Of dogs and girls! From UnSplash.
Perfect photographs. We are so, so lucky to have dogs in our lives! (Yes, I know I have said this before but so what!)
Author: Paul Handover
Of dogs and girls! From UnSplash.
Perfect photographs. We are so, so lucky to have dogs in our lives! (Yes, I know I have said this before but so what!)
It was published late last year but so what!
This story from the Dodo caught my eye. Don’t know why because the articles about dogs being rescued are not rare! But anyway, whatever the reason it seemed a good article to share with you all today.
By Ashley Ortiz, Published on the 23rd December, 2022
The first time Donna Lochmann searched a crumbling, abandoned apartment building in St. Louis, Missouri, she couldn’t find who she was looking for. A Good Samaritan called Stray Rescue of St. Louis (SRSL) to report a dog sighting, but Lochmann, the shelter’s chief life saving officer, came out empty-handed.
“We searched every floor and never saw anything,” Lochmann told The Dodo. “There was not one dog, nothing.”
With temperatures dropping and more calls coming in about a dog barking from inside the building, Lochmann decided to go back again and keep searching. This time, she found someone.
“When I got to the backside of the building, I saw a dog lying in the grass,” Lochmann said. “I saw her run towards the back of the building and she went in, so I followed her.”
Unfortunately, by the time Lochmann made it inside the building, the dog had already disappeared into one of the many empty apartments. She couldn’t find the pup on her own, so Lochmann went back to the shelter and recruited the help of other staff members.
Lochmann and her team went back to the building the next day, and as they went from room to room searching for the scared pup, they suddenly heard barking coming from inside.
“I got over there and there was a poor dog just lying in the rubble of this building,” Lochmann said. “She was absolutely trembling, her legs were shaking so hard.”
The weather was cold that day, but Lochmann knew that the dog’s shaking was caused by fear more so than lack of warmth.
“I felt so bad for her,” Lochmann said. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen one shaking that hard, and it’s just gut-wrenching to see them so scared of you.”
To get the dog out of the building, Lochmann decided to use a plastic crate instead of attempting to walk her out on a leash. Not only would it be physically difficult to lead the pup out of the crumbling building on a leash, but Lochmann feared it would stress her out even more.
So Lochmann used the leash she had to guide the dog into the plastic crate, then quickly closed the door behind her.
“Once she was in the crate, she was calm,” Lochmann said.
Lochmann and her team carried the crate out of the building, then gently loaded it into her Jeep. They brought her back to the shelter, where she underwent a medical evaluation. Luckily for the pup, she passed with flying colors.
The dog, whom Lochmann named Habenero, was OK physically, but she was still a little nervous when she first got to the shelter.
“She was still pretty scared at first,” Lochmann said. “But she came around fairly quickly. Within a few days, she wasn’t growling anymore and she stopped shaking when we would talk to her.”
Habanero has since been spending time with Lochmann and her crew at the shelter, slowly getting used to her surroundings. Together, they go on walks around the neighborhoods surrounding the shelter and enjoy plenty of snuggles throughout the day.
Now that Habanero is feeling more comfortable, Lochmann believes that she’s finally ready to go into a foster home. It’ll be yet another change for the 7-year-old pup, but Lochmann is confident that she’ll thrive.
“Once she gets into a home, she’s gonna have a bit of adjustment to do,” Lochmann said. “But she’ll do great. I’m just glad she’s not trembling anymore.”
All images by STRAY RESCUE OF ST. LOUIS with whom copyright rests.
The thing about dogs is the way that we, as in humans, bond so well with the majority of dogs, and that the majority of dogs bond so well with us.
I was just saying this to Jeannie yesterday morning when Oliver jumped up on to the three-seat settee, admittedly onto his special cushion, next to me and proceeded to snooze with his head on my thigh. Dogs are the perfect companions and they are incredibly conscious of the states of mind of their loving humans.
Talk about looking up at the starry night!
I am sure that many of you have seen the latest images but still for those that have not…
First the BBC presented a report on the 25th December, 2022. This is part of what they described:
James Webb telescope: Amazing images show the Universe as never before
By Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent
It was the $10bn gift to the world. A machine that would show us our place in the Universe.
The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) was launched exactly a year ago, on Christmas Day. It had taken three decades to plan, design and build.
Many wondered whether this successor to the famed Hubble Space Telescope could actually live up to expectations.
We had to wait a few months while its epic 6.5m primary mirror was unpacked and focused, and its other systems tested and calibrated.
