Category: Education

New ideas about our relationship with dogs.

What a delight to read this latest scientific news.

There’s so much ‘doom and gloom’ to be seen on the news services across the world that a genuine discovery that enlarges the mind is always a treat. Now make that a discovery about our dogs. Better still, let the BBC do it for you.

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How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence

19 July 2017

Dogs most probably evolved from wolves at a single location about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests.

Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart.

Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old.

The ancient canines share ancestry with modern European dogs.

By looking at the rates of change to the DNA from the oldest specimen, scientists were able to place the timing of the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Krishna Veeramah of Stony Brook University in New York is a researcher on the study.

He said the process of dog domestication began when a population of wolves moved to the outskirts of hunter-gatherer camps to scavenge for leftovers.

”Those wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this,” he explained.

“While the humans did not initially gain any kind of benefit from this process, over time they would have developed some kind of symbiotic relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today.”

DNA was obtained from the skull of an ancient dog.

The story of how dogs came to be tamed from wolves is complex and hotly debated.

Scientists believe dogs started moving around the world, perhaps with their human companions, about 20,000 years ago.

By 7,000 years ago, they were pretty much everywhere, although they were not the kind of dogs that we would consider pets.

”They would likely have resembled dogs we today call village dogs, which are free-breeding that did not live in specific people’s houses and have a similar look to them across the world,” said Dr Veeramah.

The dogs were later bred for their skills as hunters, herders or gundogs, eventually creating hundreds of modern breeds.

The research, published in Nature Communications, suggests even the dog breeds and village dogs found in the Americas and Pacific Islands are almost completely derived from recent European dog stock.

This is probably due to prolific dog breeding in Victorian times.

The dog skull inside an ancient burial chamber.

”In this regard, it appears therefore that our 7,000-year, Neolithic-old dog from Europe is virtually an ancestor to most modern breed dogs found throughout the world,” said Dr Veeramah.

”This ancestral relationship may even stretch back to the oldest dog fossil we know of, which is approximately 14,000 years old from Germany.”

Previous evidence suggested that the first domestic dogs appeared on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent more than 12,000 years ago.

Later, the eastern dogs moved with migrating humans and bred with those from the west, according to this theory.

Dr Greger Larson of the University of Oxford said it was great to see more ancient dog genomes being published.

“There is a fascinating story here and we’re only just scraping the surface,” he said.

“The more we get the more we might have a shot at finally unravelling the story of how we became such good friends over such a long time.”

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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Once read, it was but a moment to do a web search for Dr Veeramah and bring up the news of his research on the Stony Brook Newsroom.

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Study Reveals Origin of Modern Dog Has a Single Geographic Origin

Reported in Nature Communications, the finding counters previous research that suggested two domestication events led to the modern dog

Stony Brook, NY; Stony Brook University: Department of Ecology and Evolution Assistant Professor Krishna Veeramah. His research will be published in Nature and his study reveals origin of modern dog has a single geographic origin.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 18, 2017 – By analyzing the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany, an international research team led by Krishna R. Veeramah, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences at Stony Brook University, has determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs. The finding, to be published in Nature Communications, suggests a single domestication event of modern dogs from a population of gray wolves that occurred between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated by humans. The oldest dog fossils that can be clearly distinguished from wolves are from the region of what is now Germany from around 15,000 years ago. However, the archeological record is ambiguous, with claims of ancient domesticated dog bones as far east as Siberia. Recent analysis of genetic data from modern dogs adds to mystery, with some scientists suggesting many areas of Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East as possible origins of dog domestication.

(L to R) Shyamalika Gopalan, PhD Candidate, Dean Bobo, Bioinformatics Scientist, and Krishna Veermah, Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolution. (F) Four-legged friend, Joci

In 2016, research by scientists using emerging paleogenomics techniques proved effective for sequencing the genome of a 5,000-year-old ancient dog from Ireland. The results of the study led the research team to suggest dogs were domesticated not once but twice. The team from Oxford University also hypothesized that an indigenous dog population domesticated in Europe was replaced by incoming migrants domesticated independently in East Asia sometime during the Neolithic era.

