Devoted exclusively to the work of Sue Dreamwalker
Sue earlier on in the week brought my attention to this page on her blog: Pastel Drawings. Sue said that I could republish them. I am flattered. In fact, there are sixteen of these beautiful drawings and I intend to publish eight of them today and the remaining eight in Picture Parade Three Hundred and Twenty-Two.
They are so beautiful.
Thank you, Sue, for giving me permission to republish them. Needless to say full copyright is vested in Sue Morton and them being republished in this place does not give authority for them to be republished elsewhere.
Last month, on a chilly winter day in Nova Scotia, Canada, Bryan Thompson had a chance encounter he won’t soon forget.
While walking through a local park, Thompson saw this: a stranger making his way through the snow, pulling a cart containing the most precious cargo.
Inside, bundled up against the cold, was a cozy white pup.
Speaking to the stranger, Thompson came to learn that the dog has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a spinal cord disorder which can lead to paralysis in dogs. Because of that, she’s unable to get around on her own — but that hasn’t stopped the pair from still taking walks.
The dedicated dog owner crafted the cart to ensure it never does.
In a post online, Thompson described his reaction to that scene.
“I told him he was a great person for doing that, because I know there are many who wouldn’t. He just said that she would do the same for him,” Thompson wrote. “It’s hard to type this without tearing up.”
Afterward, the stranger and his happy dog continued on their way — slipping out of sight, but not out of mind.
Thompson’s account of that touching encounter has since gone viral, inspiring countless others with an example of true love at its finest.
This stranger, who is not named, is just a miraculous person. Plus a caring and loving man. It’s no surprise that the encounter, as described above, has gone viral.
The first of the New Year but I suspect if will be far from the last.
Dear Fellow Dog Lover,
I’m pleased to report there have been no dog food recalls issued since September 26, 2019.
Euthanasia Drug Discovered in Adulterated Animal Fat
The FDA recently discovered an animal euthanasia drug (pentobarbital) in test samples collected at a major supplier of animal fat to the pet food industry.
We’re unable to locate any information about which pet food brands may have purchased the affected ingredient.
For this reason, we recommend all dog and cat owners remain alert to the potential for future recalls related to this news.
Click here to read the official FDA Warning Letter sent to the producer.
Dog Food Recall Update
Some pet foods previously recalled may still be on store shelves… or in your own home. So, if you’ve missed any of the 11 recalls we’ve sent since July… be sure to visit our Dog Food Recalls page for full details.
10 Best Dog Food Lists Recently Updated
Over the last 90 days, The Dog Food Advisor has updated the following best dog food pages:
To be honest there are times when I struggle to come up with something original in terms of blogging. And it is at these times of life that I am very grateful for the offer of a guest post. Take Bryony for example. This is not the first time that I have presented her work but I am forever grateful for her so doing.
This is her article on scent dogs.
The making of a scent dog.
By Bryony Ravate, January 2nd, 2020
If you’ve been lucky enough to be around dogs, you will have probably noticed how their noses are always moving. By possessing a nose up to 15x times more sensitive than our own, with 600,00 neurones, they can sniff out different components in every room. When you’re cooking a meal, you will be able to recognise the smell of a dish. But when your dog smells the meal, he can smell each individual spice and seasoning, the oils, the crockery and even any water.
You can use your dogs’ keen sense of smell for play – laying out different scents for them to explore. But their noses can also be used for working environments– such as in airports, with the police and in search and rescue missions. They can track down suitcases hiding illegal substances, follow the suspect of a crime and sniff out the victims of a snowstorm. To become scent dogs, the canines go through vigorous training. However, although all dogs have an exceptional sense of smell, not all dogs make it through training.
It makes sense to analyse what leads to success and failure in scent dog training. So, a keen researcher at University College Cork, Ireland performed a literature review in which factors behind success and failure in scent dog training were analysed. A literature review is the process whereby you search a database full of information (usually research articles published in reputable journals) and you extrapolate the information to create your own source. Here, I’m going to pull together some of the points I found the most interesting, points you may not think would affect the making of a scent dog.
Dogs with strong motivation to play or search, dogs which were bold rather than shy, and dogs which can adapt and cope with stressful stimuli are more likely to become scent dogs. High motivation to play or search, makes a dog easier to train. Play can be used as a reward, by allowing the dog to pull on a chew toy after being successful in a trial. Finding scents may be perceived as a game to the dog, increasing his motivation to engage. Bold dogs are less unnerved by new surroundings and situations. A nervous dog may be hesitant about pursuing an unknown scent – but a bold dog will take little hesitation. Adaptable dogs may be able to apply their knowledge to different situations and they will be unphased by commotions and will keep working when faced with distractions.
Dogs that live in enriched environments throughout their training have increased ability in trials. Like children, the more opportunities you offer your dogs to learn, explore and interact with their environment, the more it allows them to develop and grow. Dogs should feel secure in their home environment when not working; keeping them with other dogs and in bright rooms without using loud cleaning equipment (such as hoovers) will make them less anxious, leading to better accuracy in scent trials.
