Because you signed up on our website and asked to be notified, I’m sending you this special recall alert. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this message.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition is expanding its recall of specific lots of its Prescription Diet and Science Diet dog foods due to elevated levels of vitamin D.
Very high levels of vitamin D can lead to serious health issues in dogs, including kidney dysfunction.
To learn which products are affected, please visit the following link:
I can’t believe that the last time we had a post from Emily was back in July, 2016.
You may not recall but Emily’s background is a cat parent to 2 lovely cats, Gus and Louis “Gus only has one eye, but we love him all the same!”. She has lived with dogs in the past and can’t wait to add a dog to the family again. She writes about all things cats at her blog, Catological.com.
OK, that’s enough from me.
Here is Emily’s guest post.
Adapting and Overcoming Stereotypes: How Dogs and Cats Can Live Harmoniously Together
By Emily Parker, Catological.com
For a dog and a cat to live harmoniously in one home is a goal that many pet owners want to achieve. Before this happens, some variables need to be considered to make a good relationship between pets work.
As the pet parent, it’s important to be in tune with the tendencies and personalities of your pre-existing pet, be it a dog or a cat, and the inclinations of your new pet if you want them to live harmoniously together.
Personality is More Important than Breed
While most people pay attention to the breeds of dogs and cats when it comes to the aspect of getting along, experts argue that taking their energy and personalities into account is more important. For example, if you already have a dog that’s known for its aggressive ways don’t adopt a skittish cat. In a similar manner, an aging dog may not enjoy living in one household with a lively and playful kitten who is always interrupting the peace.
If you already have pets whose personalities don’t match, this is where your backup plan should be used. You should set up a living arrangement wherein they are separated as much as possible, while providing them each with as much loving attention as possible.
If you’re adopting a new pet, do your research and ask the caretakers if it has lived with other pets before or if the pet has a hard time getting along with others.
Give a Cat its Own Space Before Introducing it to the Dog
While most dogs are quite extroverted animals, cats need space – something that they can call their own. It’s just their nature, and you should respect that. Make sure that you provide a space that your dog won’t be allowed to navigate, so your cat can confidently mind her own business without triggering a fight with her canine brother.
Cats are natural climbers, so it should be easy to take advantage of your home’s vertical space. Prepare a cat bed atop a shelf or a bookcase, or install a cat tree that your dog can’t reach. This will allow your cat to observe your dog from across a room or from a distance.
Make sure the cat’s litter box is away from the dog, too. Cats have long been observed to hide while doing their business, and there’s also the tendency of dogs to chew on cat poo that you should be concerned about.
You can install baby gates if you must – just make sure to do everything in your power to keep a dog away from a pooping cat!
Make Sure Your Dog Has Plenty of Physical and Mental Exercise
It’s important for dogs to have their energy released someplace else other than your home so they can slow their brains down and practice restraint whenever they’re around your cat.
These are creatures that require a lot of stimulation; otherwise, they might end up chasing the cat. To prevent this from happening, practice high-intensity trick training, lure coursing, or herding-type activities with your dog.
Don’t settle for just walking, if you can help it. You can do a sit several times on each block and do direction changes now and then. You can also practice speed changes.
Dogs should be able to let go of their herding instincts around cats, and you can help them achieve this by ensuring that your pet is always active, both in mind and in body.
Should you lack time for these activities, you can always enroll your dog in daycare or hire a dog walker instead.
Allow Your Pets to Follow Their Noses
Before introducing the dog and the cat to each other, allow them to sniff each other’s toys or beddings first.
This will satisfy their curiosity as to who the other pet is in the house, and serve as an introduction. It can also prevent turf wars in the future.
While your new pet is safely tucked away in a spare room, rub him down with a clean towel, and then present it to your existing pet to sniff, and vice versa.
Plan the First Meeting Properly
As with most humans, first impressions count, so make sure it all turns out well for the dog and the cat.