The first thing you have to remember about James Webb is that it is an infrared telescope. It sees the sky at wavelengths of light that are beyond what our eyes are able to discern.
Astronomers use its different cameras to explore regions of the cosmos, such as these great towers of gas and dust. The Pillars were a favourite target of Hubble. It would take you several years travelling at the speed of light to traverse this entire scene.
Now we go to the NASA site for more of the JWST:
The dawn of a new era in astronomy has begun as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a partnership with ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency). The telescope’s first full-color images and spectroscopic data were released during a televised broadcast at 10:30 a.m. EDT (14:30 UTC) on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. These listed targets below represent the first wave of full-color scientific images and spectra the observatory has gathered, and the official beginning of Webb’s general science operations. They were selected by an international committee of representatives from NASA, ESA, CSA, and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has produced the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. Known as Webb’s First Deep Field, this image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 is overflowing with detail.
Thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared – have appeared in Webb’s view for the first time. This slice of the vast universe covers a patch of sky approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length by someone on the ground.
This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.
Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, is best known for being prominently featured in the holiday classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Today, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephan’s Quintet in a new light. This enormous mosaic is Webb’s largest image to date, covering about one-fifth of the Moon’s diameter. It contains over 150 million pixels and is constructed from almost 1,000 separate image files. The information from Webb provides new insights into how galactic interactions may have driven galaxy evolution in the early universe.
With its powerful, infrared vision and extremely high spatial resolution, Webb shows never-before-seen details in this galaxy group. Sparkling clusters of millions of young stars and starburst regions of fresh star birth grace the image. Sweeping tails of gas, dust and stars are being pulled from several of the galaxies due to gravitational interactions. Most dramatically, Webb captures huge shock waves as one of the galaxies, NGC 7318B, smashes through the cluster.
Some stars save the best for last.
The dimmer star at the center of this scene has been sending out rings of gas and dust for thousands of years in all directions, and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has revealed for the first time that this star is cloaked in dust.
Two cameras aboard Webb captured the latest image of this planetary nebula, cataloged as NGC 3132, and known informally as the Southern Ring Nebula. It is approximately 2,500 light-years away.
Webb will allow astronomers to dig into many more specifics about planetary nebulae like this one – clouds of gas and dust expelled by dying stars. Understanding which molecules are present, and where they lie throughout the shells of gas and dust will help researchers refine their knowledge of these objects.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured the distinct signature of water, along with evidence for clouds and haze, in the atmosphere surrounding a hot, puffy gas giant planet orbiting a distant Sun-like star.
The observation, which reveals the presence of specific gas molecules based on tiny decreases in the brightness of precise colors of light, is the most detailed of its kind to date, demonstrating Webb’s unprecedented ability to analyze atmospheres hundreds of light-years away.
While the Hubble Space Telescope has analyzed numerous exoplanet atmospheres over the past two decades, as in capturing the first clear detection of water in 2013, Webb’s immediate and more detailed observation marks a giant leap forward in the quest to characterize potentially habitable planets beyond Earth.
Just a few of the very special photographs. They are remarkable!
December’s issue of the Science magazine had an article in which there was a paragraph that described:
The first data and images beamed back to Earth by JWST suggest it was all worthwhile. They are “beautiful” and ‘mind-blowing,” according to astronomers who have spoken with Science. It was like putting on infrared glasses, one said, and seeing the universe anew.The GOLDEN EYE, by Daniel Clery
Imagine that just, say, 25 years ago these images and this mission would have been science fiction and now it is a reality.
I will leave you with a quotation from that SCIENCE magazine (16th December): “Politicians and pundits often make up whatever suits their political goals about science, but scientists recognize how little we understand about the Universe. As Kennedy said, “The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.“”
Welcome everyone to the New Year!
All these photographs are glorious. of course, and the copyright stays with the individual photographers who submitted their shots to Unsplash. You may not copy them from here.
Finally, let me again wish all of you a Very Happy New Year and many more besides.
A Christmas theme.
Back to Unsplash.
Wishing everyone a very happy holiday and the very best for the New Year.
Dear good people, I am taking a small break from blogging and will be back with you on the 1st January, 2023; in other words in a week’s time.
It goes back much further than the Christian church.
Jean and I are atheists and have been all our lives. Therefore we tend to take more notice of the Winter solstice (that is today as the day that I am preparing this post) rather than Christmas Day and our sense that it is a product of Jesus Christ being born on the 25th; or so I thought!
