Category: Environment

Rescuing a dog in South Africa

A delightful story that one hopes will be allowed to share.

One is constantly looking for lovely dog stories and recently I came across this story from The Dodo.


Woman Stops In Her Tracks When She Sees Brown Legs Poking Out Of Trash

She almost didn’t notice …

By Maeve Dunigan

Published on the 20th April, 2023

The other day, members of the neighborhood watch in Richards Bay, South Africa, received a shocking phone call. A woman said she’d been walking through an undeveloped area of wilderness nearby and stumbled on something heartbreaking.

Two watch captains rushed to the scene. When they arrived, they found a discarded pile of rubble and plastic — not necessarily a surprise, given that trash is occasionally dumped in the area. What was upsetting, though, were the pair of long brown legs and pleading black eyes barely visible under the debris.

A little dog was trapped, and he needed help.

With caution, the team began to cut the dog loose from the plastic bag where he’d been tied up. After freeing the pup, they carried him out of the trash and gently placed him in the grass nearby.

The dog, later named Rocky, was so happy to be able to move around, though he was very weak from his ordeal. Neighborhood watch personnel gave the pup some ice cubes to suck on while they waited for SPCA Richards Bay staff to arrive.

Safe at the SPCA, a veterinary team examined Rocky and treated him for a small wound on his head. The malnourished pup was given plenty of food and water, and, in no time, Rocky’s slim figure began to improve and his personality began to shine.

“Rocky is now the sweetest, most outgoing puppy,” a representative from SPCA Richards Bay told The Dodo.

SPCA staff were inspired by Rocky — who spread so much love and who didn’t seem jaded by his harrowing ordeal.

“We were amazed at how a puppy who had been discarded like trash could love and trust again,” the representative said.

Rocky has since been adopted into a loving family and taken to live with them on their farm. The grateful pup, who once spent hours trapped under garbage, unable to move, will spend the rest of his days running through the ample fields of his new home, loving every minute.


All of the above photographs are taken by FACEBOOK/SPCA RICHARDS BAY

No matter where in the world one is there is a love for dogs and this account shows it to be so!

The Power of a Gentle Touch

An interesting film.

On Sunday evening Jean and I watched a documentary on touch. It was most interesting and included the obvious thought (that I needed reminding of) that babies when they are born cannot see more than 30 centimetres and cannot hear at first. So touch is vital for the health and early bonding of the babe and its parents with the mother being the dominant parent and the provider of breast milk.

Then yesterday I poked around online and found that the benefits of touch not only were for the very young but also for all ages and also were more broadly available across many animals, especially dogs.

But here’s the first film:

Touch shapes us as humans. Indeed, touch is fundamental to what makes us social beings. Touch influences how we perceive stress and pain, who we trust and who we fear. How does this work? And what happens to us in the absence of touch? Gentle touch is vital for us humans. It creates the first contact with the world for newborns, giving us a sense of security and belonging. Touch influences our immune system, and on our feelings for our fellow human beings. Especially strong feelings, such as love or compassion, can be better conveyed through touch than through words, facial expressions or gestures. Given how important touch is, it’s no surprise that humans have a highly specialized system devoted exclusively to perceiving gentle touch stimuli. Why does the touch of a stranger feel so different to that of someone we are emotionally close to? What is happening in our brain – and what role does the brain play in all this? In an era of social distancing, touch research is becoming increasingly relevant. How does it affect us, and our relationships, when we are required to keep our distance? Researchers explore what role touch plays in our physical and emotional well-being, and what the consequences are when touch is missing.

Then moving on I found an article on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website called The Friend Who Keeps You Young.

It opens:

Adopting a pet may seem like a selfless act, but there are plenty of selfish reasons to embrace pet ownership. Research has shown that owning a pet provides an amazing array of health benefits, says Jeremy Barron, M.D., medical director of the Beacham Center for Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Not ready for a full-time furry friend in your home? Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog, cat-sit for a friend, or donate time at a local animal shelter—even short interactions provide enough pet exposure to reap some of these rewards.

