Author: Paul Handover

Corgi cafes!

Why thousands are flocking to corgi cafes.

From the BBC News:

Corgi cafes are all the rage, so what’s behind the global phenomenon transforming the fortunes of this once overlooked dog breed?

Corgi cafes are especially popular in Asia, with businesses thriving in Thailand, Japan and China.

You can watch the video here.

There’s also another video on YouTube.

Enjoy!

Prostate drug may slow Parkinson’s disease – BBC News

A very interesting development.

I was chatting to my very old friend, as in the number of years, Richard Maugham yesterday and shortly after the call he sent me an email with a link to a recent item on the BBC News website.

Most of you regulars know that Jeannie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in December, 2015 and coincidentally at the same time Richard was also diagnosed with PD.

I’m sure there are a few who read this blog that either have PD of know or someone who has it.

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Prostate drug may slow Parkinson’s disease

By Michelle Roberts,
Health editor, BBC News online

17th September, 2019

A drug used to treat enlarged prostates may be a powerful medicine against Parkinson’s disease, according to an international team of scientists.

Terazosin helps ease benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by relaxing the muscles of the bladder and prostate.

But researchers believe it has another beneficial action, on brain cells damaged by Parkinson’s.

They say the drug might slow Parkinson’s progression – something that is not possible currently.

Cell death

They studied thousands of patients with both BPH and Parkinson’s.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest the alpha-blocker drug protects brain cells from destruction.

Parkinson’s is a progressive condition affecting the brain, for which there is currently no cure.

Existing Parkinson’s treatments can help with some of the symptoms but can’t slow or reverse the loss of neurons that occurs with the disease.

Terazosin may help by activating an enzyme called PGK1 to prevent this brain cell death, the researchers, from the University of Iowa, in the US and the Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, China, say.

Clinical trials

When they tested the drug in rodents it appeared to slow or stop the loss of nerve cells.

To begin assessing if the drug might have the same effect in people, they searched the medical records of millions of US patients to identify men with BPH and Parkinson’s.

They studied 2,880 Parkinson’s patients taking terazosin or similar drugs that target PGK1 and a comparison group of 15,409 Parkinson’s patients taking a different treatment for BPH that had no action on PGK1.

Patients on the drugs targeting PGK1 appeared to fare better in terms of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and progression, which the researchers say warrants more study in clinical trials, which they plan to begin this year.

‘Exciting area’

Lead researcher Dr Michael Welsh says while it is premature to talk about a cure, the findings have the potential to change the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

“Today, we have zero treatments that change the progressive course of this neurodegenerative disease,” she says.

“That’s a terrible state, because as our population ages Parkinson’s disease is going to become increasingly common.

“So, this is really an exciting area of research.”

‘Disease modifying’

Given that terazosin has a proven track record for treating BPH, he says, getting it approved and “repurposed” as a Parkinson’s drug should be achievable if the clinical trials go well.

The trials, which will take a few years, will compare the drug with a placebo to make sure it is safe and effective in Parkinson’s.

Co-researcher Dr Nandakumar Narayanan, who treats patients with Parkinson’s disease said: “We need these randomised controlled trials to prove that these drugs really are disease modifying.

“If they are, that would be a great thing.”

Prof David Dexter from Parkinson’s UK said: “These exciting results show that terazosin may have hidden potential for slowing the progression of Parkinson’s, something that is desperately needed to help people live well for longer.

“While it is early days, both animal models and studies looking at people who already take the drug show promising signs that need to be investigated further.”

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I have now written to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, (JCI).

Interestingly, if one goes to the website of the JCI then one reads the following on the ‘About’ page:

The Journal of Clinical Investigation is a premier venue for discoveries in basic and clinical biomedical science that will advance the practice of medicine.

The JCI was founded in 1924 and is published by the ASCI, a nonprofit honor organization of physician-scientists incorporated in 1908. See the JCI’s Wikipedia entry for detailed information.

It’s a small step forward!

What’s that smell?

A short but interesting YouTube video.

I’m going to try and publish some posts on a whole range of topics. The one common denominator is that they are of interest to yours truly. Hopefully I am not alone in this!

It’s going to be a bit ad hoc including responding to comments from a week today until October 8th/9th.