But the tradition of a Christmas tree in particular goes much further back, as this article from The Conversation sets out.
Why, every Christmas, do so many people endure the mess of dried pine needles, the risk of a fire hazard and impossibly tangled strings of lights?
Strapping a fir tree to the hood of my car and worrying about the strength of the twine, I sometimes wonder if I should just buy an artificial tree and do away with all the hassle. Then my inner historian scolds me – I have to remind myself that I’m taking part in one of the world’s oldest religious traditions. To give up the tree would be to give up a ritual that predates Christmas itself.
The solstices, when the Sun is at its highest and lowest points in the sky, were major events. The winter solstice, when the sky is its darkest, has been a notable day of celebration in agrarian societies throughout human history. The Persian Shab-e Yalda, Dongzhi in China and the North American Hopi Soyal all independently mark the occasion.
The favored décor for ancient winter solstices? Evergreen plants.
Whether as palm branches gathered in Egypt in the celebration of Ra or wreaths for the Roman feast of Saturnalia, evergreens have long served as symbols of the perseverance of life during the bleakness of winter, and the promise of the Sun’s return.
Christmas came much later. The date was not fixed on liturgical calendars until centuries after Jesus’ birth, and the English word Christmas – an abbreviation of “Christ’s Mass” – would not appear until over 1,000 years after the original event.
While Dec. 25 was ostensibly a Christian holiday, many Europeans simply carried over traditions from winter solstice celebrations, which were notoriously raucous affairs. For example, the 12 days of Christmas commemorated in the popular carol actually originated in ancient Germanic Yule celebrations.
The continued use of evergreens, most notably the Christmas tree, is the most visible remnant of those ancient solstice celebrations. Although Ernst Anschütz’s well-known 1824 carol dedicated to the tree is translated into English as “O Christmas Tree,” the title of the original German tune is simply “Tannenbaum,” meaning fir tree. There is no reference to Christmas in the carol, which Anschütz based on a much older Silesian folk love song. In keeping with old solstice celebrations, the song praises the tree’s faithful hardiness during the dark and cold winter.
Sixteenth-century German Protestants, eager to remove the iconography and relics of the Roman Catholic Church, gave the Christmas tree a huge boost when they used it to replace Nativity scenes. The religious reformer Martin Luther supposedly adopted the practice and added candles.
But a century later, the English Puritans frowned upon the disorderly holiday for lacking biblical legitimacy. They banned it in the 1650s, with soldiers patrolling London’s streets looking for anyone daring to celebrate the day. Puritan colonists in Massachusetts did the same, fining “whosoever shall be found observing Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way.”
German immigration to the American colonies ensured that the practice of trees would take root in the New World. Benjamin Franklin estimated that at least one-third of Pennsylvania’s white population was German before the American Revolution.
Yet, the German tradition of the Christmas tree blossomed in the United States largely due to Britain’s German royal lineage.
Since 1701, English kings had been forbidden from becoming or marrying Catholics. Germany, which was made up of a patchwork of kingdoms, had eligible Protestant princes and princesses to spare. Many British royals privately maintained the familiar custom of a Christmas tree, but Queen Victoria – who had a German mother as well as a German grandmother on her father’s side – made the practice public and fashionable.
Victoria’s style of rule both reflected and shaped the outwardly stern, family-centered morality that dominated middle-class life during the era. In the 1840s, Christmas became the target of reformers like novelist Charles Dickens, who sought to transform the raucous celebrations of the largely sidelined holiday into a family day in which the people of the rapidly industrialized nation could relax, rejoice and give thanks.
His 1843 novella, “A Christmas Carol,” in which the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge found redemption by embracing Dickens’ prescriptions for the holiday, was a hit with the public. While the evergreen décor is evident in the hand-colored illustrations Dickens specially commissioned for the book, there are no Christmas trees in those pictures.
Victoria added the fir tree to family celebrations five years later. Although Christmas trees had been part of private royal celebrations for decades, an 1848 issue of the London Illustrated News depicted Victoria with her German husband and children decorating one as a family at Windsor Castle.
The cultural impact was almost instantaneous. Christmas trees started appearing in homes throughout England, its colonies and the rest of the English-speaking world. Dickens followed with his short story “A Christmas Tree” two years later.
During this period, America’s middle classes generally embraced all things Victorian, from architecture to moral reform societies.