The Human Partner
Dogs emotions are often intertwined with their handlers. When a dog’s owner gets angry, the stress hormones in the dog increase as a result. If a dog handler is happy, the dogs will perform better. The bond between dogs and their handlers can affect the accuracy of scent trials. If the dog lives at the owners’ home when he’s not working, obedience and accuracy are increased. Although the bond between scent dog and handler is important, they must be independent thinkers. When faced with a problem- solving task, they must be able to manipulate the environment themselves to find a solution, rather than looking at their handler for cues about the answer.
These are some factors which can alter the likelihood of a dog being a successful, as reviewed by Camille A Trosi and her team. What we must keep in mind is that all dogs are individuals. We cannot use this information to ensure all dogs in the future will pass scent dog training. However, we can use this knowledge to give potential scent dogs the best possible start to life; providing enrichment, an affectionate bond with their handler, and a suitable home environment. Canine personalities are not always determined by genetics, and a suitable environment can give a dog a metaphorical push in the right direction to ensure he is the best he can be, whether that be as a scent dog, a guide dog or even a lap dog.
Original Source : Troisi, C. A., Mills, D. S., Wilkinson, A. and Zulch, H. E. 2019. Behavioral and Cognitive Factors That Affect the Success of Scent Detection Dogs. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 14, pp. 51-76. doi: 10.3819/ccbr.2019.140007
Now what I haven’t done before but intend to do straightaway is to reproduce an extract from Bryony’s CV.
I currently hold a Pass with Distinction in MSc Animal Behaviour and Welfare from Queen’s University Belfast. I also have a BSc in Animal Behaviour and Welfare from Plymouth University. As well as holding two degrees relevant to the field, I currently have 2+ years of work experience. I possess the core attributes required when pursuing a career in the scientific industry; dedication, independence and initiative. I am highly passionate and believe that with my unique skillset I can have a valuable impact in the field of Science Communication.
Plus Bryony has her own blog, BrynsteinScience, and is also on Instagram, of the same name.
We wish Bryony much success in her work life and in her caring and interest for animals in general and dogs in particular!
There is an extensive article on Wikipedia in the UK on scent dog and the link to that article is here.
Finally to close with this wonderful photograph of a scent dog.
A wolf’s eyes have the power to speak a great language. Did you know that wolves possess certain ocular characteristics that allow them to communicate with other members of their species using their eyes alone? One can guess that this gives a new meaning to the common phrase “puppy-dog eyes!”
A woman who cares for sick and disabled pooches from around the world has been dubbed a “miracle worker” after getting many of them back on their feet again.
Claire-Louise Nixon, 48, is a dog lover and shares her modest home with 27 canines that no one else wants.
Many of them are street dogs that have been abused or have lost limbs from mines and explosives in former war zones. But regardless of what conditions the dogs arrive in, Claire is determined to get them walking again through intense physio sessions and walks on wheels.
Her motley crew of dogs all live in her four-bedroom, semi-detached house in Milton Keynes with her husband, Gary, 50 and daughter, Rhia-Louise, 22. While Claire’s initial plan is usually to find forever homes for the dogs, quite often, their needs are too complex, with some even having to wear nappies.
She said: “When I get these dogs who are in such a bad way, the vet would say: ‘Claire, you won’t get them walking again.’
“But now they say nothing is impossible! They say we work miracles with them!
“I think all they need is love, kindness and patience. When they walk into my house they see other dogs like them so they don’t feel any different that’s why I think they do so well here.
“If you give them a reason to walk again then they will.”
Claire, who looks after the brood of canines—seven of which are paralyzed—says it’s a full-time job and takes her from 6 a.m. until midnight. Feeding them alone is a mammoth chore involving 15 kilograms (approx. 33 pounds) of biscuits and a complete crate of dog food every single day.
Eight of the dogs have to wear nappies, with little bodysuits to keep them in place, and they all need daily baths to keep them clean and infection-free. There’s a lot of cleaning up involved, and Claire is constantly trying to keep on top of the housework.
Claire’s passion to care for sick dogs all started 12 years ago when a puppy named Thomas Cook, who was only a few days old, was brought to the vets to be put down. The puppy had a hair lip and cleft palate, which prevented him from suckling milk and feeding, but Claire was determined to save him.
Claire painstakingly hand-reared Thomas Cook by feeding him a bottle every few hours, and from there, it escalated to having 27 disabled and sick dogs.
She said: “It went into having paralyzed dogs and dogs that had their legs blown off in Bosnia and dogs that had been shot and still had bullets inside them.”
All of Claire’s dogs are named after celebrities that she feels describe their personalities.
Sir Elton John, who Nixon named because of the song “I’m still standing,” was rescued from Romania after he was run over and left on the road to die. This left him with a broken spine. However, with Claire’s help, he can now go on small walks.
Sherlock Holmes, who was rightly named for his intelligence and curiosity, was a street dog in Oman who was shot by a security guard.
