Author: Paul Handover

This is just beautiful

Just a short post!

One can’t imagine what it was like for this poor dog that was placed in a garbage can. But then along comes a perfect Princess and rescues the poor animal.

And so the dog found in the trash learns how to walk again with the help of her foster family — now she runs on the beach!

Dear, sweet Billie and what a terrific job this lady did. From a family of dogs, of course!

More of Jeannie’s paintings

This time Lexi and Brandy

There is no question that Jean has a real knack of capturing the essence of a dog. I continue to be delighted at the quality of her paintings.

Here is one of Lexi that was also featured in a recent Picture Parade. Lexi is Dan’s dog.

And the next is Brandy, one of our own dogs but the biggest of the pack. Brandy is a cross between a Great Pyrenean and a Mastiff.

They are gorgeous!

Yet another dog lover!

The Dodo has a brilliant story.

There are so many kind people across the world and so many of those people are kind towards dogs.

Take this story for instance. It is about a Canadian woman who had placed dogs at the top of her care list and had been doing it for a number of years.

It was an article recently published in The Dodo and republished here.

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Woman Builds The Most Adorable Café For Her Neighborhood Dogs

“This is something they can do to bring a little joy to their day” ❤️️

By Lily Feinn

Published on 23rd April, 2021

Kaya Kristina lives right next door to High Park, one of Toronto’s most popular public gardens. Six years ago, the animal lover noticed that many of the pups in her neighborhood looked like they could use a little pick-me-up after running around outside. 

“On hot days, I noticed some of the dogs coming home from the park looked thirsty and tired,” Kristina told The Dodo. “I thought I should put out some water and a sign that said, ‘For thirsty dogs.’”

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

Her act of kindness didn’t go unnoticed for long. “One day, I got a card from someone in my mailbox,” Kristina said. “It had a pic of their dog on the front and it was written from the point of view of the dog saying thank you for the water. I put the pic up on my fridge and it made me really happy.”

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

For years, Kristina continued to supply local dogs with water and she continued to receive little messages in return. Then, when the pandemic struck last year, Kristina decided to up her game. She decided to leave some treats on her front lawn for all her furry neighbors to safely enjoy during lockdown.

And StarPups Coffee was born.

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

“I made a bunch of mini treat bags, made a little menu so people knew what they were giving their dog and put a little stand out with options,” Kristina said. “It was so cute seeing the dogs go by and pulling their owners to my house to go get a snack.”

Kristina provides water, Milk-Bones and specialty all-natural treats made in Canada. And the parade of dogs enjoying them has provided hours of entertainment for her while being cooped up inside.

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

Regular visitors began swinging by the café every day, so Kristina started an Instagram account as a way to build a little community around the watering hole.

“I thought of all the people living alone during COVID and how their mental health was suffering,” Kristina said. “I thought, ‘Most people are complaining about their husbands and kids driving them nuts being home all together. But do they think about their single friends who only have pets?’ I wanted to give those people something to look forward to and make them feel special.”

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

One day, Kristina went outside and found that her entire café setup was missing. Someone had stolen StarPups overnight, and Kristina was heartbroken. She posted about it on her Instagram — and, to her surprise, the community she had fostered over the months and years stepped up to help.

“That evening, when I got home, my mailbox was full of cards, notes, photos of people’s dogs, Pet Valu gift cards and even a sweet drawing of my dog,” Kristina said. “It turned out to be a good thing, because I had felt so isolated all year with COVID, and now I felt like I had an army of friends.”

INSTAGRAM/HIGHPARKPUPS

Encouraged by the show of support, Kristina built another StarPups Coffee for the neighborhood dogs to enjoy. And Kristina is currently working on building a more permanent setup on her lawn, which will be weatherproof so that no dogs will have to walk away disappointed when it rains or snows.

Now that Ontario has entered back into lockdown, the little front yard café is doing more business than ever before. “One of the few things that’s still allowed is walking your dog,” Kristina said. “So many people are struggling mentally and physically, so this is something they can do to bring a little joy to their day.”

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This is a very beautiful story and just goes to show that Kristina rose to the occasion with returns and rewards far beyond what she may have anticipated. I have said it many times before but nonetheless will say it again: Dogs are the most delightful of animals. They form bonds with us humans that is unmatched by any other animal. Let’s just let this story above sink into our deeper selves.

More than that, they bring out the very best in people!

A Reunion to break one’s heart.

Tyler is reunited with his dog.

I have a folder where I put items that I think would make a good post. I have 1,139 items at present. Now many of them have been shared with you but by no means all of them. They are a constant reminder of the many ways in which the dog has, and is, the perfect companion for us humans.

Take this story that was published in The Dodo in March.