After you’ve introduced scents, you can have a visual meeting, preferably behind the safety of a baby gate or most-closed door.
After they’ve been able to smell and see each other a few times, it’s time for the main event.
Your cat should always have a clear escape route during this meeting, and you should not force the issue. If possible, take control of your dog without being aggressive about it, to ensure that he doesn’t chase the cat.
You may have to do this multiple times before everyone is comfortable with each other, always making sure you praise your dog for calm behavior, while ensuring the cat isn’t forced into a meeting from which she has no escape.
When it comes to food, the choice you make may depend on how well the two pets get along together, though I’d recommend having meal time in separate places or times if possible.
Separate Each Other’s Toys and Food
Always keep your pets’ separate. Some cats are known to be nonchalant with the company of an eating dog, even walking around the dog while he’s eating to try to eat from the bowl. Many dogs will allow this, but don’t be so sure on your pet. Don’t assume that your dog won’t get overprotective with his food bowl. (Not to mention dog food is not appropriate for cats to eat.) You can prevent mealtime wars by scheduling regular mealtimes and place the bowls in separate parts of the house.
While some pets won’t make an issue of this, you can give yourself the best chance of a peaceful home by making sure their toys don’t get mixed up. Competition over toys can start a fight. Some dogs have taken into catnip as well. So always segregate.
Consider Raising a Cat and Dog Together
Compared to introducing them to each other as adults, it’s easier if each pet meets each other at a young age
Puppies are typically easier to train than adult dogs who have become set in their ways, and they can be taught to not harm a kitten or just to leave it to its own devices. Kittens are incredibly curious and playful, and will associate the dog as a friend and will get used to its company as she grows into a mature cat.
But then again, it never hurts to be cautious!
At the end of the day, your duty as a pet parent is to keep watch over your pets and make sure they’re well fed and safe within your home. With proper guidance, training, and a whole lot of patience, it’s not impossible for a dog and cat to live together peacefully.
Now I took the following picture from another blog and when you visit that page you can read another account of cats and dogs living together.
But I will close with that image because it is so perfect!
Since meeting one another last year, Timofey Yuriev and his faithful dog Kira have been inseparable companions. Indeed, the happy duo do just about everything together.
And that includes saving lives.
Last Saturday, Yuriev, his wife and Kira headed out for a sunset stroll around an ice-covered lake near their home in New York. It’s a tranquil spot, but on this chilly early evening, the quiet, peaceful air was shattered by the sound of a tragedy unfolding.
“We heard a woman screaming something across the lake, so we went to see what was happening,” Yuriev told The Dodo. “Her two old Labradors were crossing the lake, when they got to a spot where the ice is much thinner. One fell in, then the second. They tried to climb out but they couldn’t.”
Yuriev watched as the dogs’ energy was quickly sapped by the freezing water — and he knew time was of the essence.
Having experience swimming in icy waters, Yuriev decided to take the plunge in order to save the two dogs himself — but he was not alone.
After Yuriev undressed and leapt into the freezing lake, he looked and saw Kira by his side entering the water as well to lend him her paw in the rescue effort.
“I knew she was going to follow me,” Yuriev said. “We were going to do it together.”
Here’s video taken by Yuriev’s wife showing him and Kira reaching the nearest dog first:
“She was great moral support; I was not alone,” Yuriev said. “There was my little helper.”
After leading the first dog safely to the shore, Yuriev and Kira headed out for the second:
“She came to each dog and touched them with her nose, then helped guide them back.”
Once back on dry land, both of the rescued dogs were frazzled but in good health.
Yuriev and Kira had saved the day.
“The owner, of course, was in tears,” Yuriev said. “She was so thankful.”
Kira has always been a kindhearted and intelligent dog, able to assess situations and sense when she’s needed.
And on this day, it was clear for all to see.
“We told her that she’s a dog-saving dog. I’m sure she understood that something was happening. She could see the dogs were in distress. I’m positive about it,” Yuriev said, adding that he’s just happy they were able to help.
