Category: Communication

Our incredible dogs!

Serendipity hard at work!

Why that sub-heading?

Simply because yesterday Anita from Anitashope blog left the following comment:

This article popped up after I responded to todays post but I also have to respond to this one as I need to tell you about Mimi. Mimi is my coon hound black lab mix and she will NOT make eye contact with you when a treat is involved. She will come sit by you and look off in the distance like “I am not looking at you”, then she will cut her eyes sideways just to make sure the treat is still there. Its hilarious.

The post where her comment was left was one that I published back on March 13th, 2017. It included the most beautiful photograph of Oliver’s eyes. I had forgotten that picture.

So for that reason alone, it is being republished today.

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The love and admiration for this beautiful animal goes on and on!

It seems as though it is almost on a weekly basis that new and incredible facts about our dear, dear dogs come to the surface.

So what prompted this from me today!

Only a wonderful article that was originally published in New Scientist but then was carried by The Smithsonian. I am hoping that by fully linking this post to both the New Scientist article and the essay in The Smithsonian I am at liberty to republish it for all you good people.

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Dogs Use Deception to Get Treats, Study Shows

When a human partner withheld tasty snacks, the dogs got sneaky

Would these eyes deceive you? New study says yes. (johan63/iStock)

By Brigit Katz     smithsonian.com
March 10, 2017
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that dogs, in addition to looking adorable in sweaters, possess fairly sophisticated cognitive abilities. They recognize emotion, for example, and respond negatively to antisocial behavior between humans. Man’s best friend can also get pretty tricksy when it comes to scoring snacks. As Brian Owens reports for New Scientist, a recent study found that dogs are capable of using deceptive tactics to get their favorite treats.

The study, published in the journal Animal Cognition, was led by Marianne Heberlein of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zürich. Heberlein told Owens that the idea for the study was born when she observed her pet pooches engaging in deceptive behavior; one sometimes pretends to see something interesting outside, prompting the other to give up his sleeping spot.

To find out if dogs engage in similar shenanigans with humans, Heberlein and a team of researchers paired 27 dogs with two different partners, Stanley Coren explains in Psychology Today. One of these partners would repeatedly go to the bowl of a given dog, fish out a treat, and give it to the pup. The other would show the treat to the dog, and then put it in her pocket. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the dogs began to show a preference for the more generous partners, and would approach them spontaneously.

Once one partner had been established as co-operative, the other as competitive, the dogs were taught to lead their partners to one of two boxes, both containing food, with the command “Show me the food.” And the same pattern was repeated: when the dogs led the co-operative partner to a treat, they got to eat it. The competitive partner withheld the treat.

Researchers then showed the dogs three covered boxes. One contained a sausage, the second contained a less-yummy dry biscuit, and the third was empty. Once again, the process of treat giving and withholding was repeated, but this time with a twist: when the dog was reunited with its owner, the owner asked it to choose one of the boxes. If there was a treat inside the box, the dog was allowed to eat it. But “if the dog chose the box which had been opened before,” Coren explains, “the owner just showed the empty box to the dog.”

Over the course of a two-day testing period, the dogs were repeatedly presented with this conundrum. They had been trained to lead both partners to boxes containing food, but they knew that the competitive partner would not let them eat the snacks. They also knew that if any snacks remained inside the boxes once they were reunited with their owners, they would get a chance to eat them. So the dogs got a little devious.

Researchers observed the pooches leading the co-operative partner to the box containing the sausage more often than expected by chance. They led the competitive partner to the sausage less often than expected by chance. And here’s where things get really interesting: the dogs took the competitive partner to the empty box more frequently than the co-operative partner, suggesting that they were working through their options and engaging in deliberate deception to maximize their chances of getting both treats.

“It is as though the dog is thinking, ‘Why should I tell that selfish person where the best treat [is] if it means that I will never get it?’,” writes Coren.

“These results show that dogs distinguished between the co-operative and the competitive partner,” the authors of the study write, “and indicate the flexibility of dogs to adjust their behaviour and that they are able to use tactical deception.”

Rest assured, dog lovers: your pooches may be sneaky, but they still love you more than cats.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dogs-use-deception-get-treats-study-shows-180962492/#5r1vc6gkyLQoIQaL.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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The article from Brigit opened up with a picture of a pair of eyes; a pair of dog’s eyes.

I don’t know about you but some dogs have eyes that reach out and seem to illuminate one’s soul.

Our Oliver has just that set of eyes. I will close today’s post with a photograph of Oliver’s eyes that was taken yesterday afternoon.

Talk about the power of non-verbal communication!

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I will never, ever get tired of looking at the face of such a gorgeous, loving dog as our dearest Oliver. Never; Ever!

The eyes of our dogs!

Science confirms what we instinctively understand!

That the way a dog looks deep into our eyes is more than emotional froth!

Follower of this blog, Anita, left a comment to yesterday’s post. This is what she wrote (my emphasis):

This has been a wonderful compilation of awesome photos. You must do it again sometime. Dogs are so wonderful and such great companions. They do have eyes that see straight through our very souls and ready to love us at the drop of a hat.

One of our dogs here at home, Oliver, has those eyes. When he stares into my own eyes it feels as though at some mystical level Oliver and I are connected.