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This Boy’s Reunion With His Dog Will Totally Make Your Day

They never thought they’d see each other again ❤️

By Lily Feinn, Published on the 26th March, 2021

Earlier this month, a 10-year-old boy named Tyler Bandy got the best present he could ask for. As he walked in the door, he was immediately overwhelmed by love and kisses from an old friend — his dog, Bruiser.

STORYFUL/JAMIE BANDY

In January, Bruiser, a gray and white pit bull, was on a walk when he ran after a rabbit and got lost.

The Bandy family did everything they could to try and locate Bruiser. They posted fliers around their Florida neighborhood, posted on Facebook, put out old clothes in front of their home so he could smell them and repeatedly checked their local animal control.

FACEBOOK/JAMIE BANDY

But as the weeks passed and no leads were found, the family was “starting to lose hope,” according to Tyler’s mom, Jamie Bandy.“

That’s when the phone rang,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. “Turns out their dog had been picked up by somebody on their way to Highlands County and, after a couple of months, it wound up in the hands of our animal services folks.”

STORYFUL/JAMIE BANDY

A staff member at animal services thought the pup looked familiar and, after some digging on social media, she found out why. Bruiser was returned to his parents, but they kept his arrival secret so that they could surprise Tyler.

“To say Bruiser had a joyous homecoming would be putting it lightly,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said. 

You can watch the emotional reunion here:

Tyler was shocked when he came home and saw Bruiser, and both were overjoyed. Tyler immediately started sobbing and hugging his best friend, while Bruiser showered him with licks, wagging his tail as hard as possible.

“[Tyler] was simply overcome when his parents surprised him with his best friend,” the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office said. “The two have been inseparable since.”

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Just another account of a young boy reunited with his dog. But then so much more than that. In this young man’s mind he had lost the one dear creature in his life. Perhaps made worse because Bruiser just disappeared one day. It was what we adults call unfinished business.

Then after a number of weeks fate stepped in and Bruiser was returned and Bruiser and Tyler were reunited. I am going to repeat that sentence towards the end of the piece which shows the response of Bruiser and Tyler. It just doesn’t get any better. “Tyler immediately started sobbing and hugging his best friend, while Bruiser showered him with licks, wagging his tail as hard as possible.”

Beautiful!

What goes around comes around!

Another account of dogs bonding with humans.

Chernobyl is a name that anyone born before, say, 1970 will associate with a terrible nuclear accident in Russia.

As Wikipedia put it:

The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in terms of cost and casualties, and is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles—roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation.

But recently BBC Future spoke of the bond that the guards and the abandoned dogs made.

Read it below: (Unfortunately you will have to go here to view the stunning photographs because the BBC prevents them being republished! But it is still a very interesting article.)

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The guards caring for Chernobyl’s abandoned dogs

The descendants of pets abandoned by those fleeing the Chernobyl disaster are now striking up a curious relationship with humans charged with guarding the contaminated area.

It wasn’t long after he arrived in the irradiated landscape of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone that Bogdan realised his new job came with some unexpected companions. From his first days as a checkpoint guard in Chernobyl, he has shared the place with a pack of dogs.

Bogdan (not his real name) is now in his second year of working in the zone and has got to know the dogs well. Some have names, some don’t. Some stay nearby, others remain detached – they come and go as they please. Bogdan and the other guards feed them, offer them shelter, and occasionally give them medical care. They bury them when they die.

All the dogs are, in a sense, refugees of the 1986 disaster in which Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. In the aftermath, tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. They were told to leave their pets behind. (Read more about the long-term toll of the Chernobyl disaster.)

Soviet soldiers shot many of the abandoned animals in an effort to prevent the spread of contamination. But, undoubtedly, some of the animals hid and survived. Thirty-five years later, hundreds of stray dogs now roam the 2,600km (1,000 sq mile) Exclusion Zone put in place to restrict human traffic in and out of the area. Nobody knows which of the dogs are directly descended from stranded pets, and which may have wandered into the zone from elsewhere. But they are all dogs of the zone now.

Their lives are perilous. They are at risk from radioactive contamination, wolf attacks, wildfires and starvation, among other threats. The dogs’ average lifespan is just five years, according to the Clean Futures Fund, a non-governmental organisation that monitors and provides care for dogs living within the Exclusion Zone.

That dogs inhabit this ruined place is well known – some of them have even become minor celebrities on social media. Clean Futures Fund co-founder Lucas Hixson, who gave up a research career to look after the animals, offers virtual tours of the Exclusion Zone featuring the dogs.

But less is known about the local workers who interact with these canines on a daily basis.

Jonathon Turnbull, a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Cambridge, realised it might be worth collecting these people’s stories.

“If I wanted to know the dogs,” he says, “I needed to go to the people who know them best – and that was the guards.”

What he discovered is a heart-warming story of the guards’ relationship with the animals they encounter in this abandoned environment – a tale that provides insights into the deep bond between humans and dogs.

