A republication of an earlier Picture Parade.
Stay Happy Good People!
Returning to the pictures sent in by ‘Captain Bob’.
Life must go on!
I am referring to the smoke and fires in this part of the Western edge of the USA.
For a while it seemed as though evacuation was becoming closer but now, I hope, that we are nearing a change in the weather including some rain later on this week.
So time for another post.
This one about speech processing in the dog’s brain.
The article that I want to republish is in The National Geographic magazine but I do not have permission to reproduce it in full.
Luckily the video that is in the article is also available on YouTube.
So first some extracts of the article.
Dogs understand praise the same way we do. Here’s why that matters.
Dogs can’t speak, but their brains respond to spoken words, suggesting human language has deep evolutionary roots
By VIRGINIA MORELL, Published August 6th, 2020
Every dog owner knows that saying Good dog! in a happy, high-pitched voice will evoke a flurry of joyful tail wagging in their pet.
That made scientists curious: What exactly happens in your dog’s brain when it hears praise, and is it similar to the hierarchical way our own brain processes such acoustic information?
When a person gets a compliment, the more primitive, subcortical auditory regions first reacts to the intonation—the emotional force of spoken words. Next, the brain taps the more recently evolved auditory cortex to figure out the meaning of the words, which is learned.
Then later on the article goes on to say:
“It’s an important question, because dogs are a speechless species, yet they respond correctly to our words,” says Attila Andics, a neuroscientist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary,and co-author of both the previous study and the new one, published this week in the journal Scientific Reports. For instance, some dogs are capable of recognizing thousands of names of individual objects, and can link each name to a specific object.
When the scientists studied scans of the brains of pet dogs, they found that theirs, like ours, process the sounds of spoken words in a hierarchical manner—analyzing first the emotional component with the older region of the brain, the subcortical regions, and then the words’ meaning with the newer part, the cortex. (Read how dogs are more like us than we thought.)
It’s much longer than I have presented so I do urge you to go to the article and read it fully; it’s fascinating.
And to close this post I insert the video that is in the article.
All the best to you!
Yes, you heard that correctly.
There was an article on the website EarthSky News yesterday that, literally, took me out of this world. It described the role of magnetic rivers in newly forming star clusters.
There’s not a dog in sight but nevertheless I wanted to share this article with you.
Astronomers have learned that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. The resulting weakly magnetized gas flow can feed the growth of new stars.
Astronomers have known for decades that stars like our sun form when giant clouds of gas and dust in space – sometimes called molecular clouds – collapse under their own gravity. But how does the material from interstellar space flow into these clouds, and what controls the collapse? The image above helps illustrate an answer to these questions. It’s a composite, made with data from SOFIA – an airborne telescope designed for infrared astronomy – overlaid on an image from the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope. This composite shows that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. And it shows that, when that happens, weakly magnetized gas can flow – as on a conveyor belt – to feed the growth of newly forming star clusters.
A statement from the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany, explained:
A major finding in the last decade has been that extensive networks of filaments permeate every molecular cloud. A picture has emerged that stars like our own sun form preferentially in dense clusters at the intersection of filaments.
Now look back at the image above, which shows the Serpens South star cluster, a star-forming region located some 1,400 light-years from Earth. In that image, you see a dark filament in the lower left. Now notice the “stripes” on the image, which astronomers call streamlines. They represent magnetic structures, discovered by SOFIA. The astronomers said these magnetic structures act like rivers, channeling material into the great star-forming cloud.
As you can see in the image, these magnetic streamlines have been dragged by gravity to align with the narrow, dark filament on the lower left. Astronomers say this configuration helps material from interstellar space flow into the cloud.
This is different from the upper parts of the image, where the magnetic fields are perpendicular to the filaments; in those regions, the magnetic fields in the cloud are opposing gravity.
The scientists said in a statement from Universities Space Research Association (USRA) that they are:
… studying the dense cloud to learn how magnetic fields, gravity and turbulent gas motions contribute to the creation of stars. Once thought to slow star birth by counteracting gravity, SOFIA’s data reveals magnetic fields may actually be working together with gravity as it pulls the fields into alignment with the filaments, nourishing the birth of stars.
The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy on August 17. The lead author of the new study is Thushara Pillai of Boston University and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.