And that wasn’t the end, far from it! had a powerful article The Health and Mood-Boosting Benefits of Pets. Here’s how it starts:

The benefits of pets

Most pet owners are clear about the immediate joys that come with sharing their lives with companion animals. However, many of us remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that can also accompany the pleasure of snuggling up to a furry friend. It’s only recently that studies have begun to scientifically explore the benefits of the human-animal bond.

Pets have evolved to become acutely attuned to humans and our behavior and emotions. Dogs, for example, are able to understand many of the words we use, but they’re even better at interpreting our tone of voice, body language, and gestures. And like any good human friend, a loyal dog will look into your eyes to gauge your emotional state and try to understand what you’re thinking and feeling (and to work out when the next walk or treat might be coming, of course).

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal can help children grow up more secure and active. Pets also provide valuable companionship for older adults. Perhaps most importantly, though, a pet can add real joy and unconditional love to your life.

Dogs are the perfect companions to us!

One of the numerous effects of a warming climate.

An article that I wanted to share with you!

There is no question that we are warming the world, and in my mind, there’s very little doubt that it is us older persons who are the cause. Take this chart, for example, where the effects of populations in the 1980’s – 2000’s had a dramatic impact on the worsening trend:

The reason for today’s post is to share an article that writes of the science of precipitation.




The scientific consensus on climate change is that atmospheric temperatures are rising and will continue to rise. Mean global temperatures are already 1˚C warmer than preindustrial times (relative to 1850–1900), predominantly due to human activity increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (IPCC, 2018a). The 2020 Paris Conference of Parties (COP) agreed on the aim of a 1.5˚C cap on climate change-induced warming, although without rapidly introducing measures to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, global warming could easily go beyond this limit. 

In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that even a mean global temperature increase of 1.5˚C will lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of rainfall events. But what links a warmer climate to an increase in intense rainfall events? This blog post will explain the physics behind the changes to precipitation rates in a warming climate.


Climate projections simultaneously warn of higher annual mean surface temperatures, higher rates of intense rainfall and more frequent intense rainfall events. The atmospheric moisture content increases with respect to a change in temperature – essentially, the warmer the atmosphere, the more water is held in the atmosphere, and therefore higher rates of precipitation can be expected.

This is explained by the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship between surface temperature and water vapour. According to the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, atmospheric water content increases by between 6 and 7% per 1 °C. Therefore, even just an increase of 1.5°C could result in ~9% more water in the atmosphere, which could have a major impact on storm systems and subsequent rainfall.

Storm systems travelling across oceans will have an increased moisture content from water evaporated from the sea surface, forming a larger storm system and therefore more precipitation. JBA has recently discussed the risk of flooding from intensifying rainfall due to climate change and this will be explored in respect to storm systems later in this blog.


In meteorology, precipitation can be liquid or solid water that falls from the atmosphere and reaches the Earth’s surface. Types of precipitation include rain, sleet, or snow, depending on the temperature of the atmosphere. During the water cycle (fig. 1), water evaporates from the surface into the atmosphere, and changes state from liquid to vapour. The water vapour forms cloud droplets, which join together until the heavy droplets fall from the clouds as precipitation. Several processes affect this simple view of the journey from evaporation to precipitation.

Figure 1: A diagram of the water cycle showing the connections between water masses, the atmosphere and the transpiration and condensation of water vapour.


The connection between precipitation and surface temperature is defined by the Clausius-Clapeyron equations. The Clausius-Clapeyron equations calculate the energy required to cause a chemical reaction at a given pressure. In terms of precipitation, the Clausius-Clapeyron equations can be used to calculate the thermal energy required to condense water vapour into droplets when the atmospheric pressure is known. 

When water droplets are evaporated into the atmosphere, they travel upwards. As the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship is dependent on atmospheric pressure, the thermal energy requirement for a phase change is lower at a lower pressure. As the water droplets travel upwards, two things happen: 

  1. The atmospheric pressure decreases, and 
  2. The atmospheric temperature cools (this is known as the temperature lapse rate and is typically estimated at -6.5°C per kilometre). 

When the water vapour reaches an elevation where the atmospheric pressure and temperature satisfy the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, the water vapour condenses into cloud droplets. 