“Contrary to the results of this previous analysis, 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. “This suggests that there was no mass Neolithic replacement that occurred on the continent and 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.”

In the paper, titled “Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the Early Neolithic,” Veeramah and colleagues used the older 7,000 year old dog to narrow the timing of dog domestication to the 20,000 to 40,000 years ago range.

They also found evidence of the younger 5,000 year old dog to be a mixture of European dogs and something that resembles current central Asian/Indian dogs. This finding may reflect that people moving into Europe from the Asian Steppes at the beginning of the Bronze Age brought their own dogs with them.

“We also reanalyzed the ancient Irish dog genome alongside our German dog genomes and believe we found a number of technical errors in the previous analysis that likely led those scientists to incorrectly make the conclusion of a dual domestication event,” added Veeramah.

Overall, he emphasized, their new genomic analysis of ancient dogs will help scientists better understand the process of dog evolution, even if the exact geographic origin of domestication remains a mystery. He expects further sequencing of the ancient genomes from Eurasia will help to eventually solve the issue.

The study and findings are a collaboration between scientists at Stony Brook University; the University of Michigan, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Germany; University of Bamberg, Germany; Trinity College, Ireland; and the Department of Monumental Heritage in Germany.

The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.

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 About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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Even better than the University providing the link to the above, it also gave me the good Doctor’s email address. I shall reach out to him and see if there is more that I can share with you!

Protecting our dogs from being stolen!

Can you imagine anything more awful!

I’m not sure if we are out and about with our dogs more frequently in the Summer but one would assume so.

But whatever the season, the number of people that do take their dogs with them when they are out is very significant.

So a recent article published by Care 2 about how thieves do steal dogs seemed timely.

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5 Ways Thieves Could Steal Your Dog

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on January 1, 2013. Enjoy!

Sergeant Kenneth Chambers was playing Frisbee with his dog in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida, grocery store recently when lightning struck out of the clear blue sky. The young American veteran, in recovery for post traumatic stress disorder, rolled down the car windows and placed his Australian Shepard/Blue Heeler Mix inside the vehicle just briefly, while he went inside to help his mother with the bags. When he came out moments later, Adalida was gone.

Unfortunately for Sergeant Chambers, and for Adalida, the parking lot scenario placed them in two of the top five high-risk situations for pet theft. And while Sergeant Chamebers’ search continues for Adalida, there are measures that all of us can take to prevent a similar tragedy.

Here are five of the top high-risk pet theft scenarios to avoid: 

1. Dogs in cars

In the blink of an eye, a partially opened window can be forced down or smashed. It takes 20 seconds or less to abduct a dog, and by the time a pet owner returns to the car, their dog is long gone. The American Kennel Club reports a 70 percent rise in dog theft in 2012 and a 40 percent rise the year before. A weak economy has fueled financially motivated dog-napping — and a dog in a car is, quite simply, a sitting duck.

2. Highly prized breeds or dogs with special abilities

A purebred dog or a dog with special skills is a bit like a gold watch. Thieves see dollar signs, and that’s more than enough temptation. Any dog left unattended can be taken, but there is far greater motivation for criminals to walk off with a dog who can bring in a large sum of cash.

3. Pets left in fenced backyards

Everyone loves the convenience of a doggy door — especially criminals. Homeowners who let their pet explore the fenced yard without supervision maintain the illusion of safety, but police departments across the country will tell you that this isn’t enough.

In broad daylight on a single Saturday in November, Corning Animal Shelter Manager Debbie Eaglebarger documented the theft of four Dobermans, four Australian shepherds and two Rottweilers. One neighbor witnessed a man and a woman lure one of the dogs out of a backyard and into their vehicle. All dogs taken that day were purebred, but that is not always the case.

4. Pets left tied in front of businesses

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but particularly in urban areas where pets accompany their owners on errands, it’s not uncommon to find dogs tied up in front of a bank or grocery store. Typically, these are dogs with a gentle demeanor — and that makes them highly susceptible to the commands of a would-be thief.