The guards sometimes go to the trouble of helping the dogs by pulling out ticks embedded in their skin, or by giving them rabies injections

For instance, the guards have given several of the dogs nicknames. According to Turnbull, there’s Alpha, whose name refers to a type of radiation, and Tarzan, a dog well-known to Chernobyl tourists, who can do tricks on command and who lives near the famous Duga radar installation built by the Soviets. Then there is Sausage – a short, fat dog that likes to warm herself in the winter by lying on heating pipes. These pipes serve one of the buildings used by workers in the Exclusion Zone who are part of ongoing efforts to decommission and decontaminate the ruined power plant.

Access to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone requires a permit, so guards are tasked with controlling checkpoints on roads in and out of the area. People who dodge these checkpoints to trespass in the Exclusion Zone are known as “stalkers”. Guards report them to the police.

When Turnbull, who lives in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, started making regular visits to the zone, he met Bogdan, and other checkpoint guards. They were reluctant to talk at first so he had to win them over. Then he offered them to chance to take part in his research, which he says was a “turning point”. His idea was to give the guards disposable cameras and ask them to take pictures of the dogs – not posed portraits but scenes of everyday life. The guards only had one other request – “please, please – bring food for the dogs”. So Turnbull did.

The photos taken by the guards revealed how much they had developed companionships with the wandering dogs of the Exclusion Zone.

Turnbull published some of the resulting images and material from interviews with the guards in a paper in December. More recently, he interviewed one of the study participants again on behalf of BBC Future. The guard in question has asked not to be identified to avoid disciplinary action at work, so we refer to him here by the pseudonym “Bogdan”.

When Bogdan walks around the abandoned streets of the zone to check for stalkers, the dogs happily accompany him, he says. They always appear eager to see whether he, or a passing tourist, might be carrying food. Should a companion dog get distracted or run off to chase an animal, it always eventually returns to Bogdan, he adds.

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The loyalty goes both ways. Turnbull says the guards sometimes go to the trouble of helping the dogs by pulling out ticks embedded in their skin, or by giving them rabies injections.

Wolves, dogs and other animals could in theory carry radioactive contamination, or genetic mutations potentially passed on by breeding, to places outside the Exclusion Zone

Monitoring who comes and goes from the Exclusion Zone sometimes makes for a dull occupation. But there are always dogs nearby.

At some checkpoints, the guards have more or less adopted some of the animals. They feed them and give them shelter. But not all are so tame. During his research, one guard told Turnbull, “We can’t inject Arka because she bites.”

Another participant spoke of one dog that was even more difficult to approach. It refuses to be touched at all. “You should just give her a pan [of food] and go. She waits until you leave and then she eats,” the guard explained.

The dogs sometimes bark at strangers on first sight, that’s their nature, says Bogdan. But so long as they don’t feel threatened, they sometimes calm down and wag their tails. Occasionally it even seems as though they’re smiling, he adds.

Generally, visitors to Chernobyl are advised not to touch the dogs, for fear that the animals may be carrying radioactive dust. It’s impossible to know where the dogs roam and some parts of the Exclusion Zone are more contaminated than others.

There is wildlife living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone besides dogs. In 2016, Sarah Webster, a US government wildlife biologist who was working at the University of Georgia at the time, and colleagues published a paper in which they revealed how mammals, from wolves to boars and red foxes, had colonised the Exclusion Zone. Camera trap data showed that the animals’ numbers were not noticeably lower in those areas where radioactive contamination is higher.

Animals living in the Exclusion Zone are not necessarily confined there. A later studyby Webster and colleagues, published in 2018, detailed the movements of a wolf tagged with a GPS device. It travelled 369km (229 miles) from its home range in the zone, taking a long arc to the south-east, then north-east again, eventually entering Russia.

Wolves, dogs and other animals could in theory carry radioactive contamination, or genetic mutations potentially passed on by breeding, to places outside the Exclusion Zone.

“We know it’s happening but we don’t understand the extent or the magnitude,” says Webster.

Turnbull says the guards do not generally worry about radiation, though they might occasionally use dosimeters to check a dog over.

It actually seems as though the dogs, through the companionship they offer, end up reassuring those who interact with them regularly, says Greger Larson, an archaeologist who studies animal domestication at the University of Oxford and who was not involved in Turnbull’s research.

“They’re kind of putting themselves in the shoes of the dogs,” he suggests, referring to the guards. “If the dog is fine, that means you’re fine.”

But in truth, this may only be a false sense of security.

“It’s an uncanny environment,” notes Turnbull. “You can’t see the danger. You’re constantly aware that it might be there but everything looks normal.”