The release of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere by humans has already led to climate change in the form of atmospheric warming. Long-term measurements show that the atmosphere has already warmed by 1°C since 1900. IPCC projections suggest that additional warming is inevitable, and attempts are being made to keep global atmospheric warming to under 1.5°C. Although, as previously mentioned, this could still increase the frequency and intensity of rainfall (IPCC, 2018b). To understand how an increase in annual mean surface temperature will influence rainfall events, we can apply the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship in a geographical context. 

As the Clausius-Clapeyron equations define the relationship between vapour and pressure, they can also be used to define the saturation vapour pressure with respect to temperature. In meteorology, the saturation vapour pressure is the maximum pressure of water vapour, at a given temperature, before it condenses. Therefore, the pressure required to condense a water droplet increases exponentially with respect to a change in temperature. 

This means that the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship can be used to determine the moisture content of the atmosphere. Warmer atmospheric temperatures will increase the atmospheric moisture content before condensation because the atmospheric pressure will not be affected by climate change in the same way as temperature. This results in the previously mentioned calculation that moisture content will increase by ~6.5% in the atmosphere per 1°C increase in temperature and means that atmospheric warming of 1.5°C will yield an increase in atmospheric moisture content of ~9%.


This ~9% increase has an impact on storm systems and therefore rainfall. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the coast of Texas in August 2017. Over seven days, areas of Texas including Galveston and Houston experienced nearly 1.5 metres of rainfall. 

Research published since the event suggests that the intensity of Hurricane Harvey is attributable to a combination of the storm stalling over one location and climate change. The Gulf of Mexico, the source of moisture for Hurricane Harvey, has experienced anthropogenic-induced sea-surface temperature warming of 1°C since preindustrial times (Pall et al., 2017; Trenberth et al., 2018). Comparing Hurricane Harvey’s precipitation records with an equivalent event from 1950, extreme value analysis concluded that climate change contributed to a 5-7% increase in rainfall rates covering the full region affected by the hurricane (Risser and Wehner, 2017). 

With an increase in rainfall events and the wider impacts of climate change, it’s important for organisations to think about the potential risk to their business. JBA’s UK Climate Change Flood Model assesses and quantifies future flood risk in the UK under a warming climate and complements our range of global Climate Change Analytics, helping clients to understand and manage the effects of climate change on their assets and to enable long-term planning.

For more information on our climate change work, including bespoke consultancy services offered by our expert team, get in touch.


IPCC, 2018a: Summary for Policymakers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I.Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T.Maycock, M.Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)].]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

IPCC, 2018b. Impacts of 1.5ºC Global Warming on Natural and Human Systems. In: Global Warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I.Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T.Maycock, M.Tignor, and T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Pall, P., Patricola, C.M., Wehner, M.F., Stone, D.A., Paciorek, C.J., Collins, W.D. 2017. Diagnosing conditional anthropogenic contributions to heavy Colorado rainfall in September 2013. Weather and Climate Extremes, 17, pp 1-6.

Risser, M.D., Wehner, MF. 2017. Attributable human-induced changes in the likelihood and magnitude of the observed extreme precipitation during Hurricane Harvey. Geophysical Research Letters¸ 44(24), doi: 10.1002/2017GL075888.

Trenberth, K.E., Cheng, L., Jacobs, P., Zhang, Y., Fasullo, J. 2018. Hurricane Harvey links to ocean heat content and climate change adaptation. Earth’s Future, 6(5), doi: 10.1029/2018EF000825


The IPCC states what is clearly known in science circles; a warmer atmosphere equals more moisture in the air and that translates into more rainfall.

It comes down to warmer atmospheric temperatures increasing the atmospheric moisture content before condensation, simply because the atmospheric pressure will not be affected by climate change in the same way as temperature, as was described earlier in the paper. The reference to Hurricane Harvey was very powerful.

The world has to focus on climate change in an urgent manner. Because there isn’t a great deal of time, something like 10 years, at most, to bring about huge changes in the way we consume energy.

Picture Parade Four Hundred and Eighty-Three

The last day of April, 2023, brings a change in the Picture Parades.