“Leaving your dog tied up in front of a store is about as ludicrous as leaving your child out front and saying, ‘Wait right there, I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” explains Howard Simpson of Integrated Security and Communications in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. “Do yourself a favor and realize that there are security risks in even the safest of neighborhoods. Being naive makes you a target.”

5 Strangers in the neighborhood

Any strangers on your property can be a risk to your pets. Whether they are invited contractors, deliverymen or political campaigners, visitors could easily grab a pet during a moment when the homeowner is distracted. In some cases, they are making a mental note of homes with valuable breeds or easy-to-subvert home security that will facilitate a quick dog-napping at a later time. It bears mentioning that it’s not uncommon for cats to jump into the back of truck beds for a snooze and to be unwittingly carried off at the end of the day.

Which breeds are most likely to be stolen?

According to the American Kennel Club, the most stolen dog of 2011 was the Yorkshire terrier, followed by the Pomeranian, Maltese and Boston terrier. Small breeds are targeted by thieves because of their size but also because of their value on the market — a single dog can fetch well over $1,000! Among the large breeds, Labrador retrievers are a frequent target, as well as pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes – perhaps for a much more sinister purpose.

Why do thieves target pets?

1. Bait dogs and laboratory dogs

This is every dog guardian’s worst nightmare. Indeed people involved in dog fighting will gather “bait” dogs to be used as training tools for fighting dogs. It happens in both urban and rural areas, and there has been no measurable decline in dog fighting in recent years. Despite some legislation intended to stop the sale of undocumented dogs to research laboratories, under-the-table sales continue — and, in some countries, these exchanges are not considered a crime.

2. Financially motivated theft

“For the first time ever we’ve seen a trend now where shelters are being broken into and purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen,” said Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. In fact, any purebred dog, particularly puppies, is considered a high-value commodity. Even with a microchip, it’s often too late when a pet buyer discovers that they have purchased a stolen dog.  By then, the thief is long gone.

3. Emotionally driven theft

What’s often overlooked are the emotionally motivated crimes that rob dogs of their families. This can happen because the perpetrator feels that a dog is not being properly cared for. Some animal lovers will feel justified in stealing a dog that is tied in front of a store or who gets  loose one day. Other times it’s an act of revenge, and, in many cases, a former romantic partner is considered the prime suspect.

Whatever the scenario or the motivation, dog guardians can best protect their dogs with watchfulness. Never leave a dog unattended. Secure your home, including all doors and windows, to the best of your ability and budget. And be wary of strangers in your neighborhood at all times.

Brought to you by the Harmony Fund, an international animal rescue charity.

Visiting the Vet – Updates

How this theme is taking shape!

But first, let me offer an update and a correction.

In my first report, published on June 28th, the very first patient for Dr. Jim was Ginger.Here’s an extract from that report:

It was immediately clear to Jim when he listened to Ginger’s heart that it was racing; Jim thought at something like 200 beats per minute. Jim continued to check Ginger over although, as he told me later, he had an idea that Ginger’s medical problem was a cardiac issue. Jim arranged for Ginger to be given an X-ray as well as blood work.

A number of you wanted me to check on Ginger’s status. Jim said that in a follow-up call made by the clinic they were told that Ginger was doing well.

The second item is a correction. In the report that described Lynn bringing in a stray kitten that had terrible puss oozing from one eye, I wrote: “Moments later Jim has not only cleaned out all the puss but found and removed the cause of the infection that was behind the kitten’s eyeball.”

When I queried with Jim what was the cause of the infection, he said that there was nothing physical behind the eye but that the kitten had contracted a severe eye infection probably a viral infection. The kitten was also doing well.

So last Thursday, the 13th July, I returned to Lincoln Road, arriving at 09:45. My plan was to spend the morning with Jim and then the afternoon with Dr. Russel  Codd the owner of the clinic.

It was another wonderfully interesting day and I have sufficient material for the next two to three weeks.

This is Cooper, a male Jack Russell, being checked out by Dr. Russ.