Young Oliver and those eyes! (Taken 1st March, 2018.)

So imagine my surprise when reading yesterday the lead essay in The Smithsonian about the evolution of the domesticated dog and me coming across this:

The relationship has become so close that even our brains are in sync. Witness a study showing that dogs hijack the human brain’s maternal bonding system. When humans and dogs gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes, each of their brains secretes oxytocin, a hormone linked to maternal bonding and trust.

In other words, science confirms what I experience as being real!! (Undoubtedly shared by many of you!)

I have pleasure in republishing the full article.

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How Accurate Is Alpha’s Theory of Dog Domestication?

The ‘boy and his dog’ tale is a piece of prehistoric fiction, but scientists are uncovering the true origins of our incredible relationship with dogs.

smithsonian.com

Long ago, before your four-legged best friend learned to fetch tennis balls or watch football from the couch, his ancestors were purely wild animals in competition—sometimes violent—with our own. So how did this relationship change? How did dogs go from being our bitter rivals to our snuggly, fluffy pooch pals?

The new drama Alpha answers that question with a Hollywood “tail” of the very first human/dog partnership.

Europe is a cold and dangerous place 20,000 years ago when the film’s hero, a young hunter named Keda, is injured and left for dead. Fighting to survive, he forgoes killing an injured wolf and instead befriends the animal, forging an unlikely partnership that—according to the film—launches our long and intimate bond with dogs.

Just how many nuggets of fact might be sprinkled throughout this prehistoric fiction?

We’ll never know the gritty details of how humans and dogs first began to come together. But beyond the theater the true story is slowly taking shape, as scientists explore the real origins of our oldest domestic relationship and learn how both species have changed along canines’ evolutionary journey from wolves to dogs.

When and where were dogs domesticated?

Pugs and poodles may not look the part, but if you trace their lineages far enough back in time all dogs are descended from wolves. Gray wolves and dogs diverged from an extinct wolf species some 15,000 to 40,000 years ago. There’s general scientific agreement on that point, and also with evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare’s characterization of what happened next. ’The domestication of dogs was one of the most extraordinary events in human history,” Hare says.

But controversies abound concerning where a long-feared animal first became our closest domestic partner. Genetic studies have pinpointed everywhere from southern China to Mongolia to Europe.

Scientists cannot agree on the timing, either. Last summer, research reported in Nature Communications pushed likely dates for domestication further back into the past, suggesting that dogs were domesticated just once at least 20,000 but likely closer to 40,000 years ago. Evolutionary ecologist Krishna R. Veeramah, of Stony Brook University, and colleagues sampled DNA from two Neolithic German dog fossils, 7,000 and 4,700 years old respectively. Tracing genetic mutation rates in these genomes yielded the new date estimates.

“We found that our ancient dogs from the same time period were very similar to modern European dogs, including the majority of breed dogs people keep as pets,” explained Dr. Veeramah in a release accompanying the study. This suggests, he adds, “that there was likely only a single domestication event for the dogs observed in the fossil record from the Stone Age and that we also see and live with today.”

End of story? Not even close.

In fact, at least one study has suggested that dogs could have been domesticated more than once. Researchers analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequences from remains of 59 European dogs (aged 3,000 to 14,000 years), and the full genome of a 4,800-year-old dog that was buried beneath the prehistoric mound monument at Newgrange, Ireland.

Comparing these genomes with many wolves and modern dog breeds suggested that dogs were domesticated in Asia, at least 14,000 years ago, and their lineages split some 14,000 to 6,400 years ago into East Asian and Western Eurasian dogs .

But because dog fossils apparently older than these dates have been found in Europe, the authors theorize that wolves may have been domesticated twice, though the European branch didn’t survive to contribute much to today’s dogs. Greger Larson, director of the Wellcome Trust Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network at Oxford University, suggests that the presence of older fossils in both Europe and Asia, and the lack of dogs older than 8,000 years in between those regions, supports such a scenario.

“Our ancient DNA evidence, combined with the archaeological record of early dogs, suggests that we need to reconsider the number of times dogs were domesticated independently. Maybe the reason there hasn’t yet been a consensus about where dogs were domesticated is because everyone has been a little bit right,′ Larson said in a statement accompanying the study.

The many interbreedings of dogs and wolves also muddy the genetic waters, of course. Such events happen to the present day—even when the dogs in question are supposed to be stopping the wolves from eating livestock.

How did dogs become man’s best friend?

Perhaps more intriguing than exactly when or where dogs became domesticated is the question of how. Was it really the result of a solitary hunter befriending an injured wolf? That theory hasn’t enjoyed much scientific support.

One similar theory argues that early humans somehow captured wolf pups, kept them as pets, and gradually domesticated them. This could have happened around the same time as the rise of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. The oldest fossils generally agreed to be domestic dogs date to about 14,000 years, but several disputed fossils more than twice that age may also be dogs or at least their no longer entirely wolf ancestors.

Since more recent genetic studies suggest that the date of domestication occurred far earlier, a different theory has gained the support of many scientists. “Survival of the friendliest” suggests that wolves largely domesticated themselves among hunter-gatherer people.