My son, Alex, is a very keen photographer and has taken many beautiful photos of birds. He wants to build his following especially on Instagram (that is a link to Alex’s page) and I was very willing to assist him in his endeavour.

So starting today I will be posting the photographs taken by Alex and repeating this every other Sunday. In other words, I shall now be alternating between birds and dogs for as long as is possible.

But first of all here is Alex’s QR code.










Alex uses an Olympus camera, an OM-1, and his lens is an Olympus M zuiko 150-400TC pro. A feature of the camera is the continuous shooting rate of 130 frames per second that Alex uses to good effect; as you can see.

So if you are interested in photography, please go across to this Instagram link and revel in the wonderful pictures featuring wildlife from the UK🇬🇧, mainly in the counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and Bristol.

Next Sunday we are back to dogs!

A post on preventing dog bites.

This article from the ASPCA is being shared.

Luckily dogs that have behaviour problems are unknown in our home. But that doesn’t mean that a primer on preventing dog bites is not called for. The following seems like a primer!


Dog Bite Prevention

Increasing Safety, Reducing Risks

To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, and dog owners should practice responsible dog ownership.

Understanding dog body language is a key way to help avoid being bitten for people of all ages. Know the signs that dogs give to indicate that they’re feeling anxious, afraid, threatened or aggressive, and be sure to respect the dog’s feelings about interacting with or being touched by strangers.

  • An aggressive dog may try to make themselves look bigger. Their ears may be up and forward, the fur on their back and tail may stand on end or puff out, and their tail may be straight up—it may even wag. They may have a stiff, straight-legged stance and be moving toward or staring directly at what they think is an approaching threat. They may also bare their teeth, growl, lunge or bark.
  • An anxious or scared dog may try to make themselves look smaller. They may shrink to the ground in a crouch, lower their head, repeatedly lick their lips, put their tail between their legs, flatten their ears back and yawn. They may look away to avoid direct eye contact. The dog may stay very still or roll on their back and expose their stomach. Alternatively, they may try to turn away or slowly move away from what they think is an approaching threat.
  • Many dogs can show a mixture of these body postures, indicating that they feel conflicted. Remember to avoid any dog showing any of signs of fear, aggression or anxiety—no matter what else the dog is doing. It’s important to realize that a wagging tail or a crouching body doesn’t always mean friendliness.
  • Ask first before petting a dog. When meeting an unfamiliar dog, don’t reach out to pet them. First, ask their pet parent, “May I pet your dog?” A strange hand in a dog’s face may scare them, leading to a bite.
  • If you receive permission to pet a dog, let them sniff your closed hand. Then, you may proceed to pet their shoulders or chest. Avoid petting the top of the dog’s head. If the dog looks uncomfortable, speak happily to the dog and casually remove your hand. Resist moving abruptly or jerkily.
  • Avoid dogs who are barking or growling. It is also best to steer clear of dogs who are loose, behind a fence or tied up.
  • If an unknown dog approaches you, stay quiet and still. Do not run or scream.
  • Always supervise children and dogs. Never leave a baby or young child alone with a dog. Teach your children to treat your dog gently and with respect, giving the dog their own space and opportunities to rest.
  • When in public, always keep your dog on a leash for the safety of your dog and those around them.

Recommendations for Pet Parents

Although you can’t guarantee that your dog will never bite someone, there are many ways that you can significantly reduce the risk.