Dr. Russ started the afternoon at 14:30 so there was a bit of a wait after Jim had finished his morning at 12:05. That prompted me to see if future sessions watching Dr. Russ at work could be morning ones.

In other words, I would go across to Lincoln Road on two mornings a month; one to spend with Dr. Jim and one with Dr. Russ. I have yet to speak to Russ about that but can’t envisage an issue.

What Russel Codd did say to me that afternoon was that he really supported this theme and that he might arrange for me to ‘shadow’ one or two specialists who work locally in Grants Pass.  Plus, I did venture the idea that maybe there was book potential and Russ was very happy with that possible development as well.

So Sue, there’s the answer to you writing last week: “Lots of information here perhaps for a second book?” Great suggestion! (Indeed, good people, I am giving the idea of turning this series into a book very careful thought and will ask for feedback from you in a subsequent post once I am clearer about the purpose and objectives of such a book.)

So the first of my reports from my visit on the 13th will be published either later this week or early next week.

Thank you, everyone, for your interest, suggestions and support. You really are a great group of readers!

Visiting the Vet – Transformations.

This is why some choose to become veterinary doctors.

Today I write about the last animal that Dr. Jim attended to from my morning at Lincoln Road on June 22nd. I have been blown away by the interest in this theme from so many of you. Thank you!

Indeed, today I am back at the clinic spending both the morning and some of the afternoon watching and recording.

My plan from now on, subject to Dr. Codd supporting the idea, is to spend time at the clinic roughly one day a month. For in just the five or six hours of a day’s visit there is such a variety of events that it will provide more than enough material for me to present Visiting the Vet posts regularly each week during the following month.

OK! Now to the last patient that morning.

12:20

A woman carries in a stray kitten that had been found on the premises of a local scrap metal dealer.

The woman, Lynn, didn’t hesitate to bring the kitten to Lincoln Road because it had an infected right eye.

Jim takes some blood, in itself a bit of a challenge with such a young kitten, and looks more closely at the male kitten. He observes that the eye is most terribly infected with puss pouring out and Jim is of no doubt that the kitten had this eye infection since birth just a few weeks ago.

I come closer to take a photograph (the one above) and am in awe of the delicate way that Jim uses a tiny swab, Lynn holding the kitten for Jim, to clear the puss away from the eye. Moments later Jim has not only cleaned out all the puss but found and removed the cause of the infection that was behind the kitten’s eyeball.

12:40 The kitten sees with both eyes. What a transformation in just twenty minutes.

Jim looks up at Lynn: “Lynn, you do know you have saved his life!”

Lynn replies: “I didn’t really want another cat!”

Jim then gets some food for the kitten and gives it time to settle down.

Lynn and I chat and I am flattered to learn that Lynn has previously purchased a copy of my book. It can be such a small world at times!

12:30 All done. Lynn wraps the kitten back into the same towel that was used to bring it in to the clinic such a short time ago.

Thus ended my first experience of being behind the scenes of a busy vet practice.

The experience has profoundly affected me.

For as well as the astounding level of medical skill that I have observed it was also clear, as Jim put it, that he has to play counselor, psychotherapist, and even bartender. Why bartender? Because Jim quietly offers the observation that quite a few persons come in with their pets when they are the worse for drink! The owner that is not the animal!

Seriously though, let me offer what I concluded after just this one visit to Lincoln Road. That Jim and, I’m sure, Dr. Russ and many thousands of DVMs across the world, have many more demands on them than just being a good doctor.

They must display attention to detail and have an inquiring mind. They must be genuinely empathetic for the animal owner’s circumstances. But also good record keepers! Also they will have to endure a great deal of kneeling. Then, again, those knees have to be topped with a head that is jam-packed full of knowledge and experience to avoid jumping to incorrect conclusions. More subjectively, their emotions have to be kept under control for they frequently will see animals that have not been best cared for and, again all too frequently, they will have to end the life of a dear pet as gently and painlessly as is possible.

To be continued!

Potty training.

Advice from DoctorPup.