Sarah Hale, the author most famous for her children’s poem “Mary had a Little Lamb,” used her position as editor of the best-selling magazine Godey’s Ladies Book to advance a reformist agenda that included the abolition of slavery and the creation of holidays that promoted pious family values. The adoption of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863 was perhaps her most lasting achievement.
It is closely followed by the Christmas tree.
While trees sporadically adorned the homes of German immigrants in the U.S., it became a mainstream middle-class practice when, in 1850, Godey’s published an engraving of Victoria and her Christmas tree. A supporter of Dickens and the movement to reinvent Christmas, Hale helped to popularize the family Christmas tree across the pond.
Only in 1870 did the United States recognize Christmas as a federal holiday.
The practice of erecting public Christmas trees emerged in the U.S. in the 20th century. In 1923, the first one appeared on the White House’s South Lawn. During the Great Depression, famous sites such as New York’s Rockefeller Center began erecting increasingly larger trees.
As both American and British cultures extended their influence around the world, Christmas trees started to appear in communal spaces even in countries that are not predominately Christian. Shopping districts in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and Tokyo now regularly erect trees.
The modern Christmas tree is a universal symbol that carries meanings both religious and secular. Adorned with lights, they promote hope and offer brightness in literally the darkest time of year for half of the world.
In that sense, the modern Christmas tree has come full circle.
So not a doggie post for today but nevertheless one that I hope will be of interest.
The next post will be a Picture Parade this coming Sunday: December 25th!
They can be toxic!
This is a timely warning that feeding our dogs and cats nibbles from the plate or worse can be life-threatening.
During the holidays, it’s typical for people to indulge in special foods. Being a pet owner myself, I know that many pet parents want to give their fur babies special treats as well.
Here are some of the most common food-related crises we veterinarians encounter in the animal ER during the holidays, and what to do if they happen.
Turkey with gravy is probably among the most popular holiday meals. And most dogs or cats would certainly agree with their humans that roast turkey is delicious.
However, the fat contained in turkey skin – and the excess of fatty, greasy foods that can accompany it, such as gravy, butter and bacon – don’t go down well with cats and dogs. Pets that ingest an overload of fats may develop pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, the organ that helps break down fat, protein and carbs.
Pancreatitis causes the pancreas to leak digestive enzymes and ultimately “digest” itself. If untreated, pancreatitis can affect other organ systems such as the kidneys and the liver and even cause blood clotting.
The most common symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and diarrhea. Pets that may have pancreatitis should be rushed to the closest veterinary hospital or ER. The vet will perform diagnostic blood tests, including a specific test for pancreatic enzymes called pancreatic lipase immunoreactivity or cPLI/fPLI.
Treatment for pancreatitis mostly involves dealing with its symptoms. The pet receives IV fluids to help establish electrolytes balance, with added anti-nausea and pain medications to stop the vomiting. Antibiotics may be necessary, as well as liver protectants and probiotics, and a special diet.
If only turkey were the sole problem! Many other common holiday ingredients can also harm pets.
Several allium species common to holiday cooking, such as leeks, garlic, onions, chives and shallots, can be healthy for people. For dogs and cats, though, alliums are toxic. If ingested, they can cause hemolytic anemia – a decreased number of red blood cells.
The signs of hemolytic anemia, which normally appear a few days after ingestion, include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and jaundice.
To treat hemolytic anemia in pets, veterinarians do blood tests to determine whether a transfusion is necessary. They address the symptoms of allium intoxication with IV fluids, antioxidants and anti-nausea drugs.
Yeast-risen foods like rolls and breads are also holiday dinner staples that people should keep away from their pets. The yeast in these foods can ferment in a pet’s warm stomach and produce toxic levels of ethanol. In pets, ethanol toxicity may lead to metabolic acidosis, which can cause sudden drop in blood glucose, respiratory depression, seizures and cardiac arrest.
Normally, pet owners do not suspect metabolic acidosis until it is almost too late, because it has few outward symptoms. So if there’s a possibility that a pet has swallowed any type of cooked or raw yeast dough, get it to a veterinary ER right away.
By the way, pets can also experience ethanol toxicity by lapping up cocktails or beer, so keep alcoholic drinks out of their reach as well.
Now, what about a favorite holiday treat – chocolate?
Substances that may actually attract humans to chocolate – methylxanthines like theobromine and caffeine – are toxic to both dogs and cats. When vets provide emergency treatment for chocolate ingestion, we typically hear that children shared their candy with their beloved pet.