“That the first domesticated animal was a large carnivore, who would have been a competitor for food—anyone who has spent time with wild wolves would see how unlikely it was that we somehow tamed them in a way that led to domestication,” says Brian Hare, director of the Duke University Canine Cognition Center.

But, Hare notes, the physical changes that appeared in dogs over time, including splotchy coats, curly tails, and floppy ears, follow a pattern of a process known as self-domestication. It’s what happens when the friendliest animals of a species somehow gain an advantage. Friendliness somehow drives these physical changes, which can begin to appear as visible byproducts of this selection in only a few generations.

“Evidence for this comes from another process of domestication, one involving the famous case of domesticated foxes in Russia. This experiment bred foxes who were comfortable getting close to humans, but researchers learned that these comfortable foxes were also good at picking up on human social cues,” explains Laurie Santos, director of the Canine Cognition Center at Yale University. The selection of social foxes also had the unintended consequence of making them look increasingly adorable—like dogs.

Hare adds that most wolves would have been fearful and aggressive towards humans—because that’s the way most wolves behave. But some would have been friendlier, which may have given them access to human hunter-gatherer foodstuffs..

“These wolves would have had an advantage over other wolves, and the strong selection pressure on friendliness had a whole lot of byproducts, like the physical differences we see in dogs,” he says. “This is self-domestication. We did not domesticate dogs. Dogs domesticated themselves.”

A study last year provided some possible genetic support for this theory. Evolutionary biologist Bridgette von Holdt, of Princeton University, and colleagues suggest that hypersocial behavior may have linked our two species and zero in on a few genes that may drive that behavior.

“Generally speaking, dogs display a higher level of motivation than wolves to seek out prolonged interactions with humans. This is the behavior I’m interested in,” she says.

Von Holdt’s research shows that the social dogs she tested have disruption to a genomic region that remains intact in more aloof wolves. Interestingly, in humans genetic variation in the same stretch of DNA causes Williams-Beuren syndrome, a condition characterized by exceptionally trusting and friendly behaviors. Mice also become more social if changes occur to these genes, previous studies have discovered.

The results suggest that random variations to these genes, with others yet unknown, may have played a role in causing some dogs to first cozy up with humans.

“We were able to identify one of the many molecular features that likely shape behavior,” she adds.

How have dogs changed since becoming our best friends?

Though the origins of the dog/human partnership remain unknown, it’s becoming increasingly clear that each species has changed during our long years together. The physical differences between a basset hound and wolf are obvious, but dogs have also changed in ways that are more than skin (or fur) deep.

One recent study shows how by bonding with us and learning to work together with humans, dogs may have actually become worse at working together as a species. Their pack lifestyle and mentality appear to be reduced and is far less prevalent even in wild dogs than it is in wolves.

But, Yale’s Laurie Santos says, dogs may have compensated in other interesting ways. They’ve learned to use humans to solve problems.

“Several researchers have presented dogs and wolves with an impossible problem (e.g., a puzzle box that can’t be opened or a pulling tool that stops working) and have asked how these different species react,” Santos explains. “Researchers have found that wolves try lots of different trial and error tactics to solve the problem— they get at it physically. But at the first sign of trouble, dogs do something different. They look back to their human companion for help. This work hints that dogs may have lost some of their physical problem-solving abilities in favor of more social strategies, ones that rely on the unique sort of cooperation domesticated dogs have with humans. This also matches the work showing that dogs are especially good at using human social cues.”

The relationship has become so close that even our brains are in sync. Witness a study showing that dogs hijack the human brain’s maternal bonding system. When humans and dogs gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes, each of their brains secretes oxytocin, a hormone linked to maternal bonding and trust. Other mammal relationships, including those between mom and child, or between mates, feature oxytocin bonding, but the human/dog example is the only case in which it has been observed at work between two different species.

The intimacy of this relationship means that, by studying dogs, we may also learn much about human cognition.

“Overall, the story of dog cognitive evolution seems to be one about cognitive capacities shaped for a close cooperative relationship with humans,” Santos says. “Because dogs were shaped to pick up on human cues, our lab uses dogs as a comparison group to test what’s unique about human social learning.” For example, a recent Yale study found that while dogs and children react to the same social cues, dogs were actually better at determining which actions were strictly necessary to solve a problem, like retrieving food from a container, and ignoring extraneous “bad advice.” Human kids tended to mimic all of their elders’ actions, suggesting that their learning had a different goal than their canine companions’.

We may never know the exact story of how the first dogs and humans joined forces, but dogs have undoubtedly helped us in countless ways over the years. Still, only now may we be realizing that by studying them, they can help us to better understand ourselves.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-wolves-really-became-dogs-180970014/#UzuFaQFSdpuBPHmO.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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I can do no better than to repeat those last two sentences of the essay by Brian Handwerk:

We may never know the exact story of how the first dogs and humans joined forces, but dogs have undoubtedly helped us in countless ways over the years. Still, only now may we be realizing that by studying them, they can help us to better understand ourselves.

For, boy of boy, do we humans need help when it comes to better understanding ourselves!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Three

The last set of those wonderful Kennel Club photographs.

(As with the previous weeks, words and pictures republished from here.)

Winning Kennel Club images celebrate dogs from all walks of life

  JACQUELINE GULLEDGE   July 17, 2018.

