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.
Smart Dog Sneaks Away From Home To Surprise Her Mom At Work
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
“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).
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Overall I find this a very useful article and I am grateful to The Dodo for allowing me to republish it.
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 island’s 2020 population was estimated at 3,000. In the 2011 census, the usual resident population was 2,800. In 2001, it was 2,667. (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; 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.
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.
To round off these wonderful photographs, here are two of an otter. They are notoriously difficult to photograph.
What a wonderful journey for Alex and Lisa. The camera was a Panasonic Lumix G85 with Leica 100-400 lens.
Again, Jess and Cheryl sent me this YouTube link. It has the subtitles coming up because I won’t subscribe to whatever service is being promoted. But it doesn’t detract from the pleasure of this video.
Well here we are in October! No reason why it is so but sensation wise when one gets into the senior years time seems to go faster. Wonder if it is the same for our four-legged friends.
A recent post courtesy of The Dodo spoke of this, in a roundabout way.
Dog Walker Finds A Mysterious Box With A Heartwarming Message On It
“I thought it was an incredible gesture.”
By Lily Feinn, Published on the 16th September, 2021.
Last week, Kayley Drewitt was walking a dog in Ely Country Park when she stumbled across a cardboard box in the grass. Drewitt runs The Animal Ark Pet Services and spends a lot of time outside with her clients’ dogs — but she’d never seen anything like this in the park before.
“I was curious at first,” Drewitt told The Dodo. “Once we had approached it and I read the message written on the side of it, I couldn’t believe it. I had never seen anything like that before.”
“I thought it was an incredible gesture,” she added. “Something really heartwarming.”
Written in Sharpie on the side of the box was a message reading: “I am too old to play with my favorite tennis balls now. But it would make me very happy to know that some younger doggies would have fun with them. Love from Jarvis.”
The dog Drewitt was walking didn’t need to read the message to know exactly what to do. He stuck his nose in the box and pulled out a ball.
“We played fetch for quite a while [and] he tried out lots of different balls,” Drewitt said.
Drewitt was so touched by the sweet gesture that she snapped a few pictures of the box of donated balls and posted them on social media. “I wanted to thank [Jarvis’ owner] and make other dog owners aware of this lovely idea,” Drewitt said.
Her social media post quickly gained attention, and Jarvis’ mom reached out to let Drewitt know how happy seeing other dogs playing with the balls made her feel.
Jarvis, a cocker spaniel, is nearly 11 and has severe arthritis. He can’t play like he used to, but his mom knew he’d want someone to enjoy his beloved tennis balls.
Jarvis may no longer be able to chase balls, but the senior pup still loves to socialize and will get a special surprise on his next trip to the park.
“We have agreed to meet up for a dog walk sometime soon,” Drewitt said, “so Jarvis can meet some of the younger dogs now benefiting from all the balls he’s gifted.”
Time after time people do wonderful things connected to dogs. Dogs are so perfect and the phrase unconditional love really does have meaning when it comes to our dogs.
Now that’s not to say that people who do not have dogs don’t do wonderful things. But it is my guess that dogs help bring out the best in humans.
I have been trying to tidy up my office these last few days and came across a tribute that I wrote for Pharaoh in 2007. I flew out to California in June, 2007 and stayed with Dan Gomez and, quite by chance, Suzanne, Dan’s sister, called by and invited me to stay with her and her husband, Don, in Mexico. I flew from Los Angeles to Hermosillo on the 14th December, 2007. That was where Jean and I met for the first time!
June 3rd, 2003 – June 19th, 2017
I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead very busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone. It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.
Look down at me now. While you sit at your computer. See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.
You smile at me. I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of your time? That is all I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.
So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on. Sometimes we die young and, oh, so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes. Still the love is always there even when we must take that last long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.
I may not be here tomorrow. I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes that humans have when grief fills their souls and you will mourn the loss of just one more day with me. Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me. I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.
We have now together. So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? Do you see how if you look deeply at me as we talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come not to me as my owner but as a living soul. Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.
I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go. Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general. I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me. I know how hard you have worked to help me be the teacher that I was born to be. That gift from you has been very precious to me. I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you, and to always be there for you. I am very different to you but here I am. I am a dog but just as alive as you.
I feel emotion. I feel physical senses. I can revel in the differences of our spirits and souls. I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.
So come and sit with me. Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes. Look deep into me eyes and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow but do have now.
(Written on the 14th September, 2007 to reflect the special relationship that I have with me and my 4-year-old German Shepherd.)
I first got Pharaoh as a puppy from a breeder. When he was sufficiently old to start training I learnt that he was a beta dog. Let me explain. In a dog pack there are three dogs with status. The first is always a female and she is the pack leader, or alpha dog. The alpha has first pick of the male dogs as a mate. The second-in-command is the beta dog and is always a male. The beta dog is to keep control and break up fights and squabbles. The third dog, either gender, is the omega dog or the clown dog and its role is to keep the pack happy.
The training was suitably modified and Pharaoh quickly became a perfect friend to me.
So you can see that the above tribute to Pharaoh makes more sense. Especially as on the 20th December, 2006, the 50th anniversary of my father’s death, when I had turned 12 on November 8th 1956, my then wife walked out on me.
Pharaoh was a huge comfort to me at that time. I wasn’t to know then that on the 14th December, nearly a year later, I was to meet the woman of my life. Then in 2008 I flew out to Mexico with Pharaoh to start the most beautiful relationship I have ever had. Pharaoh died in June, 2017.
I still miss him badly. But that, dear folks, is life!