In 1835, the French philosopher Auguste Comte wrote of the unknowable nature of stars:
On the subject of stars, all investigations which are not ultimately reducible to simple visual observations are … necessarily denied to us. While we can conceive of the possibility of determining their shapes, their sizes, and their motions, we shall never be able by any means to study their chemical composition or their mineralogical structure … Our knowledge concerning their gaseous envelopes is necessarily limited to their existence, size … and refractive power, we shall not at all be able to determine their chemical composition or even their density…
He was, famously, wrong.
He couldn’t have envisioned the range of tools available to modern astronomers. It’s a beautiful thing that, nowadays, astronomers can not only learn about the compositions of stars via their studies of their spectra, but also probe the deeper mysteries, going all the way to the births of these colossal, self-luminous balls in space.
Bottom line: Astronomers have learned that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. The resulting weakly magnetized gas flow can feed the growth of new stars.
Just read that paragraph just before the end of the article: “He couldn’t have envisioned the range of tools available to modern astronomers. It’s a beautiful thing that, nowadays, astronomers can not only learn about the compositions of stars via their studies of their spectra, but also probe the deeper mysteries, going all the way to the births of these colossal, self-luminous balls in space.”
What a long way we have come from just, say, 50 years ago.
It would be easy to get lost in the article in a scientific manner, and that would be entirely appropriate.
But there’s another beautiful way to get lost in the article; by dreaming of outer space and forgetting just for a moment or two this Earthly planet we all live on!
The death of a loved dog!
I am not a great Facebook user, more for the benefit of my blog than anything else.
But I couldn’t help seeing an entry from Kim Spann. This is what she wrote:
Today I lost one of the greatest dogs I’ve ever known. My constant companion, protector and friend. I will miss her always but am blessed to have had her in my life for 8 years.
Well over two hundred people clicked ‘Like’ and when I was writing this post (about 2.30 pm on the 5th) there were 179 comments; all of them wonderful.
I, in turn, offered to write a small tribute, and it now follows.
Dogs are special. Special beyond words.
They have been with us humans for thousands of years. They have played with us. They have stayed by our side. They have rescued us. And much more.
They do not live long enough but even in their death do we share precious times and precious memories.
So … goodbye you darling creature. I love you!
As Kim said: “My constant companion, protector and friend.”
One can never turn off one’s heart to love
There was a story on the Daily Dodo yesterday that just says it all when it comes to us humans and our love for dogs. Now we don’t know the name of the Dad but so what! It’s a wonderful story nonetheless!
By Stephen Messenger, Published on 7/27/2020
Believe it or not, there was once a time when Alice Garrido Gallardo’s dad didn’t want another dog at all — but now he pretty much epitomizes what it means to be a proud pet parent.
He and his pup, named Jean Grey, have the sweetest bedtime routine to prove it.
Jean Grey started out life as a stray and was rescued by Gallardo’s friend. When Gallardo suggested to her dad that they adopt her, he was opposed to the idea at first.
“We had lost our old dog and he didn’t want to have another one anytime soon,” Gallardo told The Dodo. “He was still grieving.”
Gallardo, however, wasn’t deterred. She decided to arrange an introduction between Jean Grey and her dad. And sure enough:
“He fell in love the day I brought her home,” Gallardo said.
As time went on, his love for the dog he didn’t want only grew stronger — and he found the most wonderful way to show it.
“He began to put her to bed every night,” Gallardo said.
Each and every night now, Gallardo’s dad tucks Jean Grey into bed, placing a pillow under her head and toy close by.
“I love to see them, my dad being super loving and affectionate,” Gallardo said. “I love to see them and know that they love each other very much.”
I used the sub-heading: “One can never turn off one’s heart to love.”
To give that statement slightly more detail I should have said: “One can never turn off one’s heart to the love of a dog!”
Perhaps a world record.
We all who love dogs find that their lives are too short; by far! So it was incredible to read the other day of a Labrador who on April 24th, 2020 turned 20! The story was on the Golden Hearts website and thank goodness there is permission to share this with you.
Here it is:
At 20 years old, Augie is the oldest golden retriever in history!