The fifth and final selection of these wonderful photographs and the story behind each one.

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Third Place, I Love Dogs Because…

‘Hide and Seek’ featuring Fenrir, a Border Collie. (Photo: Kirsten van Ravenhorst)

“I am an 18 year old girl from the Netherlands who loves agility, traveling and photography. The dog in the photo is Fenrir, my youngest dog. He is the perfect model, and the reason why I picked up the camera again,” said Kirsten van Ravenhorst. “The camera that I normally use is the Nikon D500, but it needed to be repaired so I used my dad’s D5200 for this photo. This photo was taken in the forest near my house. I went there with my Border Collie Lad Fenrir to test my dad’s new camera.”

Third Place, Man’s Best Friend

‘Home’ featuring Ruby Roo, a Golden Retriever. (Photo: Cheryl Murphy)

“This picture of Ruby was taken whilst she was resting with my friend Chris after playing with her daughter Nellie. My greatest passion is capturing dogs playing and having fun in their natural environment, the camera is a great way of recording what the naked eye would miss,” said Cheryl Murphy.

Third Place, Oldies

‘Resting’ featuring Bentley, a German Shorthaired Pointer. (Photo: Philip Wright)

“This particular photo was taken during an afternoon walk through a local woodland. The ferns were looking wonderful and provided a perfect natural avenue to draw the viewers’ eye in to my subject,” said Philip Wright. “I asked Bentley to lay down and he did so with the most beautiful, almost grave expression. They say that eyes are the windows to the soul, and looking at Bentley here I’d be inclined to agree.”

Third Place, Portrait

‘A Winters Storm’ featuring Hugo, a Pomeranian. (Photo: Michael Sweeney)

“‘I photographed my dog at the window here in my tenement flat in Glasgow using available natural light during a winter’s storm of hailstones, wind and rain,” said Michael Sweeney.

Third Place, Puppies

‘Let’s call it Roly Poly Puppy’ featuring Snickers, a cross breed puppy. (Photo: Robyn Pope)

“In this image, I knew the moment Snickers began rolling around on the blanket that I had to embody his zest for life in a photo that would help him find the perfect playful home. I truly love working with dogs of all backgrounds to capture extraordinary photos worthy of even the most sophisticated pet parents and discerning commercial clientele,” said Robyn Pope. “At home, we have six gentle giants of our own who serve as ambassadors on our 7-acre pet photography property and the ultimate creative muses.”

Third Place, Rescue Dogs and Dog Charities

‘Over the sea of fog’ featuring Dania, a cross breed Portuguese Podengo. (Photo: Christina Roemmelt)

“My name is Christina and I was born in Munich. I moved to a small village next to Innsbruck in Austria together with my husband 11 years ago. After having settled down, we adopted two rescue dogs from Spain, thrown away like garbage, found in a dustbin. It wasn’t possible to literally touch Dania for the first six month. Now we spend all the time together. The dogs accompany us to work and in our leisure time we explore the nature together,” said Christina Roemmelt. “My wish was to fix the special mood of these moments, staying outside, enjoying nature together and acting as a team. For this reason, inspired by my husband, who is a landscape photographer, I got in touch with photography three years ago.”

“On the picture you can see one of these very special moments. We hiked on Keipen on Senja [Norway] last year and stood speechless on top when the nature was bathed in golden light by the midnight sun. Everything was calm and peaceful. The dogs and us were completely on our own. This is one of my absolutely all-time favourite pictures from our trips.”

Third Place, Young Pup Photographer

‘Monty’ featuring Monty, a German Shorthaired Pointer. (Photo: Maisie Mitford)

“I live in the North East of England with my Mum, Dad, Sister Millie and two dogs; Monty & Chester. I have always loved animals and I am constantly entertaining my dogs. I have my own lightweight camera which I carry with me most places and always photographing the dogs,” said Maisie Mitford. “Mum had given me her camera (which is really heavy) and set me a challenge to photograph either Monty or Chester for this competition, Chester wasn’t interested but Monty was willing and keen to please — lots of treats were involved!”

The Kennel Club in the U.K. was founded in 1873 and is the oldest recognized kennel club in the world. The organization is “dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. Besides being a voluntary register for pedigree dogs and crossbreed dogs, we offer dog owners and those working with dogs an unparalleled source of education, experience and advice on puppy buying, dog health, dog training and dog breeding.”

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What an incredibly wonderful set of photographs and, in addition, the wonderful reflections of the photographers themselves.

If you missed the start of these photos then go here.

I shall miss these beautiful photographs and the background stories!

 

Inspiration on offer.

Last-minute update!

Before I go on to today’s post I must share with you what appeared yesterday in our local Grants Pass Courier newspaper. Please see it as a postscript to yesterday’s People post.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Police – page 5A

A tan Acura reportedly sped up, swerved and hit about seven geese, killing some of them, at about 11a.m. Tuesday near Riverside Park. The car was last seen headed north on Seventh Street.

One of the geese survived and was taken away for rescue while others were bagged and taken away for disposal. The front of the vehicle likely has damage.

Now to today’s post as planned!

This takes some beating!