But today’s post is a short video that nonetheless makes for fascinating viewing.

Onwards and upwards!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Five

This is a cross between a post and a Picture Parade.

I was so attracted to this post that I was going to publish it during the week.

But then the photographs were so superb that I decided to make it a Picture Parade.

It was a post published by Bring Fido.

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A Peck of Places to Take Your Dog Apple Picking

Posted by Brandi Bangle

Your pooch may be the apple of your eye, but did you know you can take her to pick apples with you, too? Many farms and orchards around the country welcome four-legged guests. Not only can you use apples to make delicious apple pies, apple cider and apple butter, but your pup can enjoy the fruit as well! According to the American Kennel Club, apples are safe for dogs to eat, in moderation of course. However, dogs should not consume the seeds because they contain a plant compound that converts into cyanide when chewed. The core should also be kept away from pups, as it could be a choking hazard.

Deardorff Orchards

Waconia, MN

“Give us apples … and then maybe we’ll tell you who’s who.”
Photo by @ellogoldengirls

Deardorff Orchards loves dogs, which is why they have two separate pet water stations on the premises as well as waste bags available for guests with pups. Dogs are welcome on their 125 acres of grounds if they’re leashed and friendly. You and your pup will be able to pick from their 10 varieties of apples, and their 3,000 trees ensure you can have your pick of the litter. Deardorff Orchards also has pumpkins, red wagons if you want to tow along your kids or your exceptionally lazy dog, and farm animals for Fido to meet. Guests are welcome to enjoy the barn, listen to live music, sample their wines, and take a tractor ride on the weekends. If your furry travel companion still isn’t ready to go home after a trip to the farm, visit dog-friendly Minneapolis, which is only about an hour away.

Pick-Your-Own apples is available at Deardorff Orchards Fridays to Sundays from September 5 through late October. Depending on the weather, apple picking is open from noon until 5 p.m. Customers must purchase at minimum a half-peck bag (roughly six pounds) before heading to the orchard. The cost varies depending on the apple variety and availability.

Grandad’s Apples

Hendersonville, NC

“Beep beep! Tired pup coming through!”
Photo by Julie Leaver

Just a short drive from Asheville (and about two hours from Charlotte), Grandad’s Apples has been family-owned and operated since 1994. Pups and people alike can enjoy the 100 acres of the farm. Leashed dogs can join you while picking apples from the orchard but are not allowed in the pumpkin and playground areas. Fido is welcome inside the Barn and Country Store (where you can shop for apple turnovers, hot cider donuts, caramel apples and other goodies), near the barnyard corral where he can hang out with the resident farmyard animals, and in their 5-acre corn maze. Weekends at Grandad’s are full of fun events like cow trains, jump pillows, and even an apple cannon!

Grandad’s Apples is open for apple picking from late July through the third week of October from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Pick-Your-Own is $11 for a peck and $18 for a half bushel. The corn maze is $4 per person and free for dogs. They recommend calling ahead to learn what’s available for picking before visiting.

Wrights Farm

Gardiner, NY

 

My fur coat really makes the apples pop.”
Photo by Facebook.com/WrightsFarm

Your pooch will love exploring Wrights Farm’s vast 453 acres. In addition to picking from the 100,000 bushels of apples they grow every year, you and Fido can hike, bike, picnic or tailgate here. They even welcome you to bring gas grills, kites and frisbees. The farm, which has been family-run for five generations, also offers Pick-Your-Own pumpkins and sells a variety of fruits, vegetables, baked goods, jams, jellies, pickles and apple sauces.

You can pick apples at Wrights Farm from September 8 to November 3, 2019. Pick-Your-Own hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m every day. Admission is $12 and includes a one-peck bag. Children 5 to 9 years old pay $6 and receive a ½-peck bag. Children under 5 and dogs are free. Additional bags are available for purchase.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards

Parkdale, OR

“It’s been apple-asure to share the wagon with you.”
Photo by @itsokayklar

Dogs are part of the family, which is why leashed pups are invited to create fall memories along with everyone else at Kiyokawa Family Orchards. The family-owned and operated business has been growing produce (more than 120 varieties of apples and pears today!) since 1911. Dogs can lend a helping paw in the orchards. However, they may not enter the fruit stand. There is a water bowl for your pup to cool off and waste bags are available for easy cleanup. After you get your selection from the largest U-Pick orchard in the valley, don’t forget to snap some photos of Fido with the gorgeous backdrop of Mt. Hood.