“It was pure luck that we were at that place at that time. It was like the universe smiled at us.”
We don’t walk our dogs. Well, not in the traditional fashion. I can’t recall the last time we put a leash on a dog, and that would have been for a vet’s visit anyway. But that doesn’t stop me from republishing this advice. I think some of you will find it invaluable.
How senior dog owners can avoid injury
New study reveals the risks, but these tips will keep you on track
Dogs are awesome. There’s so much scientific evidence about the health benefits of having a dog in your life. Dog owners live longer, healthier lives than people who are pet-free. Dogs can help ease stress and loneliness — particularly for seniors. Dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
So many of these health benefits come from the exercise people get when they take their four-legged friends for walks. However, new research finds that injuries linked to dog walking are very common and can lead to serious life-changing issues for older adults.
The research looked at patients 65 and older who made visits to emergency departments in the U.S. from 2004 through 2017. Researchers identified more than 32,000 cases of fall-related fractures linked to leash-walking dogs. In 2004, there were an estimated 1,671 visits, but that number jumped to 4,396 in 2017 — a 163 percent increase. The research was published in the journal JAMA Surgery.
The paper’s authors have an idea why the numbers jumped, and it has to do with good intentions.
“People intuitively know many of the benefits of animal companionship,” Dr. Jaimo Ahn, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, told Time. “Not surprisingly, pet ownership has increased over time, including among the elderly, who are living longer and taking efforts to live healthier — all good things.”
Because nearly 79 percent of the fractures in the study occurred in women, the researchers write, “older women considering dog ownership must be made aware of this risk.”
The researchers conclude, “For older adults — especially those living alone and with decreased bone mineral density — the risks associated with walking leashed dogs merit consideration. Even one such injury could result in a potentially lethal hip fracture, lifelong complications, or loss of independence.”
Dog-walking injuries can happen to anyone, but they are likely more common among older people because of balance issues that can start when people hit their fifties. “Strength, balance, and coordination can deteriorate if they are not being challenged and practiced each day. Loss of these abilities can make it difficult or painful to perform your everyday activities,” according to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Strength exercises like yoga and tai chi can help improve balance and prevent falls. The group recommends several specific exercises to help with balance, strength and agility. We’ve listed two exercises below that can help with balance, and you can find many more on the APTA website.
Sidewalking — This helps you keep your balance while walking by strengthening the hip muscles on the side of the pelvis.
How to do it: Step 10 times to the right, then 10 times to the left. Keep hands on a counter or long table if you need the support. Add an exercise band around your thighs, above the knees to make it more challenging. Do this several times a day.
Balancing — Good balance helps prevent falls.
How to do it: Stand on both feet with your hands on a counter or a sturdy table. Slowly lift one foot, and balance on the other for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the other foot. Do this five times on each foot. If this is easy for you to do, close your eyes while standing on both feet. If that is also easy, close your eyes while standing on one foot. Have someone nearby to help you avoid falling.
The study’s authors mention preventative measures to avoid injuries such as going through obedience training for better behavior on the leash. They also suggest that seniors who have never owned a dog get a smaller breed.
Probably the best thing you can do to help prevent injuries when you walk your dog is to make sure your dog is well-behaved on the leash, says certified dog trainer and behaviorist Susie Aga, owner of Atlanta Dog Trainer.
She suggests teaching your dog a very clear “heel” command so he knows to stay on your side with his head even with your thigh. Similarly, to avoid falls at home, teach your dog to “wait” at the top or the bottom of the stairs until you go up or down.
Although equipment isn’t a magical fix, Aga says front-clip harnesses typically keep a dog from pulling more than a back-clip harness or just a leash clipped to a collar.
It’s also a good idea to let the dog run around the backyard or play catch first before a walk to expend some energy before you head out.
If an older person doesn’t own a dog yet, Aga tries to steer them to an older, quieter dog without a ton of energy. She suggests a dog that is at least 4 years old and maybe one that has been in a foster home so you can find out how he walks on a leash and learn his general personality.