Recently published on Mother Nature Network. It’s a great reminder of the special place we hold in our hearts for our dogs.

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When people and pets at this shelter need inspiration, all they have to do is look up.

‘Sun Spot’ is 20 feet tall and covered in 90,000 stainless steel pet tags.

CHRISTIAN COTRONEO August 14, 2018.

Standing 20-feet tall, ‘Sun Spot’ was unleashed at the Denver Animal Shelter in 2011 by artists Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan. (Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)

While thousands of lost and abandoned pets have come and gone from the gates of the Denver Animal Shelter, there’s one dog that hasn’t budged an inch since arriving in 2011.

And the people who work and volunteer at the city-run shelter wouldn’t have it any other way.

That “dog” — a gleaming 20-foot tall sculpture that looms over the shelter entrance — is a towering inspiration to everyone who sees it.
In fact, the statue dubbed “Sun Spot” can even be seen by passing motorists on Interstate 25, thanks in no small part to the 90,000 steel pet tags that cover its surface.

It all adds up to a bright beacon of hope for all who see it.

A beacon of hope — and a promise to help

‘Sun Spot’ is actually one of three parts to the installation, which includes a massive hanging collar and a riverbank lined with pet tags. (Photo: Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan)

“‘Sun Spot’ is an inspiration to the staff at Denver Animal Protection and to the many visitors who visit the Denver Animal Shelter daily,” explains Alice Nightengale, director of Denver Animal Protection, the city agency that runs the shelter. “Working in animal welfare can be incredibly rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time. We are proud of the work we do for Denver’s animals and for our community, and that keeps us going.”

But while the dog’s head — bent ears and all — is the first thing visitors see at the shelter, there are actually two more equally epic components to the installation.

In the shelter lobby, a massive collar, some 6 feet in diameter, is suspended in the air. And that collar is adorned with an ever-growing collection of tags, etched with the names of adopted dogs.

And the third component? A boulevard of tags along the riverbank running past the shelter. Each of those tags identifies native plants — and also gives them pet names.

The big idea, according to the creators of ‘Sun Spot’, Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan, is to link caring for animals with caring for the environment.

But with all those stainless steel pet tags covering its giant frame — from ear to tail — it’s the dog that draws the biggest crowd.

All those stainless steel tags give ‘Sun Spot’ a particular shine to his coat. (Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr)

The dog gives the impression that it’s chasing the biggest, brightest prize of all: the sun. But LED bulbs also make “Sun Spot” shine at night, exchanging sun for moon — and giving the statue a sense of permanence.

“‘Sun Spot’ is a reminder to all that our organization is a safe haven, a place providing respite for the animals who need care, love and shelter, and a wealth of resources for humans wanting to help them,” Nightengale adds. “Every year, the staff at Denver Animal Protection cares for over 7,000 lost, abandoned and injured pets, and we’ll continue to do so, with ‘Sun Spot’ serving as a ‘north star,’ guiding those animals and people who need us to our doors.”

Indeed, “Sun Spot” is more than just an inspiration to humans; it’s a symbol of hope for the anxious, frightened, heartbroken animals who wash up there.

And like that iconic statue that stands tall in New York Harbor, it offers a world of hope to new arrivals.

Although the Denver Animal Shelter is a municipal shelter, it relies heavily on donations for treating and fostering the thousands of animals that arrive here every year. You can support those efforts by making a donation here, and then see “Sun Spot” come into existence in the video below.

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You all have a very peaceful and, hopefully, a smoke-free weekend.

People!

What a complex lot we are!

(And that’s putting it kindly!)

I wasn’t planning to publish a post for today. But then a recent post from Patrice Ayme spurred me to so do.

Let me explain.

Our nearest town, Grants Pass, has the wonderful Rogue River flowing through it and alongside it there is Riverside Park. To quote:

Riverside Park in Grants Pass was set aside by our founders for the enjoyment of our citizens and guests.

People come from all over to Riverside Park to watch the majestic Rogue River as it courses its’ way through our city.

As you can see it is a popular place for ducks and geese.

Last Tuesday, we had a contractor completing some new guttering for the house. Terry, the owner of TC Gutters, ran out of the coated aluminium he was folding into the correct shape using a rather cute machine!

Terry apologised and said that he would need to run back into Grants Pass to pick up some more of the sheeting.

He returned a little later and I went over to chit-chat with him.

He was unexpectedly downcast.

Terry, is there a problem?

Paul, when I was in town, down at the bottom of 6th Street near the bridge, there was a flock of ducks crossing the road.

Terry paused for quite a while; I stood there next to him with not a clue as to what was coming.

He sighed, and continued: “Instinctively, I slowed down along with a number of other drivers. But what really upset me was the fact that a few drivers were clearly gleefully driving into the ducks and killing them!

It hurt me to hear that; very much so!

Is it too strong for me to regard those drivers who thought it great fun to drive into those ducks as being evil?

A stock photo courtesy Alamy.

What do you think?

Learning about our smaller dogs!

Learning about the way they pee!

We have two smaller dogs in our family, Sweeny and Pedy.

Gorgeous Sweeny!
And equally gorgeous Pedy alongside his mate, Brandy, just visible bottom left.

I am sure many of you have dogs that are smaller then the average dog; whatever that means!

