf activists, along with industry lobbyists and their political allies, continue to work to undermine already weak protections for wolves and other wildlife.

The Future

For a state that prides itself on its green reputation, the extermination of wolves is one of our greatest environmental tragedies. Their return represents an opportunity at redemption.

Most Oregonians value native wildlife and believe wolves have a rightful place on the landscape. We are happy to know the silence of a hike in the Eagle Cap might be broken by the lonely howl of a wolf. If that howl is to remain, it’s critical that those who value wolves and other native wildlife stand up and speak up on their behalf.

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Plus there were photographs embedded within the text that I thought would be better appreciated if they were offered separately. Here they are:

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Finally a collection of wolf photographs from a link on Oregon Wild that is no longer in use. I downloaded these pictures in 2016!

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Long may they prosper!

Furry life saver!

The story of Rhys the dog!

I have known Keith Edmunds from a long time ago and we chat from time to time. Keith has his own company Tiger Computing, Linux specialists, (We provide managed cloud services and Linux support services for high-tech businesses), and we had a business connection many moons ago. But in an effort to stay connected with friends in the old country I have subscribed for quite some time to Keith’s newsletter. Although Keith clearly is speaking to potential clients his newsletter is quite readable for non-technical peeps such as myself.

At the end of September this year Keith’s newsletter was a little different. Here it is:

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Rhys the dog saved my wife’s life last week.

She was alone in the house. She put some flatbread in a pan on the hob, then went to check something on her PC. And forgot about the flatbread.

The flatbread got hotter, started smoking, and then the smoke alarm went off. That would be a clue for most of us that something may be amiss.

But my wife is deaf. She can’t hear the smoke alarm.

That’s when Rhys, the Hearing Dog, leapt into action. He found her and butted her hard with his nose. “What is it?”, she asked him. He squatted down on all fours, the signal that the smoke alarm is going off. He only makes that move for the smoke alarm so it’s clear what the problem is.

My wife ran to the kitchen, turned off the hob and opened windows to disperse the smoke. Without Rhys alerting her there would have been a fire. The consequences of that can only (fortunately) be imagined.

So here’s how it works. Rhys is trained to notify my wife when he hears certain sounds. He notified her when he heard one, and corrective action was taken.

Here at Tiger Computing we have sophisticated monitoring systems that keep an eye on our clients’ Linux systems. They’re configured to alert our support staff if things start going wrong, and the support staff can take corrective action.

Our monitoring probably won’t save your life. But it might save your bacon.

Until next week –
Keith

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It is a delightful account of yet another aspect of dogs. Dogs can undertake many things and some of our dogs are really clever. Rhys is an example of how highly trained dogs can be.

I spoke to Keith and asked permission to republish this, gladly and readily given, and whether Keith had any photographs of Rhys.

Rhys and Mrs. Edmunds

Beautiful!

Yet another amazing story of a dog!

They are such adorable creatures!

I came late to my desk yesterday and therefore shall be rather circumspect regarding my introduction. I saw the following story on The Dodo, yet again, and thought it just showed perfectly the unconditional love of dogs.

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Smart Dog Sneaks Away From Home To Surprise Her Mom At Work

“I truly didn’t believe it!”

By Stephen Messenger, published on the 16th August, 2021.

Just about every day for the past year and a half, this sweet dog named Indy has been accompanying her owner, Liza Thayer, to an assisted living facility in Connecticut. That’s where Thayer works — but it’s become a home away from home for the pup.

“She loves it here, and all the residents adore her!” Thayer told The Dodo.

Recently, Indy proved just how true that is.

LIZA THAYER

The other day, Thayer took a day off from work to attend a friend’s wedding. She asked her dad to dog-sit while she was away. It was a change of routine, but Indy apparently didn’t get the memo.

The smart pup, it seems, assumed that Thayer had simply forgotten to take her to work that day.

So, she walked there herself.

LIZA THAYER

Incredibly, Indy managed to slip away from Thayer’s dad and walk 2 miles to where she works, all on her own.

There, staff and residents were surprised to see Indy at the door, knowing that Thayer was off for the day. They called Thayer to let her know about her dog’s attempt at surprising her at work.

“I truly didn’t believe it!” Thayer said. “She takes the drive with me every day, but I never imagined she would do this.”

Thayer wasn’t in that day, as Indy may have been expecting. But any disappointment about that was surely short-lived. The pup was greeted with open arms anyway.

“The residents let her in and waited with her, feeding her all her favorite treats,” Thayer said.

For Indy, the trip was worth it.

LIZA THAYER

Thankfully, the adventurous pup didn’t have to walk herself all the way back home. After enjoying her off-duty time at work, Indy was driven back home by Thayer’s boss.

By then, her dad had realized she was missing and started searching, so learning she was safe and sound came as welcome news all around.