Despite the fact that the dogs could pose a risk in terms of radioactivity, guards like Bogdan instead emphasise the benefits of having them around. For example, he claims to know dogs that bark in noticeably different ways depending on what they have spotted in the distance – a human stranger, a vehicle, a wild animal. Because of these helpful warning signals, Bogdan thinks of the dogs as “assistants”.

What’s happening in the Exclusion Zone is an echo of interactions with dogs that are known to have occurred within human civilisations for thousands of years, says Larson.

“We find this for the last 15,000 years or more, this is what people do, they make very close associations with not just dogs but a lot of domestic animals […] to sort of say, ‘this is our attachment to the landscape’,” he explains.

All over the world, there are dogs that inhabit a similar, in-between state – not quite fully domesticated, not quite fully wild. These are the feral dogs that roam cities and industrial areas looking for food, the ones that may become to some extent adopted by people but still wouldn’t be considered pets.

Chernobyl’s dogs also live in this sort of space, on the edge of domestication, but there is a difference argues Webster, who has participated in a separate study of Turnbull’s in the past.

“The Exclusion Zone is very different in that it’s abandoned by humans,” she says. “The only people in that landscape on a day-to-day basis, really, are the guards.” As such, the dogs’ opportunities for befriending humans are very limited.

While the outside world remains fascinated by the dogs, and their story, for many guards the connection runs much deeper. Bogdan says he is often asked why the dogs ought to be allowed to stay in the Exclusion Zone. “They give us joy,” he replies. “For me personally, this is a kind of symbol of the continuation of life in this radioactive, post-apocalyptic world.”

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What is so fascinating is that this interaction between the dogs and the people is an echo of the first interaction between hunter/gatherers and wolves of, perhaps, 25,000 years ago or more. And the guards of today and the dogs, whom Larson calls his assistants, are perfectly bonded.

It just goes to show that ‘what goes around comes around’!

Yet another dog food advisory

This came out yesterday and is republished below.

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Dear Fellow Dog Lover,

Zuke’s has asked pet food retailers to remove some of its most popular dog treats from retail stores due to “a potential quality issue”.

For full details, please visit the following link: Popular Dog Treats Removed from Retail Stores

Best Dog Food for May 2021


The Dog Food Advisor has recently updated the following best dog food pages:

  • Best Dry Dog Foods
  • Best Puppy Foods
  • Best Large Breed Puppy Foods
  • Best Dog Foods for Small Dogs
  • Best Dog Food for Allergies
  • Best Grain-Free Dog Foods
  • Best Dog Foods Made with Grain
  • Best Budget-Friendly Dog Foods
  • Best Dog Food for Shih Tzus, Labs and 8 Other Breeds
  • Best Senior Dog Foods

See our Best Dog Foods for May 2021 

Please be sure to share this news with other dog and cat owners. 

Mike Sagman, Editor
The Dog Food AdvisorSaving Good Dogs From Bad Dog Food

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Hope it finds some people who needed to be informed!

This is very sweet!

There is something about a baby!

I must admit to leaving preparing a post until late in the day. I was going to leave it blank but then decided that this was such a sweet story that it had to be shared with you all!

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Dog Loves Listening To Her Baby Brother In Mom’s Belly

She won’t stop wagging her tail ❤️️

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Published on the 16th April, 2021

Avon has always been a very hyper dog, but recently she’s gotten a little calmer — and that’s because she suddenly realized that her mom is pregnant. 

“I think she first noticed I was pregnant when I was around 14 [to] 15 weeks because she would normally jump around so much, but she started being more gentle,” Shea Haugen, Avon’s mom, told The Dodo. 

SHEA HAUGEN

Now, Avon loves to rest her head on her Mom’s belly — because she loves listening to her baby brother moving around inside. 

“She definitely lays her head down to listen to him and she gets really excited when he kicks,” Haugen said. “Typically that’s when her tail starts wagging uncontrollably.”

The dog who used to be so hyper and moving around all the time could now lay with her head on mom’s belly and listen to her baby brother forever, and that’s what true love looks like. Avon can’t wait to meet the newest member of her family, and her mom has a feeling he can’t wait to meet her, too. 

“Funny enough, my baby boy seems to like [giving] her a good kick whenever she lays her head on my tummy,” Haugen said. 

Very soon, Avon is going to be a big sister. In the meantime, she’ll keep following Mom around and laying her head on her belly, proving to everyone what an incredible big sister she’s going to be.

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There’s no question at all that the bond between dogs and humans is so, so special.

I’m sorry but I have to dash now!

A Dog’s Tail

Wonderful video sent across by my son, Alex!

We were out much of the day yesterday so I didn’t have huge time for the blog.

But nevertheless I could let the day go by without sharing this video with you.

Yes, it is an advertising video but so what. It is the most delightful combination of mountain biking and dogs. Alex is a great mountain biking enthusiast.

Here it is!