There are many accounts of 17 or 18-year-old goldens, and even a few stories about 19-year-old goldens, but Augie is the first golden retriever to ever reach the big two-oh.
In this article, we’ll dive into Augie’s story a little bit more, cover how old golden retrievers normally live to be, and talk about how you can help your golden live a long happy life.
On April 24, 2000, August (affectionately known as Augie) was born.
After being rehomed twice (due to no fault of her own), she eventually landed with Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt of Oakland, Tennessee, and it’s still unclear who the lucky ones are here.
Jennifer and Steve, who were active in their local golden retriever rescue organization when they got Augie, adopted her when she was 14 years old.
They figured that most people wouldn’t want such an elderly golden, but they had no idea of the upcoming journey they would be on with Augie.
They’ve taken her on RV trips all around the country, she’s got several canine and feline siblings, and she gets to play fetch in the pool.
On the other hand, Jennifer and Steve have been rewarded with over six years of love and loyalty from this wonderful (and now record-holding) golden.
The 20-Year-Old Golden Retriever
So how does a 20-year-old golden retriever celebrate her record-setting birthday?
With a dog-friendly carrot cake and some quality time with her golden retriever siblings, Sherman, Belle, and Bruce!
Her owner, Jennifer, says she’s surprisingly healthy.
She can still move around well (although she’s a bit shaky when she first gets up) and enjoys daily walks around the yard.
Since she was diagnosed with some kidney issues when she was 14, she now eats a mixture of wet and dry Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d, and takes some supplements for her kidneys and joints.
She also gets SQ fluids twice a week, which has helped her perk up quite a bit.
How Long Do Golden Retrievers Normally Live?
Augie is a very special girl, and she’s definitely not the norm.
Of course, many goldens live to 13, 14, or 15 years old, and, unfortunately, many live shorter than the average.
Now let’s talk about how to help your golden retriever live to that upper part of the spectrum.
5 Tips For Helping Your Golden Retriever Live A Long Life
Here are some tips to help your golden retriever live a long life like Augie.
1. Listen to your veterinarian.
This is probably the most important tip.
Your vet will know your dog, and have the best recommendations and action plan to keep them healthy.
This includes flea, tick, and heartworm medicines, food and exercise advice, and much more.
2. Listen to your dog.
When Oliver was a puppy, we spent countless hours researching what the best food for golden retriever puppies was.
Well, guess what?
After a few weeks of us feeding him the “best food for golden retriever puppies”, he stopped eating and became more lethargic.
We listened to what he was trying to tell us, we talked with our vet about it, and we decided to switch foods.
Right away he loved the new food, started eating more, and started getting his normal, crazy energy back.
Just because something is popular for many dogs, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be good for your dog, so pay attention to them and how they’re feeling so you can work with your vet to keep them happy and healthy.
3. Feed your dog a quality dog food.
Yes, Walmart brand food may be cheaper at first, but you’ll probably end up paying more in vet bills down the road.
Not to mention, with a quality dog food, your dog will probably be happier and healthier for it.
Talk to your veterinarian, do your research, and feed your pup a quality food.
4. Groom your golden retriever regularly.
Keeping their nails, paws, coat, teeth, and ears clean will keep them looking their best, while also keeping them healthy.
Grooming them regularly can prevent ear infections, gum or teeth issues, or skin issues, which could all snowball into something worse if not taken care of.
5. Exercise your golden retriever regularly.
Even Augie gets regular exercise, and as Jennifer says, “Motion is lotion!” for those old bones.
How You Can Help Senior Golden Retrievers
One thing that amazes me is that Jennifer adopted Augie when she was 14 years old!
Most people don’t want to adopt an older golden retriever, fearing that their time here is limited, but that doesn’t mean these dogs can’t be wonderful companions for you.
Golden retriever puppies are tough, and there are many sweet senior goldens out there like Augie that need good, loving homes, so consider stepping up to the plate and adopting a golden, fostering goldens, or volunteering or donating to your local golden retriever rescue.
Below is a list of golden retriever rescues in every state, but also don’t forget to look at rescues in states nearby if you’re looking to rescue a golden.
Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!
At 20 years old, she’s just about doubled the expected lifespan for golden retrievers and she’s still kicking.