“I wouldn’t get a high-drive, working herding breed or even a really small dog that would always be getting under their feet,” she says. “Some of the greatest ones are rescue greyhounds. They want to run for about five minutes and are couch potatoes the rest of the time.”
As I said, some of you would have found this interesting.
And a reminder of the wonderful health benefits of dogs.
Dogs are awesome. There’s so much scientific evidence about the health benefits of having a dog in your life. Dog owners live longer, healthier lives than people who are pet-free. Dogs can help ease stress and loneliness — particularly for seniors. Dog owners have a lower risk of heart disease, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
As I said in my email to her after Jeannie and I had listened to it:
OK. Have listened to it just now.
I don’t know what to say.
Frankly, I’m overwhelmed. I need some time to let it settle down but it’s going to be featured on the blog very soon.
I’m still ‘processing’ it but that doesn’t stop me from sharing it with you.
Ralph spends the whole hour with independent journalist, Dahr Jamail, author of “The End of Ice,” his first person report on the front lines of the climate crisis.
In late 2003, award-winning journalist, Dahr Jamail, went to the Middle East to report on the Iraq War, where he spent more than a year as one of only a few independent US journalists in the country. Mr. Jamail has also written extensively on veterans’ resistance against US foreign policy. He is now focusing on climate disruption and the environment. His book on that topic is entitled, The End of Ice.
“So much of what we talk about is so dire and so extreme and so scary and also disheartening that I quote Vaclav Havel, the Czech dissident writer and statesman. And he reminds us that as he said, ‘Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” And that’s where I get into this moral obligation that no matter how dire things look, that we are absolutely morally obliged to do everything we can in our power to try to make this better.” Dahr Jamail, author of “The End of Ice”
When Seattle-based mountain guide Don Wargowsky was leading an expedition to Mera Peak and Baruntse in Nepal’s Himalayas last November, he picked up an extra member on his team. A stray dog noticed the climbers somewhere around 17,500 feet and decided to stick around with the group.
The climbers had just summited Mera Peak, and when they were coming down around Mera La pass, they saw the pup going up.
“What struck me was to get to that pass, there were a few hundred feet of fixed rope which means the terrain was so difficult that most climbers need rope to help themselves up,” Wargowsky tells MNN. “To see a dog up there just running by all these climbers in their $2,000 down suits and crampons was very unusual. When she came up to me, I gave her a bit of beef jerky and she didn’t leave for 3 1/2 weeks.”
The team dubbed their newest four-legged member “Mera” and she tagged along on the way back down the mountain. Wargowsky realized he had seen her in the town of Kare a few days earlier, but she had made no effort then to get close. He thinks that’s because street dogs aren’t treated very well in Nepal due to the fear of rabies.
“Dogs are shooed away pretty aggressively,” he says. “So, she was naturally pretty shy.”
A new climbing partner
But once Mera decided to join the expedition, she gradually lowered her guard. The first night, Wargowsky tried to encourage her to sleep in his tent, but she wouldn’t come inside. The next morning, he found her curled up outside the flaps covered in a layer of snow. After that, he was able to coax her inside. He gave her one of his sleeping pads and a coat to keep her warm.
Wargowsky was in a difficult position with his uninvited guest. The elements were unforgiving, and he was worried about the dog who had no protection for her paws or her body in conditions that likely reached minus 20 or minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times. But he had no luck getting her to leave … and where would she go?
“Obviously my responsibility was to the group, but I was super happy to have her with us. I didn’t encourage her to come along, but I wasn’t going to have her starve, so I would feed her,” he says. “I really tried to persuade her to stay at camp as we got into steeper and more dangerous terrain. Where we were was a more remote part of Nepal. If we didn’t feed her, she was going to starve.”
Mera stuck with the expedition the entire time, never venturing far from Wargowsky’s side. Or technically, his knee.