Kiyokawa Family Orchards is open Saturdays and Sundays from July 13 to August 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. From August 30 to November 4, operating hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no admission fee and fruit prices vary.

Terison Apple Orchard

Cumberland Foreside, ME

“Please fall! C’mon, just one! Please!”
Photo by @mchemelski

Terison Apple Orchard gets it. One of their owners has her own pet-sitting service, so they understand how much people love their pooches. Leashed dogs can help you pick apples in their low-spray orchard. It’s the first Pick-Your-Own orchard in Maine, and you and your pup can bond together while savoring the sweet fruits of your labor.

While exact dates and hours vary due to the weather, Terison Apple Orchard is generally open from early September through October, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The orchard is self-service and uses the honor system. Bags cost $10 and $20, payable by cash only.

Cider Hill Family Orchard

Kansas City, KS

Apple picking with your pup can be a real balancing act.
Photo by Facebook.com/ciderhillfamilyorchardLeashed furry family members can help you pick from 18 different types of apples at Cider Hill Family Orchard’s 1,500 apple trees. Dogs are welcome on the 38 acres of farmland, but they may not enter buildings including the gift shop. Cider Hill also has a pumpkin patch, a fishing pond, a fire pit, hayrides and kid’s train rides. While you’re here, don’t forget to sample delicious treats made on site like cinnamon-cider doughnuts, apple crisp, kettle corn and apple butter.

Apple picking at Cider Hill begins in August. However, the end of the season varies due to the weather. In August, operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. In September and October, operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. There is no admission fee. A peck of apples is $11, a half bushel is $21, and a bushel is $40. Aggressive dogs are not permitted.

Applecrest Farm

Hampton Falls, NH

Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.
Photo by @thesecretworldofjensendean

Applecrest Farm is not only the oldest continuously operated apple orchard in America, and the oldest and largest in New Hampshire, it’s also dog friendly! Pups are welcome if they’re leashed, under control and picked up after. The farm boasts 220 acres and more than 40 types of apples. While dogs are not permitted in buildings or in the blueberry fields, you and Fido may enjoy the free tractor rides offered to and from the orchard on weekends in September and October. If your pup is itching for a road trip, the farm is conveniently located an hour from Boston and about 15 miles from historic Portsmouth and Newburyport.

Customers can pick apples from mid-August to late October from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Admission is free. Pick-Your-Own apples are sold by the peck for $20 and by the half bushel for $30, payable by cash only.

Hilltop Orchards

Richmond, MA

“Now, how do I get out?”
Photo by @rogerdawgHilltop Orchards uses eco-farming methods to grow no-residue apples, which you and your leashed pup can pick together. The family-run property sits on 200 acres and grows 26 varieties of apples, most of which are available for Pick-Your-Own. On weekends during peak season, they offer free hayrides for two-legged and four-legged guests alike from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hilltop Orchards also allows visitors with pets to use their land for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. In addition, furry visitors can join you for wine and/or hard cider tastings at their on-site Furnace Brook Winery.

Apple season at Hilltop Orchards runs from Labor Day through Columbus Day, although they often have limited availability before and after these dates. The orchards are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A half peck costs $7, a peck costs $10, and a half bushel costs $20.

Minnetonka Orchards

Minnetrista, MN

“Just one small one while they’re not looking …”
Photo by @remisayshi

Minnetonka Orchards is very dog friendly. Dogs are welcome in all 12 acres of apple orchards and even on hayrides. They only ask that dogs are leashed and picked up after. The orchards, which have been around since 1976, feature 12 types of apples. The grounds also include Cinderella pumpkin patches and fields of gourds and squash. Other activities include a petting zoo, a tree deck, a corn maze, nature trails and several kids’ play areas. Tasty snacks like apple donuts and brats are also available for purchase. Their sister company, Painter Creek Winery & Cidery, allows dogs as well.