  • Adopt from a well-managed animal shelter whose staff and volunteers can fill you in on the dog’s background, personality and behavior in the shelter.
  • Socialize your dog! Well-socialized dogs make enjoyable, trustworthy companions. Undersocialized dogs are a risk to their owners and to others because they can become frightened by everyday things—which means they are more likely to aggress or bite. Socializing is the opposite of isolating. It’s important for puppies to meet, greet and enjoy a variety of people, animals, places and things. Done properly, socializing helps puppies feel comfortable and friendly in various situations, rather than uncomfortable and potentially aggressive. The main rule for effective socializing is to let your dog progress at their own pace and never force them to be around someone or something when they’re clearly fearful or uncomfortable.
  • Take your dog to humane, reward-based training classes—the earlier the better. We recommend starting your puppy in puppy kindergarten classes as early as eight weeks, right after their first set of vaccinations. Early training opens a window of communication between you and your dog that will help you consistently and effectively teach them good behavior.
  • Always supervise your dog while they’re outdoors—even in a fenced yard. Don’t allow your dog to roam alone.
  • Don’t wait for a serious accident to happen. The first time your dog shows aggressive behavior toward anybody, even if no injury occurs, seek professional help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB), a veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB), or a qualified Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, for information about finding an expert in your area. Your animal shelter may also offer or be able to refer you to helpful services.
  • Err on the safe side. Be aware of common triggers of aggression, including pain, injury or sickness, the approach of strangers or strange dogs, the approach of people in uniforms, costumes or unusual attire (especially hats), unexpected touching, unfamiliar places, crowds and loud noises like thunder, wind, construction, fireworks and appliances. If possible, avoid exposing your dog to these triggers. If they seem stressed or panicked in crowds, leave them at home. If they overreact to visitors or delivery personnel, keep them in another room when they come to your house. Work with a qualified behavior and training professional to help your dog become more comfortable with these and other situations.
  • License your dog as required by law and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations.


This appears to be very good advice, and I hope there’s no-one out there that has suffered from the consequences of dog aggression. If there’s a reader who has something to share with you all, then read my Interaction page.

Dogs foraging!

A plant list from the ASPCA.

This list came in from the ASPCA recently and I though it worth sharing with you. But just before I do that let me select from the About Us page on the ASPCA website.

We Are Their Voice

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.

Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.

The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”

Plus there is a YouTube video.

Now to that plant list. It is a long list and I am going to only show you the first few dozen plants. If you want to see more of the list then you are going to have to go here and look it up for yourself.


Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List – Dogs

Plants Toxic to Dogs

Adam-and-Eve (Arum, Lord-and-Ladies, Wake Robin, Starch Root, Bobbins, Cuckoo Plant) | Scientific Names: Arum maculatum | Family: Araceae 

African Wonder Tree () | Scientific Names: Ricinus communis | Family:

Alocasia (Elephant’s Ear) | Scientific Names: Alocasia spp. | Family: Araceae 

Aloe () | Scientific Names: Aloe vera | Family: Liliaceae 

Amaryllis (Many, including: Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily, Cape Belladonna, Naked Lady) | Scientific Names: Amaryllis spp. | Family: Amaryllidaceae 

Ambrosia Mexicana (Jerusalem Oak, Feather Geranium) | Scientific Names: Chenopodium botrys | Family:Chenopodiaceae 

American Bittersweet (Bittersweet, Waxwork, Shrubby Bittersweet, False Bittersweet, Climbing Bittersweet) | Scientific Names: Celastrus scandens | Family: Celastraceae 

American Holly (English Holly, European Holly, Oregon Holly, Inkberry, Winterberry) | Scientific Names: Ilex opaca | Family: Aquifoliaceae 

American Mandrake (Mayapple, Indian Apple Root, Umbrella Leaf, Wild Lemon, Hog Apple, Duck’s Foot, Raccoonberry) | Scientific Names: Podophyllum peltatum | Family: Berberidaceae 

American Yew (Canada Yew, Canadian Yew) | Scientific Names: Taxus canadensus | Family: Taxaceae 

Andromeda Japonica (Pieris, Lily-of-the-Valley Bush) | Scientific Names: Pieris japonica | Family: Ericaceae 

Angelica Tree (Hercules’ Club, Devil’s Walking Stick, Prickly Ash, Prickly Elder) | Scientific Names: Aralia spinosa | Family:Araliaceae 

Apple (Includes crabapples) | Scientific Names: Malus sylvestrus | Family: Rosaceae 

Apricot (Group also includes Plum, Peach, Cherry) | Scientific Names: Prunus armeniaca | Family: Rosaceae 

Arrow-Head Vine (Nephthytis, Green Gold Naphthysis, African Evergreen, Trileaf Wonder) | Scientific Names: Syngonium podophyllum | Family: Araceae 