So the article that was published, once again on Mother Nature Network, will strike a chord!

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Why small dogs aim high when they pee?


MARY JO DILONARDO   August 3, 2018.

The phrase ‘aim high’ takes on new meaning when you’re talking about dogs. (Photo: Sukpaiboonwat/Shutterstock)

Take your dog for a walk and you might notice that there’s some urinating involved. The tree. The lamp post. The fire hydrant. This scent marking is a way for your dog to communicate to other canine passers-by.

By sharing and sniffing, dogs are able to get information about sex, reproductive status and the identity of other four-footed visitors who have traveled the same path. Although female dogs do it too, this frequent marking is often done by male pups.

Typically the marking communicates true information about the marker; it’s what researchers refer to as an “honest signal.” When another dog comes along and takes a sniff, the info they get in the message is true.

But new data suggests that in some circumstances, dogs tell little white lies when they lift a leg. Researchers found that little dogs tend to hike high in order to give the impression that they’re bigger than they really are.

Betty McGuire and her team at Cornell University studied this “dishonest signal.” They noticed that smaller dogs tend to urinate more often than larger dogs, and they’re more likely to aim higher when focusing on vertically oriented targets.

In their study published in the Journal of Zoology, they wrote, “Assuming body size is a proxy for competitive ability, small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability.”

Indirect interaction

As anyone who owns a smaller dog knows, size is just a state of mind. (Photo: Little Moon/Shutterstock)

The researchers recorded adult male dogs while they urinated on walks, then calculated the angle of their legs when raised during marking. They compared those calculations to the dogs’ height and mass and measured the height of the urine marks on the dogs’ chosen targets.

“Small males seemed to make an extra effort to raise their leg high—some small males would almost topple over,” McGuire tells New Scientist. “So, we wondered whether small males try to exaggerate their body size by leaving high urine marks.”

As expected, when the dogs lifted a leg at a greater angle, they hit higher on a surface. But they found that small dogs angled the leg proportionately higher than larger dogs, resulting in marking higher than expected for their small stature. The researchers said it’s likely the goal is to deceive other male dogs.

“Direct social interactions with other dogs may be particularly risky for small dogs,” says McGuire.

Because they can’t measure up physically with larger dogs, smaller dogs can establish a virtually larger presence this way.

So they aim high to look big.

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“So they aim high to look big.”

I’m sure there must be a joke somewhere there but can’t find it!!

So closing with another two pics of our little ones.

Pedy

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Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken October, 2016.

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Fifty-Two

The penultimate set of those wonderful Kennel Club photographs.

(As with the previous weeks, words and pictures republished from here.)

 Winning Kennel Club images celebrate dogs from all walks of life

  JACQUELINE GULLEDGE   July 17, 2018.

The fourth selection of these wonderful photographs and the story behind each one.

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Second Place, Portrait

‘Waiting Beauty’ featuring Thalia, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. (Photo: Katarzyna Siminiak)

“This photo was taken during session around Old Market Square in Poznań. I’m still amazed how Thalia was calm and focus despite the city noise,” said Katarzyna Siminiak.

Second Place, Puppies

‘Sticking Together’ featuring Beagle mix puppies. (Photo: Charlie Nunn)

“Since early last year, my partner Raymond Janis and I have had the honour of supporting the Vanderpump Dogs Foundation in Los Angeles by photographing their adoptable dogs. In July 2017, we met these adorable beagle mix puppies,” said Charlie Nunn. “As Raymond tried to wrangle them, something magical happened and I was able to capture a perfect moment of a puppy family sticking together.”

Second Place, Rescue Dogs and Dog Charities

‘Happy Girl Rescued’ featuring Magda, a rescue dog cross breed (Hungarian Vizsla and Labrador Retriever). (Photo: Leslie Plesser)

“This particular image is of my own rescue dog, Magda. She was a bit hesitant and shy when my husband and I came home with our baby, but when the baby went off to nursery school, she would curl up on his rocking chair and roll her fur all over, settling in for a nice nap,” said Leslie Plesser.

Second Place, Young Pup Photographer

‘Dinner?’ featuring Dallas, a Whippet. (Photo: Sienna Millward)

“My name is Sienna Wemyss, I’m 10 years old and I’m from England, UK. When I grow up, I want to be a fashion photographer and designer. I have loved dogs since I first encountered one! There are so many different kinds of dogs and they are all so unique,” said Wemyss. “My dream came true in January this year when I became the proud owner of Dallas, a pedigree Whippet puppy. I was overjoyed!”

“I was relaxing on the sofa one day when Dallas crawled beside me. I put my arms out, expecting him to come and cuddle me. Instead, he gazed at the kitchen dreamily! If he could speak then, I bet he would have said, ‘Dinner?’ He looked very curious, so I grabbed my mum’s phone and captured the moment.”

Third Place, Assistance Dogs and Dog Charities

‘A Veterans Best Friend’ featuring Delta, a White Swiss Shepherd. (Photo: Craig Turner-Bullock)

“I am an ambassador for the Kotuku Foundation for Assistance Animals Aotearoa, who source, train and place dogs with people who have any diagnosed condition that dogs are known to be capable of assisting with. This includes diabetes, head injuries, depression and PTSI and many more,” said Craig Turner-Bullock. “Dion is a veteran who fought, and was injured, at the battle of Baghak in 2012. He experienced PTSI and says that ever since Delta came into his life she has made a huge difference. Dogs assisting veterans are now common around the world, but Delta is the first of her kind here in New Zealand.”