I’m always a little cautious about submissions of guest articles from those who are ‘in the business’. But sometimes drawing the line between a genuinely informative article from a pet-related business and overt promotion is a fine one. I chose to publish an article from Alex back in November last year. It was about behavioral issues with dogs and was well received.

Earlier this month, in came another guest article from DoctorPup and, again, I think this is a good share with you. But please do let me know if you think it is too much of a product ‘sell’. I protect the integrity of this blog without question.

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Michael Schoeff reveals how to effectively potty train a puppy

Written by Florentina Popa on behalf of the company
Michael Schoeff, the inventor of the innovative potty training system called Pup Pee Poo Palace, considers that classic house training a puppy is a difficult process that takes time, patience, commitment and consistency.

Traditional potty training

If you want to follow the traditional path, it is important to inform yourself carefully and to establish clear guidelines to get on the right track your pup in just a few weeks. Puppies learn very fast from two to four months, picking up easily on the concept of housebreaking. Five to 30 minutes after eating, puppies want to defecate, so it is important to respect a clear schedule. The most important aspects you should take into consideration is to stay consistent, positive and patient and the results will appear gradually.
The first step is to establish a routine by creating a schedule for eating and playing. Feeding your puppy according to a clear schedule depending on his age, ensures eliminations at consistent times. This is crucial because generally, a puppy has control of his bladder one hour for every month of age so they are prone to accidents if they are not taken outdoor regularly. During his first months of life, a puppy should be taken outside at least every two hours as well as immediately after he wakes up, during and after playing and after eating.

Pick a specific spot outside and always take him there. Also, use a specific word or phrase before he goes outside to remind what he has to do. Take him to walks or playtime after he eliminated. Your attitude is important during potty training, so avoid being nervous or impatient as well as using a loud tone because you’ll make your pup anxious.

Reward him every time he eliminates outdoor, praising or giving treats immediately after he has finished and before coming back inside. This will help teaching him what you are expecting from him.
It is recommended to pick up his water dish about two hours before bedtimes to avoid relieving himself during the night.
An essential rule and hard to apply is to always supervise your puppy when he is indoor to avoid accidents or soiling. Keep your puppy in a specific area and watch him for signs he needs to go out. If you notice him barking, scratching the door, squatting, sniffing or circling, take him outdoor.
If there are times when you cannot supervise him, restrict him to an area small enough that he won’t want to eliminate there. Make sure that the space is comfortable to stand, lie down and turn around. A good idea is to use a crate or a leash, but don’t forget to take him outdoors whenever he needs to eliminate. You can gradually give him more freedom in the house as he learns to eliminate outdoor.
Keep in mind that accidents can happen anytime and make sure you act properly. If you see him eliminating indoor, interrupt him by saying “outside!” or making a noise without scaring him and take him to his eliminating spot outdoors. Always use positive reinforcement, keep calm and be assertive. Don’t punish him for eliminating in the house to avoid a negative connection with his bodily function, just clean up the room and make sure to remove the smell.
If your program doesn’t allow to stay at home with your puppy, you need to find someone to take your pup for bathroom breaks several times a day. You can teach him to eliminate in specific place indoors, but be careful regarding this process as he will get used to it and will practice it as well when becoming adult.
Pup Pee Poo Palace was released in 2013 as an ideal solution for busy dog owners that don’t have enough time to spend with their puppies. The system is based on puppies’ natural behavior to get up on things, so it contains the separate elevated sleep and play area and the elimination area. Bedding area is made of a frame covered in bedding material and it is raised above the floor of the cage using frame extensions. The system helps reinforcing good patterns for puppies and encouraging them to repeat the actions.Puppy owners can let the palace door open when being with their puppies so they can return to the cage whenever they need to eliminate.
Using Pup Pee Poo Palace avoids the risks of infections especially if your puppy hasn’t completed all his vaccinations. You can perform your daily activities while your pup is enjoying his comfortable private space without worrying that he needs to potty.
Furthermore, you can still train your puppy to go outdoors whenever you can, especially after eating, drinking, playing or sleeping, but if you are busy or you’re not at home, count on Pup Pee Poo Palace and stay assured. Your puppy potty training will be easier and faster.
Michael Schoeff and his partner, Gary Rybka, have created not only a very useful tool for dog owners, but a tool that suits any dog breed, starting with breeds that weigh under 5 lbs at maturity and finishing with those that weigh under 70 lbs at maturity.
Author Bio