She’s lived so long largely because she’s got great genetics, but also her owner, Jennifer, has done a great job of taking care of her and ensuring that they have a good relationship with Augie’s vet.
As Jennifer says, “We care for them as long as we have them, and love them forever.”
Do you have any questions about Augie, or about golden retriever lifespans?
Let us know in the comments below! (Ed: Please go here.)
And please share this with your fellow golden retriever lovers!
P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our complete guide to golden retrievers.
I can do no more than to repeat the congratulations mentioned above: “Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!”
It is a wonderful achievement!
Independence Day should also apply to our beloved dogs!
This was first published four years ago but I wonder if there has been any real change. So it’s being published again for the 2020 Independence Day.
So today is July 4th. One of the key days of the year in the American calendar, if not the key day.
Freedom and independence are the corner stones of a healthy nation. That ‘nation’ should include our dogs. Ergo, I have no hesitation in republishing the following that first was seen on the Care2 site.
By: Natalia Lima June 28, 2016
The sight is heartbreaking: a sad animal, exposed to the heat or the cold, often without shelter, chained in a backyard. Sometimes all it takes to secure them is a thin rope tied around their collar on one end and a dog house on the other, in others it’s a thick metal chain that keeps the dog from moving away from a tree. Whatever the case, it’s enough to inspire any animal lover to change that dog’s life, but how? The answer is simpler than one would imagine: build a fence.
“Building a fence really changes the relationship between dogs and owners,” explains Michele Coppola, President of Fences for Fido, a nonprofit organization that builds fences in houses that have chained dogs so the dogs can run freely in the backyard. “Many times dogs who were outside 24/7 go on to become a family member, spending time in the house and outside because they’re no longer a location.”
Since 2009, Fences for Fido has been helping dogs in the Southwest Oregon and Washington state areas. People can anonymously nominate a house with a chained dog on their website or people can nominate themselves if they don’t have the means to build their own fence. According to the Coalition to Unchain Dogs, who helped Fences for Fido get started and has been building fences since 2006 in North Carolina, that lack of resources is the most common reason why people keep dogs chained.
“When we first started we thought we would build this fence and solve a problem but we quickly saw the problem is not chained dogs, it’s poverty,” explains Lori Hensley, Director of Operations at Coalition to Unchain Dogs. “No one wants to chain a dog. They just don’t have the means to build a fence.”
Other common reasons are not understanding that dogs are social animals that need to run around, an owner not knowing how to address behavioral problems and trying to keep the dog from running away, says the Humane Society of the United States.
“People chain their dogs for a variety of reasons so we always approach them without judgement because most times we’re not seeing the whole story,” says Coppola adding that those issues are addressed when building a fence for someone to make sure they’re educated on why chaining their dogs shouldn’t be a solution. “Maybe they didn’t have a fence to start with and someone, maybe a family member, dumped a dog with them and they’re keeping it out of the goodness of their hearts but they don’t have a fence. You don’t know.”
Between the two organizations, over 3,400 dogs have been freed from chains but since they only operate locally, they have created resources for people in other parts of the country who want to help. Unchained Planet, a Facebook group of volunteer fence builders, offers advice and tips to anyone looking to start their own fence building organization and a DIY tutorial is also available for free download.
From materials needed to step by step instructions, anyone can start building a fence to help chained dogs in their communities, though to complete novices, the guidance of a seasoned builder or a professional is encouraged.
“If you’re starting out for the very first time, it might be a good idea to pair up with a fence company who may be willing to help and even donate the materials,” suggests Coppola. “Or you want to find somebody who’s done a fence before and can kind of show you how to go about it.”
Photo Credit: ThinkStock
Please, please help these poor dogs in any way that you can.
As old as time itself!
The point at which the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator is the Summer Solstice, well it is for the Northern Hemisphere. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21, depending on your time zone.
Here in Southern Oregon, the moment of the Summer Solstice will be at 2:43 PM or 14:43 PDT on Saturday, i.e. today! For the United Kingdom it will be at 22:43 BST on the same day or 21:43 GMT/UTC.
A quick web ‘look-up’ finds that the word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time, albeit momentarily.
At the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge in Southern England, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect, for many years the Druids have celebrated the Solstice and, undoubtedly, will be doing so again.