“She would walk with her nose almost in the back of my knee when we would walk,” he says. “But she wanted to be up front. If I would drop back to hang out with a slower client, she would go up and walk with whoever was up front. She didn’t get out of sight pretty much the entire time we were there.”
‘No clue what her motivation was’
There was only one time when Mera was gone for several days.
While Wargowsky was working on training with some members of the expedition, showing them how to climb the ice with rope, Mera followed the team’s sherpas instead. They were working to set up ropes to “camp one” at around 20,000 feet. She scrambled up the steep terrain but seemed afraid to go back down and wouldn’t return with them to base camp.
“She ended up spending two nights alone on a glacier at 20,000 feet. I really thought she was going to freeze to death,” Wargowsky says. The sherpas went up to continue working and she was there. But instead of going back down right away, she followed them to 22,000 feet as they continued working before going back to base camp.
The next day when the entire team went to make the climb, Wargowsky tried to keep her at base camp because he didn’t want her to make the steep climb again. He tied her up but she got out of her rope and quickly caught up with them. Wargowsky couldn’t leave his human clients to take her back, so Mera was allowed to stay with the group.
“I have no clue what her motivation was,” he says. “We were feeding her at base camp, so it wasn’t the food. It’s not like there was anything up there for her, but it was amazing to see.”
Tackling the ice and snow
Early on, Mera started to slide and Wargowsky was able to catch her and save her from what could’ve been a dangerous fall. When the team moved to camp two at around 21,000 feet, they were sidelined there for four days because of bad weather. Mera stayed with Wargowsky, who shared his tent and his food with the pup.
“I split all my meals with her 50/50 so we both lost weight,” he says. He guesses the scruffy brown-and-tan stray weighed probably 45 pounds to start with but lost maybe five or 10 pounds during the trip. Wargowsky says Mera looked like a combination of a Tibetan mastiff and a Nepali sheepdog.
Wargowsky was impressed with how well Mera navigated the snow and ice and handled the cold.
“She did very very well like 98 percent of the time. There were certain slopes very early in the morning or late at night when the snow was very crusty and icy when it was very slippery and you could see her kind of struggle with it,” he says. “Her paws got beat up and it was hard to see her paws bleeding a little. But everything healed up that evening and it was all superficial.”
He says it was also hard to believe she didn’t go snow-blind. The humans were all wearing expensive glacier goggles while she trotted along with no protection.
The highest a dog has ever climbed
There was only one part of the descent where she was assisted by a rope. Somehow, she had climbed the vertical 15-foot-tall section without incident but when it was time to go back down, she didn’t want to do it. The humans were rappelling, so to coax the dog down safely, they tied a rope harness to her so she could half-run, half tumble. You can see it in the photo above, but Wargowsky points out that the truly harrowing part of the mountain isn’t even visible in the shot.
In the end, when the team — along with their canine mascot — had come down from their completed 23,389-foot climb of Baruntse, Mera was hailed as a bit of a hero. Word had spread about her alleged feat and Wargowsky had to show off photos from his phone to prove she had been with them.
“She was the first dog to ever have climbed that mountain,” he says. “We can’t find anything that says a dog has ever been that high. I believe that is the highest that a dog has ever climbed ever at any point in the world.”
“I am not aware of a dog actually summiting an expedition peak in Nepal,” Billi Bierling of the Himalayan Database, an organization that documents climbing expeditions in Nepal, told Outside. “I just hope that she won’t get into trouble for having climbed Baruntse without a permit.” Bierling told Outside that there have been a few reported cases of dogs at Everest Base Camp (17,600 feet) and some who’ve trailed teams through the Khumbu Icefall up to Camp II (21,300 feet) on Mount Everest, but Mera’s adventure is perhaps the highest-recorded elevation by a dog anywhere in the world.
‘This dog wants to climb mountains’
After all that climbing and bonding, Wargowsky was tempted to bring his new friend home with him to the U.S.