Florentina Popa is the founder of the digital marketing agency. She is a young entrepreneur with a strong passion for innovation, digital marketing technologies and a real focus on marketing strategies and evaluation process for her clients. She currently advises several companies in the Southeastern Europe and USA. She is content writer and social media manager for several small and medium companies located in the Southeastern Europe. She loves to create articles about business, leadership, digital marketing, lifestyle, animals (especially dogs). She has a great collection of materials published on various online marketing, business and lifestyle websites. When she’s not online, Florentina loves exploring the mountains and local coffee shops with her dogs, traveling and discovering new cultures watching movies and reading. ‘If you believe, you can achieve’ – that’s her motto!

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Good people, I do hope you found this interesting and not crossing the line of offering free promotion to a business. Neither me nor Learning from Dogs in publishing this guest post can offer any explicit or implicit endorsement of the company or this product. Any reader interesting in learning more must conduct their own research.

Visiting the Vet – Buffy & Chloe

Still it comes, one pet after another!

It’s 11:05

This is Buffy, a nine-year-old Dachshund crossed with a Terrier, who is drinking and peeing too much according to the lady who brought Buffy in to the clinic this morning. Adding that Buffy seems to be always hungry and quieter than normal.

Jim runs a blood test and not long after says that nothing has jumped out at him as a potential issue from Part One of the test results. (Apparently, the blood test comprised two parts – I will learn more in a subsequent visit to Lincoln Road.)

Buffy’s heart sounds good. Buffy has not lost weight.

Then Part Two of the blood test results reveal, thankfully, that Buffy is not diabetic, is not indicating Cushing’s Syndrome, and that Buffy’s kidneys are fine.

In other words, Buffy has the look of a healthy dog.

Has this all been a waste of time and money? Not at all, says Dr. Jim. This is the first time the clinic has seen Buffy and all the test results can now be logged providing a baseline of data for future reference purposes.

11:50 In comes Chloe.

Chloe has been vomiting up her food and, consequently, has stopped eating. Jim is concerned that Chloe is overweight and that in the very hot weather of recent days (high 90s F./mid 30s C.) he has been seeing a number of dogs with excessive heat problems.

One thing that could be done to Chloe was to clip her excessively long toe nails.

Jim does that.

12:15 All done.

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)

Visiting the Vet – Kenya’s itch.

Practical ways of treating Kenya’s itchy skin.

10:45 Next along was Kenya and his ‘Mum’.

The story was that after a raw patch had appeared on Kenya’s back it had then become very itchy for the brave dog.

Jim shaved the area clear of fur and cleaned the skin to aid a closer examination.

Jim then explained that the challenge in these sorts of cases is that it is very easy to throw a lot of money at the problem without any guarantee of success.  Not only were there cost considerations but also the question of whether to go down the route of injections or administer pills.

As an observer I was struck, but not surprised knowing Jim as a friend, to see how an open and honest assessment of the problem came way before any commercial implications.

Jim’s view was to leave it for the time being but he did recommend using a hypoallergenic shampoo. There were a number to choose from but Jim supported the shampoo manufactured by Bayer and sold under the brand name of Hylyt Shampoo.

There are a number of online sources for this shampoo. I chose, more or less at random, the one at Allvet Supply.

That website describes the shampoo, thus:

HyLyt Shampoo is a hypoallergenic dog shampoo and is perfect for routine use in bathing dogs and cats. The shampoo is safe for normal, dry or sensitive skin types and may be used in conjunction with topical therapeutics.

HyLyt shampoo contains a light fragrance that will leave your pets smelling clean and fresh. The gentle shampoo formula is ideal for bathing both dogs and cats. The soap-free formula is pH balanced and will not dry out delicate skin or fur.