Minnetonka Orchards is open daily from late August through October. Hours of operation are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The admission fee varies based on the crop but includes access to all the attractions on the premises.

Alldredge Orchards

Platte City, MO

 

“One apple picked and I’m already dog-tired.”
Photo by @kyandthetriguy

Alldredge Orchards welcomes dogs to pick apples with their owners as long as they’re leashed and cleaned up after (and you let them pet your pooch!). They grow several varieties which vary year to year depending on the weather. The property also has a pumpkin patch, barn store, cafe, playground and farm animals, so there’s plenty of fun for the whole family.

Alldredge Orchards is open from Labor Day Weekend through October. Guests can pick apples during the weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for ages 2 and up. Prices for apples are based on the crop and availability, and they recommend calling ahead before visiting.

Doe Orchards

Harvard, MA

“You see the fruits of my labor?”
Photo by sherryontherock/BringFido

Doe Orchards has offered Pick-Your-Own apples since the 1960s and has no plans of stopping now. Leashed four-legged guests are allowed during the fall as long as their two-legged companions clean up after them. Doe Orchards also has pumpkins, gourds, honey and cider. There are plenty of areas for picnicking after a long day of fruit-filled fun.

Apple picking usually begins Labor Day weekend (but may be a little later this season due to weather) and ends in mid-October. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Prices in 2018 were $17 for a peck and $30 for a half bushel.

West Valley U-Pick

Yakima, WA

I pick, U pick, we all pick apples!
Photo by @ikellih

West Valley U-Pick offers a great pesticide-free option for you and your pup, not to mention it was named one of Washington’s top 10 apple picking spots. Leashed dogs are welcome anywhere on the property to help you sniff out your perfect pick of apples or other seasonal fruits and veggies. If your pooch really wants to feel accomplished, you can even use one of the orchard’s old-fashioned hand-cranked cider presses to make your own cider.

Fido can pick apples Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from late August until the end of September. There is no admission fee for two- or four-legged pickers. Apples are $0.85 per pound and cider presses may be used for free with the purchase of U-Pick apples–simply bring your own container or purchase one of theirs.

DeMeritt Hill Farm

Lee, NH

“Didn’t I do good? Aren’t I a good boy? Shouldn’t I get … treats?”
Photo by Nicolle/BringFido

Dogs are welcome to join you at DeMeritt Hill Farm as long as they are leashed at all times. Don’t worry if you forget one! Leashes are available for rent or purchase at their store. There are trash bins throughout the property for easy cleanup after your pup. Dogs are allowed on the orchard grounds (with 25 apple varieties) and trails, just not in the buildings or on the hayrides.

The farm gives back to animals as well. Every October, it hosts Haunted Overload, a Halloween attraction that benefits the Pope Memorial Humane Society. Dogs are allowed during day haunts but are not permitted at night. The annual “spooktacle” has been voted one of the top haunted attractions in the country multiple times, and even won “The Great Halloween Fright Fight’” on ABC. The $50,000 grand prize from the show was donated to the Humane Society.

DeMeritt Farms is open for apple picking from late August through October. Pick-Your-Own is available Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission fee, but customers must purchase a one-peck bag before entering the orchard. The price depends on the type of apple but is typically around $16 per peck.

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Yes, I know they are selling apples but nonetheless the photographs are so good that as far as I am concerned the post is a big plus!

I hope you all agree!

Starting to be sidetracked by stuff!

A bit of a topsy-turvy moment at present.

We are not going away until the 23rd. We are taking Brandy with us!

But it seems as though getting our ducks in a row is going to become a high priority this week.

Plus, I am pleased to say that I am writing my second book. I had a meeting with H. Ní Aódagaín during the week and she has set me on the straight and narrow, so to speak.

H. Ní Aódagaín

She has her website here and although she promotes herself as a writer she is quite an editor and writing counsellor. I had over 20,000 words already written but had got myself completely lost and confused. Under her guidance I believe I got myself sorted.All of which is to say that the blog is taking a slightly backward step between now and the 14th October. I’m not saying that nothing will be published but at the present time I don’t have a clue as to what I shall do!

Hope you understand!

Finally, there should be plenty of photographs to share with you at some time after we are back.