Indy and Thayer were reunited when she returned from the wedding — made all the more special given the lengths Indy had gone to surprise her.

“She must’ve really missed me!” Thayer said.

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Our Brandy, a 150-pound cross of a Great Pyrenean and a Mastiff, sometimes goes walkabout and did so yesterday. Luckily being seen by a friendly soul and returned. It was just one of the things that made the day rather hectic.

Who wants to kiss a dog!

Well Jeannie does for sure.

All our six dogs are beautifully friendly but there’s one dog that just loves to be kissed and returns the favour just as much. That is Oliver!

Oliver

I don’t have a photograph of Oliver and Jean kissing and that’s me being lazy rather than anything else.

Now for whatever deep-seated reason I won’t give Oliver or any of the other dogs a tongue-to-tongue kiss but I am envious of Jean and Oliver; they both love it!

All of which serves as a preamble to an article from The Dodo on dogs’ mouths! Here it is, and it is quite a lengthy one, so settle yourself down and quietly read it completely:

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Are Dogs’ Mouths Cleaner Than Humans’?

For everyone who kisses their pup on the mouth 😘

By LAUREN TAYLOR, Published on the 24th September, 2021

If anyone has ever shamed you for letting your dog give you a kiss, you might have told them that dogs’ mouths are cleaner than humans’ mouths. But is that actually true, or is it just something obsessed dog parents made up to justify letting their dogs lick them?

The truth is that dogs’ mouths actually aren’t cleaner than human mouths — but they’re not really dirtier either. We just have different germs.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a remote veterinarian with DoggieDesigner.com, to find out everything you need to know about dog saliva.

Why dogs’ mouths aren’t cleaner than human mouths.

Your dog’s mouth isn’t exactly clean. Just like people have bacteria living in our mouths, dogs do too.

“Multiple studies have discovered that dogs have many unique and potentially dangerous bacteria and other parasites lurking in their mouths,” Dr. Roberts told The Dodo. “Around 600 different species of bacteria have been discovered in both canine and human mouths.”

The type and amount of bacteria living in a dog’s mouth depends on the level of periodontal (dental) disease present, which is determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Diet
  • Breed (smaller dogs tend to be at greater risk because they have smaller teeth and mouths, leading to more food getting stuck, and they have less bone mass, leading to tooth loss)
  • Frequency of teeth brushing
  • Frequency of professional dental cleaning by a vet

What diseases can you get from dog saliva?

There are lots of bacteria in a dog’s mouth that are different from what humans have in our mouths. Some of these are harmless, but some could make you sick.

Some of the bacteria found in dogs’ mouths that can be dangerous to people include:

  • E. coli, Clostridia, Salmonella and Campylobacter — “[These are] bacteria that can cause severe gastrointestinal illness in people,” Dr. Roberts said. “Dogs are often carriers of these bacteria, yet they do not become ill from them. They usually get these bacteria in their mouths through licking their anuses or ingesting other animals’ feces. Another common source of these illness-causing bacteria is from ingesting raw food.”
  • Pasteurella — This can cause skin infections that can travel to your lymph nodes and cause severe disease, such as cellulitis or meningitis.
  • Capnocytophaga canimorsus — “[This] enters the wounds in skin after being licked by a dog’s tongue,” Dr. Roberts said. “Mostly only immune-compromised people are susceptible to this disease that develops into septicemia [blood poisoning].”
  • Giardia and Cryptosporidium — These are actually protozoa, not bacteria, but they can still make you sick by your dog licking your face and can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
  • Parasites — If your dog has parasites, such as worms, and licks his anus and then your face, you could contract the parasite.

So what is the risk of getting sick from your dog licking you? Even with all those germs, if you’re healthy and don’t have a compromised immune system, the risk is luckily pretty low.

“Most human immune systems will neutralize these parasites before they can cause illness,” Dr. Roberts said. “Those with weakened immune systems, such as persons going through chemotherapy, persons with HIV, very young and very old people should be more careful around pets.”

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine if it’s a risk you want to take.

But to be safe, you can follow these steps to avoid getting sick from dog saliva:

  • Keep your dog up to date on his deworming medications and flea and tick medications.
  • Get checked out by a doctor if you get bitten or scratched by a dog.
  • Don’t let a dog lick your wounds.
  • Frequently wash items that your dog’s mouth touches, like toys and food and water bowls.
  • Don’t let your dog lick you if you’re immunocompromised, and don’t let him lick others who are immunocompromised.

Does dog saliva heal wounds?

It’s an old belief that dog saliva heals wounds. But is it actually true?

“There may be some truth to this after all,” Dr. Roberts said. “The action of licking helps to remove debris and necrotic tissue from the wound.”

Dog saliva also contains proteins that can be beneficial in healing.