“I really would’ve loved to adopt her. But I live in a 700-square-foot unit in Seattle and this dog wants to climb mountains. I gave it a lot of consideration. I didn’t care what it cost. Despite how much I loved this dog, I thought it would’ve been a very selfish thing to do to bring her to such a small space.”
But he didn’t want to leave what he calls “this hero of a dog” out on the streets. Fortunately, the expedition’s base camp manager was also smitten with the adventurous dog. Because dogs can’t fly, NirKaji Tamang paid someone $100 to walk three days to pick her up until they could get her on a bus and get her to his home in Kathmandu.
After what she had accomplished on Baruntse, Tamang changed the athletic dog’s name to Baru. He took her to the vet to make sure she was healthy. Her injuries quickly healed, and she gained weight.
Wargowsky, who told his remarkable Mera story online, was thrilled recently to receive photos of her. He will be back in Nepal several times this year for expeditions, and he plans on visiting his canine climbing partner.
“With what we had available, I don’t know what more I could’ve done to prevent her from climbing. She was definitely there of her own free will,” he says. “I truly loved that dog.”
This is such a wonderful account of a stray dog coming into contact with a group of such loving people. Plus, the photographs are wonderful especially the fourth one; just following the Tackling the Ice and Snow sub-heading. I could look at that photograph for ever!
Liza was born in a shelter after her mother was abandoned on the streets while she was pregnant. Both the mama and all of her puppies were very sick at first, and it was an uphill battle to get them all to a point where they were healthy and thriving. Finally, when she was 13 weeks old, Liza was adopted by Debi Kolak and her other dog Mona, and Liza and Mona quickly became the best of friends.
For two years, Mona and Liza did absolutely everything together — until Mona passed away suddenly this past fall, leaving poor Liza completely heartbroken.
Kolak could see that poor Liza was clearly very lonely without Mona, so when she moved in with her boyfriend and his two senior Jack Russell terriers in December, she hoped that the company of other dogs would help to cheer Liza up. Unfortunately, though, the two terriers weren’t huge fans of Liza, as she was too energetic and playful for them, and so Liza was still left without anyone to play with. Kolak discussed the possibility of adopting a playmate for Liza with her boyfriend, but he was skeptical that they could handle a fourth dog, and therefore put off the idea.
Despite her boyfriend’s hesitations, Kolak began researching different animal shelters in the area until she found one that had some dogs up for adoption who seemed like they could be good matches for Liza. She took Liza with her to the shelter and talked to the volunteers there about the kind of dog they were looking for. They showed her a few different dogs — and one of them was Murphy.
Murphy was one of the shelter’s longest residents, and had been there for five months. He was found as a stray, and during his time at the shelter had been adopted by three different families and returned every time. He seemed so defeated, and didn’t strike Kolak as the kind of dog that she and Liza were looking for. Liza needed an active, cheerful playmate, and when she first met him in his kennel, Murphy seemed to be anything but that.
“Murphy was sad … defeated-looking,” Kolak said. “He had a large scar on his head. He didn’t bark or run to the cage. He just sat there, pressed against the chain link of his tiny kennel. I sat on the floor, put my hand up to the fence and talked to him. He nibbled at my finger and barely thumped his tail. I immediately thought, ‘There is no way this guy is a match.’ But I was drawn to his pitiful face.”
Despite her doubts, Kolak had the volunteers bring Murphy and a few other dogs out into the yard so that Liza could meet them. She left it up to Liza to choose which dog they would be taking home — and almost immediately, she chose Murphy.
“Liza and Murphy had an instant connection,” Kolak said. “He rolled belly-up for her and then the game was on! They ran and frolicked for almost an hour, never once showing aggression and matching each other’s playfulness. I knew he was the one, and Liza knew he was the one.”
Even though Murphy clearly belonged with them, Kolak still had to convince her boyfriend, Joel. He was still resistant when she told him about Murphy — until she sent him a video of Liza and Murphy playing together, and he realized that they were meant to be together.