In addition to the gentle formula, HyLyt shampoo also contains special emollients for moisturizing and proteins for conditioning. The hypoallergenic dog shampoo also contains fatty acids to reduce scaling and flaking of the skin. If your pet suffers from seasonal or acute dryness, HyLyt shampoo will help restore their skin and coat to optimal health and beauty.

Then it was time for a quick checkup underneath Kenya, so to speak, and that was it!

11:00 All done!

I am having trouble getting my head around the fact that I have only been watching proceedings for two-and-a-half hours! So much knowledge on show. So much experience. So much compassion for our beloved pets!

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)

The implications of inequality

What on earth has inequality to do with dogs!

A fair question one might think. Because this blog is primarily about what we humans should be learning from our dogs. Well, I do see a connection, a message of learning for us. Stay with me for a while.

But first, here’s how I open up Chapter 18 Sharing in my book – Learning from Dogs.

Here’s a silly story that made me laugh when I first came across it.

A man in a casino walks past three men and a dog playing poker.
“Wow!” he says, “That’s a very clever dog.“
“He’s not that clever,” replies one of the other players.
“Every time he gets a good hand he wags his tail.“

This clever dog couldn’t hide his happiness and had to share it by wagging his tail. OK, it was a little bit of fictional fun but we all recognise that inherent quality in our dogs, how they share so much of themselves in such an easy and natural fashion.

Now if one was being pedantic one would say that sharing is not the same as equality. Yet I see them as two separate seats in life’s common carriage.

Many lovers of dogs know that when they lived a life in the wild, slowly evolving from the grey wolf, they replicated, naturally, the pack characteristics of wolves. As in the pack size was around 25 to 30 animals. Yes, there was a hierarchy in the pack but that really only presented itself in the status of three animals: the female ‘alpha’ dog; the male ‘beta’ dog; the ‘omega’ dog that could be of either gender. Ninety percent of the pack were animals on equal standing. If only that was how we humans lived.

A few days ago there was an essay published on The Conversation blogsite under the title of Why poverty is not a personal choice, but a reflection of society.

It opened with this photograph.

A homeless camp in Los Angeles, where homelessness has risen 23 percent in the past year, in May 2017. AP Photo/Richard Vogel

Let me emphasize this: “A homeless camp in Los Angeles, where homelessness has risen 23 percent in the past year, in May 2017.”

Here are two small extracts from that article:

Research Investigator of Psychiatry, Public Health, and Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan


As someone who studies poverty solutions and social and health inequalities, I am convinced by the academic literature that the biggest reason for poverty is how a society is structured. Without structural changes, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate disparities and poverty.


About 13.5 percent of Americans are living in poverty. Many of these people do not have insurance, and efforts to help them gain insurance, be it through Medicaid or private insurance, have been stymied. Medicaid provides insurance for the disabled, people in nursing homes and the poor.

Four states recently asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for permission to require Medicaid recipients in their states who are not disabled or elderly to work.

This request is reflective of the fact that many Americans believe that poverty is, by and large, the result of laziness, immorality and irresponsibility.

In yesterday’s post celebrating July 4th, where I shared that lovely picture sent to me by Neil Kelly from my Devon days, there was an exchange of comments between me and author Colin Chappell. Colin is the author of the book Who Said I Was Up For Adoption.

First, in response to Colin saying “That pic really says it all doesn’t it!”, I replied:

No question. Indeed, one might ‘read’ that picture at many levels. From the level of providing a smile for the day all the way through to a very profound observation on life itself.

Colin then replied to me:

I ‘ll go straight for the profound perspective! As I recently noted on another blog, I cannot recall anybody from history who became famous for their material possessions. In fact, I recently read an article written after an individual had surveyed a few thousand gravestones… and they drew the same conclusion. There was not a single epitaph which alluded to a material possession. Dogs know all that intuitively, so why does our superior (?) mind have trouble grasping such a simple perspective?