Writing into old age!

Thank goodness for this!

It’s not exactly a ball of fun growing old. But while somethings inevitable decline writing isn’t one of them. This is a fascinating article from The Conversation.

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One skill that doesn’t deteriorate with age

Reading and writing can prevent cognitive decline.
AJP/Shutterstock.com

Roger J. Kreuz, University of Memphis

When Toni Morrison died on Aug. 5, the world lost one of its most influential literary voices.

But Morrison wasn’t a literary wunderkind. “The Bluest Eye,” Morrison’s first novel, wasn’t published until she was 39. And her last, “God Help the Child,” appeared when she was 84. Morrison published four novels, four children’s books, many essays and other works of nonfiction after the age of 70.

Morrison isn’t unique in this regard. Numerous writers produce significant work well into their 70s, 80s and even their 90s. Herman Wouk, for example, was 97 when he published his final novel, “The Lawgiver.”

Such literary feats underscore an important point: Age doesn’t seem to diminish our capacity to speak, write and learn new vocabulary. Our eyesight may dim and our recall may falter, but, by comparison, our ability to produce and to comprehend language is well preserved into older adulthood.

In our forthcoming book, “Changing Minds: How Aging Affects Language and How Language Affects Aging,” my co-author, Richard M. Roberts, and I highlight some of the latest research that has emerged on language and aging. For those who might fear the loss of their language abilities as they grow older, there’s plenty of good news to report.

Language mastery is a lifelong journey

Some aspects of our language abilities, such as our knowledge of word meanings, actually improve during middle and late adulthood.

One study, for example, found that older adults living in a retirement community near Chicago had an average vocabulary size of over 21,000 words. The researchers also studied a sample of college students and found that their average vocabularies included only about 16,000 words.

In another study, older adult speakers of Hebrew – with an average age of 75 – performed better than younger and middle-aged participants on discerning the meaning of words.

On the other hand, our language abilities sometimes function as a canary in the cognitive coal mine: They can be a sign of future mental impairment decades before such issues manifest themselves.

In 1996, epidemiologist David Snowdon and a team of researchers studied the writing samples of women who had become nuns. They found that the grammatical complexity of essays written by the nuns when they joined their religious order could predict which sisters would develop dementia several decades later. (Hundreds of nuns have donated their brains to science, and this allows for a conclusive diagnosis of dementia.)

While Toni Morrison’s writing remained searingly clear and focused as she aged, other authors have not been as fortunate. The prose in Iris Murdoch’s final novel, “Jackson’s Dilemma,” suggests some degree of cognitive impairment. Indeed, she died from dementia-related causes four years after its publication.

Toni Morrison published her last novel, ‘God Help the Child,’ when she was 84 years old.
AP Photo/Michel Euler

Don’t put down that book

Our ability to read and write can be preserved well into older adulthood. Making use of these abilities is important, because reading and writing seem to prevent cognitive decline.

Keeping a journal, for example, has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of developing various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Reading fiction, meanwhile, has been associated with a longer lifespan. A large-scale study conducted by the Yale University School of Public Health found that people who read books for at least 30 minutes a day lived, on average, nearly two years longer than nonreaders. This effect persisted even after controlling for factors like gender, education and health. The researchers suggest that the imaginative work of constructing a fictional universe in our heads helps grease our cognitive wheels.

Language is a constant companion during our life journey, so perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s interwoven into our health and our longevity. And researchers continue to make discoveries about the connections between language and aging. For example, a study published in July 2019 found that studying a foreign language in older adulthood improves overall cognitive functioning.

A thread seems to run through most of the findings: In order to age well, it helps to keep writing, reading and talking.

While few of us possess the gifts of a Toni Morrison, all of us stand to gain by continuing to flex our literary muscles.

Richard M. Roberts, a U.S. diplomat currently serving as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, Japan, is a contributing author of this article.

Roger J. Kreuz and Richard M. Roberts are the authors of:

Changing Minds: How Aging Affects Language and How Language Affects Aging The Conversation

MIT Press provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

Roger J. Kreuz, Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences, University of Memphis

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

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This is not about dogs but it is about writing about dogs!

It’s not all hugs and smiles.