Arum (Cuckoo-pint, Lord-and-Ladies, Adam-and-Eve, Starch Root, Bobbins, Wake Robin) | Scientific Names: Arum maculatum | Family: Araceae 

Arum Lily (Calla Lily, Pig Lily, White Arum, Trumpet Lily, Florist’s Calla, Garden Calla) | Scientific Names: Zantedeschia aethiopica | Family: Araceae 

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus, Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Sprengeri Fern, Plumosa Fern, Lace Fern, Racemose Asparagus, Shatavari) | Scientific Names: Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri | Family: Liliaceae 

Australian Ivy Palm (Schefflera, Umbrella Tree, Octopus Tree, Starleaf) | Scientific Names: Brassaia actinophylla | Family:Araliaceae 

Australian Nut (Macadamia Nut, Queensland Nut) | Scientific Names: Macadamia integrifolia | Family: Proteaceae 

Autumn Crocus (Meadow Saffron) | Scientific Names: Colchicum autumnale | Family: Liliaceae 

Azalea (Rosebay, Rhododendron) | Scientific Names: Rhododendron spp | Family: Ericaceae 

Baby Doll Ti Plant (Ti-Plant, Good-Luck Plant, Hawaiian Ti Plant) | Scientific Names: Cordyline terminalis | Family:Agavaceae 

Barbados Aloe (Medicine Plant, True Aloe) | Scientific Names: Aloe barbadensis | Family: Aloaceae 

Barbados Lily (Amaryllis, Fire Lily, Lily of the Palace, Ridderstjerne) | Scientific Names: Hippeastrum spp. | Family:Amaryllidaceae 

Barbados Pride (Peacock Flower, Dwarf Poinciana) | Scientific Names: Caesalpinia pulcherrima | Family:

Barbados Pride 2 (Bird of Paradise, Poinciana, Brazilwood) | Scientific Names: Poinciana gilliesii | Family: Leguminosae 

Bay Laurel (Sweet Bag, Bay Tree, Tree Laurel, Laurel Tree, Laurel) | Scientific Names: Laurus nobilis | Family: Lauraceae 

Bead Tree (China Ball Tree, Paradise Tree, Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Japanese Bead Tree, Texas Umbrella Tree, Pride-of-India, Chinaberry Tree) | Scientific Names: Melia azedarach | Family: Meliaceae 

Begonia (Over 1,000 species and 10,000 hybrids) | Scientific Names: Begonia spp. | Family: Begoniaceae 

Bergamot Orange (Bergamot, Citrus bergamia) | Scientific Names: Citrus Aurantium | Family: Rutaceae 

Bird of Paradise (Peacock Flower, Barbados Pride, Poinciana, Pride of Barbados) | Scientific Names: Caesalpinia gilliesii | Family: Leguminosae 

Bird of Paradise 2 (Peacock Flower, Barbados Pride, Poinciana, Pride of Barbados) | Scientific Names: Poinciana gilliesii | Family: Leguminosae 

Bird of Paradise Flower (Crane Flower, Bird’s Tongue Flower) | Scientific Names: Strelitzia reginae | Family: Strelitziaceae 

Bird’s Tongue Flower (Bird of Paradise Flower, Crane Flower) | Scientific Names: Strelitzia reginae | Family: Strelitziaceae 

Bishop’s Weed (Greater Ammi, False Queen Anne’s Lace) | Scientific Names: Ammi majus | Family: Apiaceae 

Bitter Root (Dogbane Hemp, Indian Hemp) | Scientific Names: Apocynum androsaemifolium | Family: Apocynaceae 

Black Calla (Solomon’s Lily, Wild Calla, Wild Arum) | Scientific Names: Arum palestinum | Family: Araceae 

Black Cherry () | Scientific Names: Prunus serotina | Family: Rosaceae 

Black Laurel (Dog Hobble, Dog Laurel, Fetter Bush, Sierra Laurel) | Scientific Names: Leucothoe spp. | Family: Ericaceae 

Black Nightshade (Nightshade, Deadly Nightshade) | Scientific Names: Solanum nigrum | Family: Solanaceae 