There’s a good article over at EarthSky on this year’s Solstice. I would like to quote a little from it:
At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our world’s North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.
All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours.
Where should I look to see signs of the solstice in nature? Everywhere. For all of Earth’s creatures, nothing is so fundamental as the length of the day. After all, the sun is the ultimate source of almost all light and warmth on Earth’s surface.
If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you might notice the early dawns and late sunsets, and the high arc of the sun across the sky each day. You might see how high the sun appears in the sky at local noon. And be sure to look at your noontime shadow. Around the time of the solstice, it’s your shortest noontime shadow of the year.
If you’re a person who’s tuned in to the out-of-doors, you know the peaceful, comforting feeling that accompanies these signs and signals of the year’s longest day.
Is the solstice the first day of summer? No world body has designated an official day to start each new season, and different schools of thought or traditions define the seasons in different ways.
In meteorology, for example, summer begins on June 1. And every schoolchild knows that summer starts when the last school bell of the year rings.
Yet June 21 is perhaps the most widely recognized day upon which summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere and upon which winter begins on the southern half of Earth’s globe. There’s nothing official about it, but it’s such a long-held tradition that we all recognize it to be so.
It has been universal among humans to treasure this time of warmth and light.
For us in the modern world, the solstice is a time to recall the reverence and understanding that early people had for the sky. Some 5,000 years ago, people placed huge stones in a circle on a broad plain in what’s now England and aligned them with the June solstice sunrise.
We may never comprehend the full significance of Stonehenge. But we do know that knowledge of this sort wasn’t limited to just one part of the world. Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands. If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed toward the two pyramids, you’d see the sun set exactly between them.
How does it end up hotter later in the summer, if June has the longest day? People often ask:
If the June solstice brings the longest day, why do we experience the hottest weather in late July and August?
This effect is called the lag of the seasons. It’s the same reason it’s hotter in mid-afternoon than at noontime. Earth just takes a while to warm up after a long winter. Even in June, ice and snow still blanket the ground in some places. The sun has to melt the ice – and warm the oceans – and then we feel the most sweltering summer heat.
Ice and snow have been melting since spring began. Meltwater and rainwater have been percolating down through snow on tops of glaciers.
But the runoff from glaciers isn’t as great now as it’ll be in another month, even though sunlight is striking the northern hemisphere most directly around now.
So wait another month for the hottest weather. It’ll come when the days are already beginning to shorten again, as Earth continues to move in orbit around the sun, bringing us closer to another winter.
And so the cycle continues.
Indeed, so the cycle continues as it has for time immemorial!
Yesterday was a very sad day!
So soon after we welcomed Sheena, Ruby had a severe downturn.
Ruby had had one operation for the removal of a mast cell tumor back in February but we were advised by the vet that almost certainly it would grow back. Late on Saturday Ruby became very tired and went off her food and Jean and I were discussing having to take her to be put down on Monday (today).
Then overnight Saturday it was clear that her breathing was very laboured and on Sunday she was weak and struggling. It was time.
Being a Sunday we had no option other than to go to the Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center, or SOVSC. We called them and they asked a few questions about Ruby and then told us to come straight over. They are at Biddle Road, Central Point and it took us 45 minutes to get there.
A little bit from their website:
Our team includes board certified specialists and highly trained doctors and staff, who have been chosen for their skill and expertise, as well as their compassion and dedication to veterinary medicine.
Then a couple of photographs from us.
Ruby was the last of Jean’s Mexican rescues. She will be sorely missed!
A precious and profound legend.
I follow Colin’s blog Wibble. It ranges across a myriad of thoughts and beliefs and it’s a good follow.
On June 9th, Colin published a post regarding The wolves within, a beautiful legend from the Cherokees. Colin readily and promptly gave me permission to share it with you.
The content isn’t mine, but of course it’s fine by me, Paul. You’re too polite by half! 😀
Here it is.
Posted on June 9, 2020
An old grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice, “Let me tell you a story.
“I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do.
“But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.” He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me. One is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him, and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.
“But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing.
“Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his grandfather’s eyes and asked, “Which one wins, grandfather?”
The grandfather smiled and quietly said, “The one I feed.”
With thanks to White Wolf Pack.
So let all of us feed that wolf!
There are some more legends here!