A sobering article about the unacceptable face of dogs!

Jim Goodbrod recently sent me an email that included a copy of a recent article in the Washington Post.

Here’s what Jim wrote:

Hey Paul…..

I read this article in the Washington Post a couple weeks ago: it’s not something we want to hear or admit to, but I thought you’d find it interesting nonetheless.
Regards,  Jim

Jim got it in one when he said that it’s not something we want to admit to.

But it deserves sharing with you.

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The dog is one of the world’s most destructive mammals. Brazil proves it.

Surveillance cameras placed by researchers in Brazil’s Tijuca National Park capture a pair of dogs. (Courtesy of Katyucha Silva)

By Terrence McCoy

August 20

RIO DE JANEIRO — High above this Brazilian city, in a jungle blanketing a mountain, the turtles were out, and the scene was hopeful.

Scientists were reintroducing 15 mud-caked tortoises to this urban forest where they had once been plentiful. Children were running around. People were oohing and aahing. A stern-looking security guard appeared to briefly smile.

But not government biologist Katyucha Silva. She was thinking about dogs.

What would they do to these turtles? What were they doing to Brazil?

It’s a question more researchers are beginning to ask in a country where there are more dogs than children — and where dogs are quickly becoming the most destructive predator. They’re invading nature preserves and national parks. They’re forming packs, some 15 dogs strong, and are hunting wild prey. They’ve muscled out native predators such as foxes and big cats in nature preserves, outnumbering pumas 25 to 1 and ocelots 85 to 1.

Every year, they become still more plentiful, spreading diseases, disrupting natural environments, goosing scientists who set up elaborate camera systems to photograph wild animals, only to come away with pictures of curious canines.

“It’s a difficult thing for people to hear,” said Isadora Lessa, a Rio de Janeiro biologist who wrote her doctoral dissertation on domestic dogs causing environmental mayhem. “They love dogs too much.”

How the dog became one of the world’s most harmful invasive mammalian predators is as much a global story as a Brazilian one. Over the last century, as the human population exploded, so did the dog population, growing to an estimated 1 billion.

That has been great for people — and even better for dogs — but less so for nature, according to a growing body of academic research implicating canines, particularly the free-roaming ones, in environmental destruction.

“The global impacts of domestic dogs on wildlife are grossly underestimated,” researchers concluded in a 2017 study published in the journal Biological Conservation. The researchers, based in Australia, convicted dogs in the extinction of 11 species and declared them the third-most-damaging mammal, behind only cats and rodents.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature maintains a list of animals whose numbers dogs are culling. There are 191, and more than half are classified as either endangered or vulnerable. They range from lowly iguanas to the famed Tasmanian devil, from doves to monkeys, a diversity of animals with nothing in common beyond the fact that dogs enjoy killing them. In New Zealand, the organization reported, a single German shepherd once did in as many as 500 kiwis — and that was the conservative estimate.

“Unfortunately, we have a big problem,” said Piero Genovesi, chair of the agency’s invasive species unit. “There is a growing number of dogs.”

People all over the world are — begrudgingly — beginning to take note.

In Chile, stray dogs were the top concern among city dwellers surveyed this year, topping deteriorating sidewalks and theft. In New Zealand, some communities moved last year to restrict the movement of dogs in a gambit to save little blue penguins. In India, farmers are complaining about stray dogs killing their livestock, just as other predators once had.

And in Brazil, atop a mountain outside of Rio de Janeiro, 15 tortoises were nestling into the forest floor, oblivious to the danger of the forest’s leading predator.

‘A complex problem’

And in Brazil, atop a mountain outside of Rio de Janeiro, 15 tortoises were nestling into the forest floor, oblivious to the danger of the forest’s leading predator.

Researchers estimate there are more than 100 dogs in Tijuca National Park outside Rio de Janeiro, where they hunt and kill wild animals in packs. (Courtesy of Katyucha Silva)

Brazil is home to an estimated 52 million dogs, according to the most recent government statistics — more than anywhere in Latin America — but their lives vary widely. In a nation defined by inequality, where the rich fly in helicopters over the poor in the favelas below, the dog has become one more way of understanding the divide.