Black Walnut () | Scientific Names: Juglans nigra | Family: Juglandaceae 

Bobbins (Arum, Lord-and-Ladies, Adam-and-Eve, Starch Root, Wake Robin, Cuckoo Plant) | Scientific Names: Arum maculatum | Family: Araceae 

Bog Laurel (Pale Laurel, Bog Kalmia) | Scientific Names: Kalmia poliifolia | Family: Ericaceae 

Borage (Starflower) | Scientific Names: Borage officinalis | Family: Boraginceae 

Boxwood () | Scientific Names: Buxus spp. | Family: Buxaceae 

Branching Ivy (English Ivy, Glacier Ivy, Needlepoint Ivy, Sweetheart Ivy, California Ivy) | Scientific Names: Hedera helix | Family: Araliaceae 

Brazilwood (Bird of Paradise, Poinciana, Barbados Pride) | Scientific Names: Poinciana gilliesii | Family: Leguminosae 

Bread and Butter Plant (Indian Borage, Spanish Thyme, Coleus, Maratha, Militini, East Indian Thyme) | Scientific Names:Coleus ampoinicus | Family: Labiatae 

Brunfelsia (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Kiss-Me-Quick, Lady-of-the-Night, Fransiscan Rain Tree) | Scientific Names:Brunfelsia species | Family: Solanaceae 

Buckeye (Horse Chestnut) | Scientific Names: Aesculus spp | Family: Hippocastanaceae 

Buckwheat () | Scientific Names: Fagopyrum spp. | Family: Polygonaceae 

Buddhist Pine (Yew Pine, Japanese Yew, Southern Yew, Podocarpus) | Scientific Names: Podocarpus macrophylla | Family: Podocarpaceae 

Burning Bush (Wahoo, Spindle Tree) | Scientific Names: Euonymus atropurpurea | Family: Celastraceae 

Buttercup (Butter Cress, Figwort) | Scientific Names: Ranunculus spp. | Family: Ranunculaceae 

Butterfly Iris (Spuria Iris) | Scientific Names: Iris spuria | Family: Iridaceae


That was only the ‘A’ and ‘B’ selection!

I did say it was a long list. Again, if you want to go there here is the link.

If by sharing this information one dog’s life is saved then it was worthwhile.

His first working dog.

I have permission from Jason to republish his post.

When I receive notice that there has been a new follower of Learning from Dogs I go across to their blog site and leave a ‘thank you’ note..

So it was with Jason who, I assume, is a relatively new member of the WordPress club. He has published a blog Life Journeys and Passions. The first post is How I met my first working dog.

As soon as I read it I contacted Jason and asked his permission to share it with you all.

Here it is!


How I met my first working dog.

April 6th, 2023

Hello, my name is Jason. For as long as I can remember, I have loved dogs. Dogs have been a big part of my life while growing up. They have also been a big part of having a family with kids. 

I am super lucky, because over the last couple of years, I have had the job of my dreams. I get to work with a dog every day. This dog has become my best friend, she has become my work partner, and she has become a very important part of my family.

I am excited to share my stories about this big, floppy eared, wrinkly faced, hard working Bloodhound. Would it surprise any of you that the job that Sophie and I do every day is to help find people that have gone missing?

Her nose, second to none in the dog world, has helped the community where we work to find people in many aspects. We have found criminals that have ran away from law enforcement, we have found missing children that ran away from home, and we have helped look for people that for any number of circumstances were in danger if they weren’t found in a timely manner.

This is Sophie!

I hope to be able to entertain you with stories of this wonderful dog. She’s got a stubborn streak both while working and while at home. She has made life interesting to be sure, and more entertaining and loving than I deserve in a friend and partner. I want to share my story of how I met her. 

Unfortunately, her story wasn’t one without a few struggles of her own. She had to deal with some struggles before I was able to be lucky enough to have her stumble head first into my life. Maybe in some ways though, her and I were better off having to work through some of the repercussions of moving away from multiple families. Maybe because of what she went through, it opened my eyes to the opportunity to train with her in more than just search and rescue type work. 