The other dogs to name a few are Patrick Swayze, who twitches all the time and was previously paralyzed, Freddie Mercury, who wanted to “break free,” and David Bowie, who was “under pressure.”
Claire said: “They’re part of the family. The dogs have a free run of the house.
“They sit where they want and they sleep wherever they happen to fall asleep—often on our beds.
“The dogs arrive with the most horrible past we give them love and [a] wonderful future. They come from all over the world but with me they are home forever.”
She further added: “I’m really lucky in that all the neighbors have dogs themselves so we don’t get complaints. And although 27 dogs sounds a lot, they are really quite well behaved.”
Claire raises funds through her organization, Wheels to Paws UK, to provide them with medical treatment, rehabilitation, and the equipment they need to walk again. Vets bills can be a huge drain on resources, but local vets are sympathetic to her cause and often offer a discount.
For long walks, the dogs are put in specially made harnesses with wheels to act as false legs so they can enjoy going out for walks. Meanwhile, those that can’t walk are put in buggies.
Other dogs are regularly taken for doggy hydrotherapy, while all those that can walk are taken out for exercise in rotation.
Claire said: “The dog rescue charities abroad all know of me. So if they get a badly injured or disabled dog in need of specialist care they will pay to transport them to me in the UK. I can never say no.”
She further added: “It is tremendous hard work but I can’t tell you how rewarding it is. The love these dogs give back is amazing. I would not be without any single one of them.”
There are some people around who do so much more than can be expected and Claire is very much one of those people.
To be impressed with her is only just the half of it.
Thank you Margaret for bringing this wonderful story to all our attentions.
But all dog owners know that the odds of anxiety or depression if you have a dog or two around one are greatly reduced.
I’m chairing a discussion on depression at our local Humanists and Freethinkers group in eighteen days time; on January 18th, 2020. The core of my talk is a TED Talk given journalist Johann Hari in July of 2019.
This is how the talk is introduced.
In a moving talk, journalist Johann Hari shares fresh insights on the causes of depression and anxiety from experts around the world — as well as some exciting emerging solutions. “If you’re depressed or anxious, you’re not weak and you’re not crazy — you’re a human being with unmet needs,” Hari says.
There are sufficient numbers of people who follow this blog that it is likely that this talk will really engage a few of you. It’s twenty minutes long and very interesting!
Dogs use a part of their brain for processing numbers. But more than that, dogs use a similar brain region to process numbers as we humans do.
I found that fascinating.
This was one the results of reading a very interesting article published by The Smithsonian magazine earlier on in December.
Let me share it with you.
Dogs’ Brains Naturally Process Numbers, Just Like Ours
Scientists stuck 11 dogs in fMRI scanners to see if their brains had a knack for quantity
Katherine J. Wu, smithsonianmag.com
Dec. 19, 2019,
Sit. Stay. Fetch. Count?
Sort of. A team of scientists has found that dogs naturally process numbers in a similar brain region as humans, reports Virginia Morell for Science. While that doesn’t mean mutts can do math, it seems they have an innate sense of quantity, and may take notice when you put fewer treats in their bowl, according to a study published this week in Biology Letters.
Importantly, while other research has delved into similar stunts that scientists coaxed out of canines by rewarding them with treats, the new study suggests a knack for numbers is present in even untrained dogs—and could have deep evolutionary roots. This supports the idea that the ways in which animals process quantity in their brains may be “ancient and widespread among species,” Michael Beran, a psychologist at Georgia State University who wasn’t involved in the research, tells Morell.
To test pooches’ numerical prowess, a team led by Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University, scanned the brains of 11 dogs of different breeds as they gazed at screens serially flashing different numbers of variably-sized dots. As the images flipped rapidly past, the researchers looked for activity in a region of the canine brain called the parietotemporal cortex, analogous to humans’ parietal cortex, which is known to help people rapidly process numbers. In humans, this region lights up on a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner when numbers start to vary—a sign that cells are working hard to puzzle through the difference.
Something similar seems to apply to canines, the team found. When dogs hopped into the scanner, most of their parietotemporal cortices showed more activity when the numbers of dots flashed onto the screen changed (for instance, three small dots followed by ten big dots) than when they stayed the same (four small dots followed by four large dots).
The behavior wasn’t universal: 3 out of the researchers’ 11 test subjects failed to discern the difference. But it’s not surprising that the rest did, Krista Macpherson, a canine cognition researcher at Western University in Canada who wasn’t involved in the study, tells Morell.
Of course, approximating quantities of dots isn’t the same as solving complex mathematical equations, as our brains are equipped to do. But both behaviors stem from an inherent sense for numbers—something that appears to span the 80-million-year evolutionary gap between dogs and humans, the findings suggest.
Understanding how that basic ability might evolve into “higher” mathematical skills is a clear next step, study author Lauren Aulet, a psychologist at Emory University, says in a statement. Until then, we humans can count on the fact that we have plenty in common with our canine companions.
An inherent sense for numbers. Wow!
This is yet another aspect of the relationship we have with our pooches that is deeper and closer than I imagined, and I’m sure I don’t only speak for myself.