Pets that ingest chocolate can develop “chocolate intoxication,” a condition in which methylxanthines accumulate in the body and make them sick. Signs of chocolate intoxication in pets include tremors, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness and even seizures.
Chocolate intoxication in pets is a medical emergency. The pet needs to have its stomach emptied and receive support therapy with IV fluids and activated charcoal. The vet will probably want to know the type and how much chocolate the pet ate, because some kinds of chocolate, such as baking chocolate, can have worse toxic effects.
Chocolate also has a lot of fat, so the cat or dog’s pancreas will not enjoy it either.
How about fruits? Well, there is a fruit very toxic to dogs that often shows up at holiday gatherings: grapes, both fresh and dehydrated into raisins.
If eaten, the tartaric acid in grapes or raisins may cause acute kidney disease. Common signs of acute kidney disease in dogs are vomiting, intermittent diarrhea and increased intake of water.
Acute kidney disease in dogs is a medical emergency. If it is suspected, the pet should be rushed to a veterinary hospital or ER right away. Treatment is typically limited to stabilizing the pet with IV fluids.
While xylitol toxicity is one of the more common emergencies we veterinarians see these days, it’s still largely unknown among pet owners.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener often used in sugar-free products. While safe for humans, for cats and dogs it’s a fast-acting and potentially deadly poison.
Ingesting even the smallest amount of xylitol can cause a pet’s liver to rapidly release insulin, causing hypoglycemia – unusually low blood glucose levels. Within 30 minutes, the pet will experience symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy and seizures and lose coordination of its limbs – called ataxia.
Emergency treatment for a pet with xylitol toxicity involves giving the animal IV fluids containing dextrose to raise its blood glucose level and carefully monitoring its progress.
The bottom line? Several delicious foods that are safe for humans can be very dangerous for pets in general – not just cats and dogs, but also birds, reptiles and pocket pets like mice, hamsters and gerbils. So make the holidays special for furry or feathery babies by giving them treats from the pet food store or veterinarian’s office, and keep them away from the kitchen counter and trash can.
That’s a very important point about Xylitol. So please take notice and have a wonderful holiday for you and for your pets.
Please take care!
Beautiful photographs from Alex!
Last Friday I received an email from my son in which he said: “… bit chilly here -9C (16F) overnight but we heard that some short-eared owls had turned up in a nature reserve near Minehead so have been down there the last few days, here are the pictures.”
He included the many photographs separately as well. If you want to see more then please go here plus I want to credit Alex Handover as the photographer.
Here they are:
I have no doubt that many of you will find these very exciting!
A post from The Dodo.
People who have never had dogs in their lives don’t understand the closeness and intensity of the relationship between dogs and humans. Just recently I posted an article that mentioned how dogs can understand our speech in many ways.
Now comes an article in The Dodo that reinforces the amazing bond between dog and human. Here it is:
By Stephen Messenger, Published on the 17th November, 2022.
Since the time when this sweet German shepherd named Sofie was just a puppy, her and her dad, Austin, have been inseparable.
“She loves him so much,” Ally Ross, Sofie’s mom, told The Dodo.
This year, however, due to life circumstances, Sofie and Austin were forced to spend more than a little time apart.
Ally Ross took all the photographs.
Austin is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces and, earlier in the year, was called up for a six-month deployment. Sadly, that meant his daily routine of love and fun with Sofie had to be put on hold.
It was something Sofie couldn’t quite comprehend.
“After he left, she would still go into our bedroom and look for him,” Ross said.
Fortunately, Austin wouldn’t be gone forever.
Last month, having completed his deployment, Austin could finally return home. Ross decided to record the moment he arrived at the door to surprise Sofie.
The dog’s heart was about to be whole once again.
When the door opened, Sofie could hardly believe her eyes.
(Unfortunately, this link does not play automatically in WordPress but I will leave it there in case anyone else can play it.)
Sofie’s disbelief quickly turned into an explosion of love and excitement. It was an outward expression of what Sofie’s spirit longed to feel each and every day Austin was away.
“Oh, I definitely cried!” Ross said.
Her dad is back. Their family is complete anew.
With Austin’s return, it’s been business as usual again for him and Sofie — and how sweet it is.
“Now that he’s home, they go on runs and adventures together,” Ross said. “Best buds for sure.”
This is a beautiful article at all levels.
Ran out of time!
My Garmin GPS required updating and I had no idea of how long it would take. It was a Garmin for the car and hardly ever used; but an appointment coming up required its use!
So there’s no post for today (apart from this apology).