In wealthy cities, the dog is everywhere, strolling through fancy shopping malls, sitting in the laps of restaurant patrons, even riding paddle boards out on the surf. Some people wheel their dogs around in little strollers.

“The dog brings to Brazilians some things that Brazilians appreciate in themselves,” said Alexandre Rossi, a television personality more commonly known as Dr. Pet. “To be friendly, to want to socialize with everyone . . . and be there and be close to your family. These are perceived as very good Brazilian qualities.”

On the streets of trendy Ipanema one recent afternoon, few people could believe that a dog — or at least their dog — could be much of predator.

“The dog is a friend!” sputtered Philipe Soares, the furball Bobby at his feet. “No, I’ve never thought of him that way.”

“Difficult to imagine,” said Carlos Alberto Vicente, peering down at his own pooch.

“In her case,” said Flavio Vilela, a shirtless man striding through a park with a small mutt named Nicoli, “they’d hunt her.”

The problem, researchers say, isn’t these dogs, who lead the coddled lives of European or American pets.

The problem is the dogs in poorer and more rural communities, where the life of the dog is more frequently the life of hunger. They prowl the streets day and night with neither a collar nor an owner, looking for food wherever it can be found — in trash heaps, alongside roads, and in forests and fields, where they form packs to hunt and kill.

“It’s a very complex problem,” said Silva, the government biologist.

A stunning discovery

Katyucha Silva, a government researcher, has discovered dozens of dogs in Tijuca National Park. (Terrence McCoy/The Washington Post)

Ana Maria Paschoal, a researcher at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, remembers when she first started thinking about the dog differently. She was out in the Atlantic Forest in Southeast Brazil around a decade ago when she noticed there were an awful lot of them.

She wondered: How many dogs are using the protected areas? Are these feral or domestic dogs? Is their presence changing the occurrence of wild species?

So she set up cameras across 2,400 acres of forest to find out. What she discovered, published in 2012 in the scientific journal Mammalia, stunned her.

The dog wasn’t just the most-recorded carnivore; it was the most-recorded animal of the 17 mammals the cameras captured.

“The presence of the domestic dog is a threat,” Paschoal and her co-authors concluded.

The research, subsequently confirmed in a larger survey, laid the groundwork for a growing field of study here. One researcher linked Brazil’s dogs to the spread of diseases. Another accused the dogs in the National Park of Brasilia, where they hunted in massive packs, of scaring off natural predators. It was found that the closer humans lived to a nature preserve, the more likely dogs had penetrated it.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has counted 191 species whose numbers dogs are culling. More than half are endangered or vulnerable. (Courtesy of Katyucha Silva)

But perhaps most striking? The dogs were neither feral nor domestic — but somewhere in between.

“All the dogs we detected had an ‘owner’ or a person that the animal has a bond with,” Paschoal said. “The species population increases following human populations, exacerbating their potential impact on wildlife.”

It was something Fernando Fernandez, an ecology professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, learned the hard way. For the last decade, he has been reintroducing native animals to the Tijuca forest, one of the world’s largest urban woodlands, which spills across Rio de Janeiro’s mountains.

First came the agouti, a squirrel-like rodent. Then followed a problem: “Dogs.”

They started killing the agouti, and not for food. It was just for fun.

Fernandez and Silva wanted to learn more. They set up cameras and discovered dozens of dogs in the forest. They estimated more than 100 dogs were in the park — not residents, it turned out, so much as frequent visitors, tracking in from nearby favelas.

“These are people who are very poor,” said Silva, who has six dogs at home. “They don’t have money to build walls. . . . When the owners leave for work, the dog leaves, too, and only returns when the owner comes back to the house from work.”

The owners often have no idea what their dogs are up to. Even if they were told, Rob Young said, they almost certainly wouldn’t believe it.

Young, chairman of wildlife conservation at the University of Salford in Britain, witnessed the psychology at work after seeing dogs kill flightless birds in the state of Minas Gerais.

“We’d do interviews with the farmers: ‘Have you seen these dogs?’

“And they’d say, ‘Yeah, but my dogs aren’t the problem; it’s my neighbor’s dogs.’

“Every farmer would say the same thing.”