Third Place, Dogs at Play

‘Snowy Shenanigans’ featuring Daffy, Taz, and Wile E., Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. (Photo: Sarah Beeson)

“We had just moved from one of the snowiest cities (Erie, PA) to the middle of nowhere USA (yes, I love you dear Indiana). I didn’t expect much snow, but come on! It was nearly mid-February and not a flake! My boys were used to lots of snow having lived in Erie but Daffy hadn’t a clue,” said Sarah Beeson. “And then, it happened: Old man winter arrived. Shame on him, while I was at work, no less! By the time 5 pm rolled around, I was in our backyard – Frisbee soaring and camera in hand. Meet Daffy, Taz, and Wile E. We LOVE frisbee!”

Third Place, Dogs at Work

‘I’ve got your back’ featuring Nyx, a German Shepherd Dog. (Photo: Ian Squire)

“For me, the title sums up the image perfectly from both sides. This is a young trainee Police Dog undergoing some initial training. Taken on a miserable, damp day, it shows elements of the bond, trust and relationship that is vital for the partnership between Police Dog and handler,” said Ian Squire.

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Just one more Sunday’s worth to come. Don’t know about you but I shall miss these. They are going to be a hard act to follow!

Saturday special!

Natural fractals!

Back in April, Mother Nature Network carried a wonderful item about the amazing fractals that can be found in nature.

Nothing to do with dogs but all to do with loving and caring for our planet!

I am not going to republish the full article with all the wonderful photographs so if the following piques your curiosity then go here to read the full piece.

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14 amazing fractals found in nature

Take a tour through the magical world of natural fractals and discover the joy of simple complexity.

SHEA GUNTHER   April 24, 2013

A chambered nautilus shell is an example of a fractal found in nature. (Photo: Jitze Couperus/flickr)

When you think of fractals, you might think of Grateful Dead posters and T-shirts, all pulsating with rainbow colors and swirling similarity. Fractals, first named by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975, are special mathematical sets of numbers that display similarity through the full range of scale — i.e., they look the same no matter how big or how small they are. Another characteristic of fractals is that they exhibit great complexity driven by simplicity — some of the most complicated and beautiful fractals can be created with an equation populated with just a handful of terms. (More on that later.)

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

One of the things that attracted me to fractals is their ubiquity in nature. The laws that govern the creation of fractals seem to be found throughout the natural world. Pineapples grow according to fractal laws and ice crystals form in fractal shapes, the same ones that show up in river deltas and the veins of your body. It’s often been said that Mother Nature is a hell of a good designer, and fractals can be thought of as the design principles she follows when putting things together. Fractals are hyper-efficient and allow plants to maximize their exposure to sunlight and cardiovascular systems to most efficiently transport oxygen to all parts of the body. Fractals are beautiful wherever they pop up, so there’s plenty of examples to share.

Here are 14 amazing fractals found in nature:

(Photo: Rum Bucolic Ape/flickr)

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To view the other 13 fractals then go across to here.

Aren’t they beautiful! Or, to pick up on a sentence in the article: “It’s often been said that Mother Nature is a hell of a good designer,”

Not only a good designer but the provider of life as we know it!

Protecting your dog from dog flu.

Ensuring we are all fully aware of this terrible disease for dogs.

Back in January, 2016 I republished this article when it appeared on Mother Nature News that same month.

But it deserves a re-run. Firstly because there are many more dog lovers reading this blog since then (THANK YOU, EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU) and because the MNN editor has left the following note at the end of this update version: “Editor’s note: This file has been updated since it was originally published in January 2016.”

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What you need to know about dog flu

This highly contagious illness can spread like wildfire. Here’s how to keep your dog safe.

JENN SAVEDGE August 3, 2018.

Most dogs in the U.S. don’t have the immunity to fight off the Asian-based dog flu. (Photo: Lindsay Helms/Shutterstock)

As animal experts around the country amplify their warnings about dog flu outbreaks, pet owners are scrambling to understand the illness and learn how they can protect their pets. The virus has been circulating in the U.S. since 2015, infecting thousands of dogs throughout much of the country. So far in 2018, dog flu has hit every state except Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska and North Dakota.

Here’s what you need to know about this potentially deadly disease.
What is the dog flu?

Dog flu — or canine influenza — is an infection caused by one of two virus strains: H3N2 and H3N8. Of the two, H3N2 is more commonly seen in pets in the U.S. It is thought that the strain came from Asia, possibly originating as an avian flu that was transferred to a dog.

Dog flu symptoms

Like the flu that affects humans, the symptoms of the dog flu hit the respiratory system causing coughing, a runny nose, watery eyes and a sore throat. It’s also usually accompanied by a high fever and loss of appetite. But unlike with humans, your dog won’t be able to tell you how bad she is feeling, and you may not notice the symptoms right away. Animal experts say to watch your dog for changes in behavior. If your normally hyper dog seems lethargic or if your pup who is usually enthusiastic about eating starts skipping meals, it’s time to take a closer look.

Dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs are more likely to be exposed to the virus. (Photo: Dalibor Sosna/Shutterstock)

How does the dog flu spread?

The dog flu virus spreads just like the human flu virus does — through bodily fluids that are released into the air via a sneeze or cough or by touching objects or surfaces that have been contaminated. The dog flu virus can live in the environment for two days.

Dogs that spend a lot of time around other dogs — in dog parks, kennels, shelters, groomers or veterinary clinics — are the most likely to contract the illness.

What to do if your dog gets the flu

Older dogs, younger dogs and dogs that are already sick are the most vulnerable when it comes to the dog flu, not because of the virus itself, but because these dogs are the most likely to develop complications, like pneumonia, that could be fatal. If you think your dog may have the flu, it’s important to check in with your vet to make sure he isn’t getting any worse.

At home, you can keep track of your dog’s temperature by placing a thermometer under her armpit, or for a more accurate reading, in her backside. According to the American Kennel Club the normal range for a dog’s temperature should be between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.)

Keep the fluids going as much as possible and try to entice your pooch to keep eating. Check with your vet about foods that may prompt him to eat without giving him a stomachache.

More than anything, give your pet plenty of time for R&R. Give her a week or so off from running, walking and other forms of exercise and just let her rest and sleep as much as she needs. Just make sure that she is still drinking, eating a little, and relieving herself.

How you can keep your dog from getting the flu?

The best way to minimize your dog’s risk of getting the flu is to keep her away from other dogs. If you spend time with other dogs, be sure to wash your hands and even change your clothes before interacting with your own dog. While humans can’t contract canine influenza, we can carry the virus on our hands and clothing for up to 24 hours after handling an infected dog.

You could also talk to your vet about a dog flu vaccine, although there is some question about its effectiveness as the vaccine for H3N8 may not offer protection from H3N2 and vice versa.

A potential pandemic?

A 2018 study showed that the influenza virus can jump across species from pigs into dogs, and that influenza is becoming increasingly diverse in canines. The result could someday be a dog-inspired pandemic.

There’s no evidence of any sort of transmission between humans and dogs, but if left unchecked, researchers believe that could one day become a possibility.

“The majority of pandemics have been associated with pigs as an intermediate host between avian viruses and human hosts. In this study, we identified influenza viruses jumping from pigs into dogs,” said researcher Adolfo García-Sastre, Ph.D. of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York in a statement.

For a dog virus-related pandemic to occur, it would have to be transmissible from dogs to people and it would have to be easily spread.

“If there is a lot of immunity against these viruses, they will represent less of a risk, but we now have one more host in which influenza virus is starting to have a diverse genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, creating diversity in a host which is in very close contact to humans,” said García-Sastre. “The diversity in dogs has increased so much now that the type of combinations of viruses that can be created in dogs represent potential risk for a virus to jump to a dog into a human.”

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Our dogs mean so, so much to us. Let us doing everything possible to keep them out of harm!

Raw Dog and Cat Food recall

This was received yesterday afternoon regarding G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

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G and C Raw Dog and Cat Food Recall

August 3, 2018 — G & C Raw of Versailles, OH is recalling 30 1–pound containers of Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food and 40 2-pound containers of Ground Lamb Dog Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

About Listeria Infections

Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in animals eating the products.

Furthermore, there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, aches, fever, and diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes infections can also spread through the bloodstream to the nervous system (including the brain), resulting in meningitis and other potentially fatal problems.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infection, which can result in abortion.

The young, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems also are more vulnerable.

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

Pets with Listeria monocytogenes infections are rare, and pets may display symptoms such as mild to severe diarrhea, anorexia, fever, nervous, muscular and respiratory signs, abortion, depression, shock, and death.

In addition to the possibility of becoming sick, such infected animals can shed Listeria monocytogenes through their feces onto their coats and into the home environment and thus serve as sources of infection to humans and other animals in the household.

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

Where Was the Product Sold?

Pat’s Cat Turkey and Ground Lamb Dog Food products were distributed in OH, MI, IN, PAN, KY, NC, and GA.

They were also distributed by direct delivery by G & C Raw, LLC.

What’s Being Recalled?

The Pat’s Cat Turkey is sold in 1-pound clear plastic containers with the Lot number WWPKTF051618.

The Ground Lamb product is sold in a 2-pound plastic container with the Lot number MFF022718.

The Lot number codes are listed on the bottom right corner of the label.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

About the Recall

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by the Ohio Department of Agriculture which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria

The company has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the company continues its investigation as to what caused the problem.

What to Do?

Consumers who have purchased Pat’s Cat Turkey Cat Food with the lot number, WWPKTF051618, OR Ground Lamb Dog Food with the lot number MFF022718 are urged to return it to G & C Raw, 225 N. West Street, Versailles, OH, for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact: G & C Raw, LLC at 937-827-0010 ET, or by email at gcrawdogfood@yahoo.com.

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

Or go to http://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.

Get Dog Food Recall Alerts by Email

Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s emergency recall notification system.

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Sincerely hope that no-one out there has a dog or cat that has eaten this potentially suspect food.