“Mammal saliva contains a protein called histatin,” Dr. Roberts said. “This protein is able to kill bacteria before they can cause infection.”

Histatins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties and are part of the immune system. They have been found to play a role in wound closure.

But while it’s possible that dog saliva could help to heal a paper cut, you shouldn’t let your dog lick all of your cuts and scrapes — there are much better ways to take care of your injuries, and you always run the risk of infecting your wound instead of making it better.

“I would still not allow my dog to lick my wounds,” Dr. Roberts said. “We have excellent wound care products on the market these days that not only do a better job of keeping wounds clean but also come without the risk of introducing nasty infections or potential parasites.”

How to keep your dog’s mouth clean

If you do let your dog give you occasional kisses (and even if you don’t), you should try to keep his mouth as clean as possible since it’s also important for his health.

You can do this by regularly brushing his teeth and by providing toys that help clean his teeth.

Try this dog toothpaste from Chewy for $4.99.

“The most important way to keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy is (just like humans) through regular teeth brushing and dental cleaning by a professional,” Dr. Roberts said. “Start introducing your dog to teeth brushing from a young age and aim to brush at least twice a week.”

You can also let your dog chew on dental treats to clean his teeth in between brushing. (These treats received The Dodo’s Paw of Approval, and you can get them from Amazon for $4.98.)

So dogs’ mouths aren’t actually cleaner than people’s, and you shouldn’t let your dog lick your wounds. But if you keep your dog’s mouth and teeth clean, a kiss from your pup every now and then should be fine (if it’s something you’re comfortable with).

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.

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I suggest that if you want to purchase any of the products described above then you go directly to The Dodo website and place your order via The Dodo.

Overall I find this a very useful article and I am grateful to The Dodo for allowing me to republish it.

The Isle of Mull

A guest post.

With a difference in that the guest author is my son, Alex. Recently Alex and his partner, Lisa, went on a trip to the Isle of Mull. But I will let Alex continue in his own words after I have explained a little more about the island. And where better to start than with the opening paragraphs of an article on the Isle of Mull from Wikipedia.

The Isle of Mull[6] (Scottish Gaelic An t-Eilean Muileachpronounced [ən ‘tjelan ˈmuləx]) or just Mull (English and Scots[mʌl]Scottish GaelicMuile[ˈmulə] (listen)) is the second-largest island of the Inner Hebrides (after Skye) and lies off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute. Covering 875.35 square kilometres (338 sq mi), Mull is the fourth-largest island in Scotland – and also in the United Kingdom as a whole.

The island’s 2020 population was estimated at 3,000.[7] In the 2011 census, the usual resident population was 2,800.[2] In 2001, it was 2,667.[8] (In the summer, these numbers are augmented by an influx of many tourists.) Much of the year-round population lives in colourful Tobermory, the island’s capital, and, until 1973, its only burgh.

There are two distilleries on the island: the Tobermory distillery (formerly called Ledaig), which is Mull’s only producer of single malt Scotch whisky;[9] and another one located in the vicinity of Tiroran, which produces Whitetail Gin (having opened in 2019, it was the island’s first new distillery in 220 years). The isle is host to numerous sports competitions, notably the annual Highland Games competition, which is held in July. It also has at least four castles, including the towering keep of Moy Castle. A much older stone circle lies beside Lochbuie, on the south coast.

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This is now from Alex:

We decided to go to the Isle of Mull after reading about the amazing wildlife it has to offer. It’s famous for its white tailed eagles, which are the largest eagle in the U.K. and fourth largest in the world, with an average wingspan of 7-8ft and a perched height of 1m. After securing a place on a Mullcharters.com eagle photography boat trip, we waited with excitement as the boat left the small harbour at Ulva ferry in force 5 winds and intermittent rain showers, cruising out of the harbour, we where very lucky to spot an Otter swimming along.

On reaching Loch Na Keal, we where told to keep an eye out for an eagle approaching, they apparently recognise the boat from around 1-2 miles away and know that it offers them an opportunity to get some free fish! It wasn’t long before looming out of the distance, a white tailed eagle appeared and started circling the boat, one of the boats crew told us he was going to throw a fish out and exactly where he was throwing it, so we could aim our cameras in that direction, we where treated to the amazing spectacle of an adult white tailed eagle swooping down to collect its fish, which was about 20-30ft away. This enabled us to get some excellent pictures of the eagle picking up its fish on numerous occasions, we saw at least six different birds on the trip and at one point had two pairs of eagles overhead the boat. Even with the challenging conditions, we all managed to get some excellent photos, it’s just a shame we didn’t get any sun to really show the eagles colours off.

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To round off these wonderful photographs, here are two of an otter. They are notoriously difficult to photograph.

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What a wonderful journey for Alex and Lisa. The camera was a Panasonic Lumix G85 with Leica 100-400 lens.