These factors — inability to see aggression in dogs, in­trac­table inequality, the rapid expansion of humanity — left Silva feeling apprehensive as she watched the tortoises being reintroduced into the Tijuca forest.

In the long term, she didn’t know how the problem of dogs laying waste to the world’s environments would realistically improve.

And in the short term: Could dogs kill these tortoises, just as they’d dispatched a few agouti?

“Yes,” she said. “They could.”

Silva worries that tortoises reintroduced in the park could fall prey to dogs. (Terrence McCoy/The Washington Post)

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It’s a tough read and there doesn’t appear to be a solution, not in the short-term at least.

As was reported in the article it is as much a global problem with something of the order of a billion dogs roaming the planet.

Does anyone have any ideas for a solution?

A bit of a heads-up

A vacation is coming up!

Now it’s still two weeks away but on the 23rd September we are going away until the 8th October.

We are driving to Utah specifically to see the slot canyons in Capital Reef National Park, and elsewhere.

The story behind this was quite a few months ago I was reading on Ugly Hedgehog about these canyons and said to Jeannie that we really should try and go there before we get too old.

As it happened, Jana could babysit the house and dogs, cats and horses on the dates that I mentioned earlier on.

We are taking just one dog with us. We will take Brandy because he adores being taken for a drive and he has the habit of going for a walkabout when at home and we thought it wasn’t fair on Jana.

So it’s all uncertain as to what I shall do with the blog. Whether I will have time to use old posts, or leave it alone completely, or from time to time go online and leave a brief post.

Things may become clearer nearer the time.

But it seemed like a good idea to give your a heads-up!

Stunning isn’t the half of it!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Four

Photos of theatre-loving dogs.

All taken from this post.

Service dogs from K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs attend a ‘relaxed’ performance at the Stratford Festival, and by all accounts, they loved it. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs & Co.)

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The outing was more about training than culture. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs)

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While the relaxed performance was an ideal environment in which to train these dogs, the festival welcomes service animals at all performances. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs)

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Elvis is ready for the play to begin. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs & Co.)

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Audience members enjoy seeing how focused the dogs are during the play. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs & Co.)

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Some of the dogs rested on the floor between the seats. (Photo: K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs & Co.)

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It just goes to show that there’s no end to the pleasure a dog gets!

And yet another one!

More dog food contaminated with Salmonella.

There’s a continuing problem with Salmonella.

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Berkley Jensen Pig Ear Dog Chews Sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club Recalled

September 3, 2019 — Dog Goods USA is expanding its recent recall to include all 30-packs of Berkley Jensen brand pig ear dog chews sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club stores due to possible contamination with Salmonella.

The previous recall is being expanded after testing by Rhode Island Department of Health found Salmonella bacteria in Berkley Jensen brand pig ear pet chews.

What’s Being Recalled?

Dog Goods USA LLC of Tobyhanna, PA, has been contacted by the FDA and is conducting a voluntary recall of the following products: non-irradiated bulk and packaged pig ears branded Chef Toby Pig Ears with the lot codes indicated below.

The affected products were distributed nationwide in retail stores.

What Caused the Recall?

According to the company, Dog Goods USA purchased the affected treats from a single supplier in Brazil from September 2018 through August 2019.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State partners, is investigating a link between pig ear pet treats and human cases of salmonellosis.

About Salmonella

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals and humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

For more information and Salmonella and its symptoms and health risks, please refer to the following link: https://www.dfs.gov/animal-veterinary/news-events/fda-investigates-contaminated-pig-ear-pet-treats-connected-human-salmonella-infections.

Dog Goods Company Statement

The following statement has been provided by the company:

Dog Goods has also launched an internal investigation to determine, when and where the Products may have been contaminated.

To date, this internal investigation has not indicated any vulnerability in the company’s practices, including but not limited to the inspection, handling and storage of the Products.

Nonetheless, Dog Goods will continue to investigate the matter, collaborate fully with the FDA and the CDC, and provide further information to its customers and the public as appropriate.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased the products are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 786-401-6533 from Monday to Friday, 9 AM ET through 5 PM ET.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to https://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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Well, there are too many of these salmonella complaints if you ask me.

But it’s better to send out these FDA alerts than not to.

Again, please share as far and wide as you can.

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