It’s been a long road from the time that I got her. Trying to help her get through her anxiety and stress that led to her sometimes biting people, dog aggression, and sometimes just not wanting to listen to me at all.

The dog that I live with now is still a working machine. She loves the hunt more than anything else. So much so that if we go too many days without it, she starts destroying my house. Instead of the biting and hating other dogs, she now gets to live with my family of a wife and two children. She has grown to love and co-exist with a stubborn Rottweiler that constantly gives her a run for her money.

I still wonder how I had the opportunity to have a dog that was born and raised in Massachusetts. At least for the first two years of her life.

Her story started with a hound handler that had many years, and many hounds during his time of working with dogs. Sophie was still really young when her handler had an unfortunate thing happen to him. He injured his back to where he was no longer able to run with a hound the same way he had in the past.

With her age, abilities, and ultimately what she was bred for, her first owner decided that he still wanted the world to have the opportunity to have Sophie provide her assistance to a community somewhere.

Across the United States in the state of Utah was a small police department that had been in contact with the organization that Sophie’s handler was part of. The police chief with this department had attended a seminar where this organization presented the abilities and benefits of a hound working for a local police department.

This police chief made quick friends with the people of this organization. He was also invited to Massachusetts where he spent some time watching the hounds work. Learning first hand what these amazing dogs can do to help find missing people.

When this organization realized that Sophie needed a new home, they contacted this chief from Utah and told them of a rare opportunity they wanted to offer him. They told him that they had a hound that needed to be re-homed. That she was a couple of years old, and was fully trained in her abilities. All she needed was a handler and a department willing to use her. The chief of police sent his lieutenant to Massachusetts where he spent about a week learning the basics of how Sophie worked. The lieutenant then drove back to Utah to start a bloodhound unit program with this police department.

A couple of years in of getting this program off of the ground, another incident happened. Sophie’s new handler got injured. For month’s it was thought that the lieutenant would be back to work. He was adamant that he wanted to stay with the department until Sophie retired so he could take her with him. He came to the realization though, that he was going to have to leave before Sophie could retire.

It was rumored around the police department that Sophie was just going to retire with the lieutenant even though she had years left available to keep working and providing for the community. One day, the lieutenant announced that he wanted officers to put in letters of interest to be the new hound handler for the department. He told those interested that there was going to be a panel of three officers, all hound handlers from Utah, that would decide who the best candidate would be for Sophie.

I was about two years into my career as a law enforcement officer at this same police department where Sophie worked. When I first started in law enforcement, my goal and biggest dreams were to work with a dog in some capacity. When I heard that they were looking for people that wanted the position, I didn’t think much of it. I was newer, other more experienced officers were putting in for the position, and I didn’t know if I wanted to run a tracking/trailing dog. I had always dreamed of having a dog that helped find drugs or had a more known job as a police officer.

I was called by my lieutenant shortly after the position to be Sophie’s handler opened up. He was aware that I have always wanted to be a K9 handler. He knew that I spent a lot of time working with another officer with the department that has a dog used to find drugs. He told me that he wanted me to put in for the position.

I wrote my letter of interest, then started the process of getting ready to interview. I had a small amount of experience with training a dog that I had previously that had behavior issues. My experience was no more than working with a company that helped with behavioral modification for my dog that had health and anxiety issues.

During the interview, among many questions, I was asked what experience I had working with dogs. I shared the small bit of experience that I had. Among all the other questions that stood out to me was asking if my family was prepared for the time and energy it took to be a police K9 handler. I was able to explain to them that my wife was very aware that having a dog in a working capacity has been a dream of mine even before meeting her. That I probably have no idea how big of a commitment this really was, but if given the opportunity, I would give it my all and put forth all the effort I could to succeed.

Hours after the interview, my lieutenant called me and one other officer that made it to the final interview process. The call was to announce to the two of us who had gotten the position. I expected this other officer, almost a 20 year veteran officer, to get the position. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and shocked that my name was the one called to be Sophie’s next handler!


I hope you read it completely through because you would agree with me that this is most interesting. Hopefully, Jason will be publishing more posts.