I then responded by saying that I thought it would make a fabulous introduction to today’s post. The heart of which I am now coming to.

Here in our local city, Grants Pass, there is a Freethinkers and Humanists group. They meet once a month. Jerry Reed from that group some time ago recommended to me reading the book The Spirit Level authored by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

Jerry and I were exchanging emails in the last couple of days and he reminded me of that book.

There it was sitting on my bookshelf with a bookmark in at page 62. For reasons that escape me, I had become distracted and forgotten to stay with the book. Despite me being very interested in the proposition.

I said as much in an email reply to Jerry. He then replied to my email with this:

Hey, that happens to me a lot too, very frequently. So, I frequently settle for a video that might capture the essence of the book in considerably less time, while also maintaining my attention much better.

So, if you want a video about what Wilkinson has to say, here’s the one I recommend:

Here is that video. It is a little under 17 minutes long. Please watch it.

Published on Oct 24, 2011

http://www.ted.com We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.

I haven’t got anything profound to say by way of closing today’s post.

But what I will say is that if our societies, especially in certain countries not a million miles from home, more closely emulated the sharing and caring that we see in our dogs then that really would be wonderful.

Image seen on this website: http://enlightendogs.com/about/testimonials-2/

Visiting the Vet – Hunt the Foxtail

Yet another interesting case for Dr. Jim.

As soon as it was time to say ‘goodbye’ to Ace the cat then in came an entirely different case.

1020 – Back to dogs!

This was Millie, a pit mix, who had been dropped off at the Clinic earlier on. Millie’s owner said that there appeared to be something troubling Millie’s ears. Millie was, indeed, shaking her head a great deal.

Jim established that it was Millie’s left ear that was the source of the irritation. This was immediately obvious since Millie cried as soon as Jim touched that left ear.

The first examination didn’t identify anything that might be the cause. But apparently the endoscope had such a narrow field of view that it was easy to miss an irritant. Time for another, more extensive examination using that same endoscope.

This time the problem was identified. A foxtail that had penetrated Millie’s ear so deeply that the seed-head had pierced Millie’s eardrum.

Carefully, oh so carefully, Jim pulled the foxtail out from Millie’s ear. I couldn’t believe just how large it was.

About an inch (2.5 cm) long.

I was unable to grab a photograph of Millie’s face once the foxtail had been removed. Trust me it was a face full of doggie smiles.

But I can’t move on to the next patient without remarking how Millie was so beautifully behaved. How maligned the Pitbull and Pitbull Mixes are!

10:45 All done with Millie!

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)

Visiting The Vet – Cats

The morning at Lincoln Road progresses.

(This is a continuation from here.)

It’s 09:00 and the next animals to be brought in to see Dr. Jim are a couple of cats requiring vaccination.

The kittens are named Grace and Frankie and both were adopted from the Nevada Humane Society although I wasn’t familiar with the circumstances surrounding that adoption.

But great to see them being cared for by the two women and the degree of professional service that I saw in Jim’s briefing of these new cat owners.

That care included giving one of the kittens the necessary pills by mouth.

It is now 09:25 and the next case for Jim is another cat. In this case a cat, named Ace, that the owner thinks is having trouble seeing out of it’s right eye.

Jim applies a fluorescent stain to the Ace’s eye that then enables Jim to use a special UV lamp to determine the degree of damage to the eye.

It is determined that the pressure in Ace’s eyeball is normal and Jim is pretty certain that Ace has no sight at all in that right eye. He recommends giving the cat some antibiotics and explains to the owner that cat’s can function perfectly adequately with just one eye. Indeed, if necessary the eyeball could be removed, something that would not be a disadvantage for Ace.

The lady owner of Ace takes note of Jim’s advice and is clearly grateful for what has been explained to her.

It is 10:10.

To be continued:

(Please note: These observations are mine alone and because of the busy environment it must be assumed that my interpretation of what was taking place might not be totally accurate. Nothing in this blog post should be used by a reader to make any medical judgment about an animal. If you have any concern about an animal do make an appointment to see a properly qualified veterinarian doctor.)