“I told the volunteers at the shelter that we would need to discuss it and I would let them know,” Kolak said. “He and Liza both whined for each other as they took him away. I called Joel when I left and talked to him about it and he said, ‘Well, you can’t just leave him! Go back!’ So I did!”
The couple decided to enroll in the shelter’s “Take A Chance On Me” program, which consists of a three-day trial period to see if a dog will work out in a family’s home. Kolak and Liza went back to get Murphy, and as the trio drove home together, no one could imagine it not working out. It was very clear that Murphy had found his forever family.
“Murphy immediately jumped in the back seat of my truck and just looked out the window with his tail doing its tiny thump and he finally leaned in and licked my face,” Kolak said. “Liza nuzzled into him as if she was assuring him that he was going to be OK and he would be loved, and I swear, she totally had a smile on her face the whole ride home!”
Murphy hasn’t been with his new family for very long, but they already can’t imagine life without him. His favorite person is Joel, and he follows him everywhere he goes. At night, he sleeps under the covers with Kolak’s daughter and Liza, and the whole family loves seeing him so content.
“In just a few short days of having him home, I can’t understand how no one would give this dog a chance, he is amazing,” Kolak said.
Murphy does still seem a little confused at times, as if he’s worried that he might end up getting returned to the shelter again. Kolak is hoping that as time goes on, the fear and confusion will fade. After all, now that Liza has found her best friend and soulmate, there’s no way she’s ever letting him go.
“I called the shelter and told them that I wanted to finalize his adoption and they all cried and cheered,” Kolak said. “I got him at no charge due to him being there for so long and they are giving us free transition training classes to help him learn trust and how to be part of a family. I’m excited to see how he does and I’m excited for him to finally realize that he is home for good.”
For some reason some of the photographs didn’t copy across at full size.
Two 3-year-old, female German shepherds were trained at the Italian Ministry of Defense’s Military Veterinary Center using positive reinforcement to recognize prostate cancer-specific volatile organic compounds.
The dogs analyzed more than 400 urine samples, and one dog detected prostate cancer with 100 accuracy, while the second had 98.6 percent accuracy.
However, prostate cancer isn’t the only type of cancer dogs have successfully sniffed out.
Man’s best friends have also proved their noses can detect breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, skin and lung cancer, typically by smelling breath samples.
Cancer causes the body to release certain organic compounds that dogs can smell but people cannot, and scientists hope that researching the phenomenon will help them one day develop an electronic nose that can detect cancer as dogs’ noses can.
With 220 million olfactory cells in their snouts — compared with a mere 50 million in a human nose — it’s estimated that a dog’s sense of smell is up to a million times better than ours.
In addition to scientific studies, there’s also anecdotal evidence that dogs can detect cancer.
Numerous dog owners tell stories of their pets persistently sniffing or nudging an area of their body that later turned out to harbor a tumor.
There’s a little 7-year-old girl in Wisconsin who is dealing with a rare and inoperable brain tumor. To help deal with the pain of her disease, Emma Mertens is asking people to send her letters and photos from their dogs.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family cover medical expenses and in the comments, people from all over the country and in many parts of the world have shared notes and photos from their four-legged friends. They have sent hugs, kisses and tail wags. They’ve written about their favorite hobbies, movies and treats. Most of all, they’ve told Emma she is in their thoughts and she is loved.
Emma has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an aggressive, hard-to-treat tumor found at the base of the brain. So far, she’s had two surgeries and radiation therapy.
According to her GoFundMe page:
Last weekend she was having a normal weekend playing with friends, playing in the snow, and wrestling with her brothers. On Sunday though, she got a headache and started having flu like symptoms. By Wednesday, she was rushed into surgery to reduce swelling on the brain. She has had a second surgery now and is preparing for 6 weeks of daily radiation therapy. She is a fighter and she and her family along with everyone on Team Emma are here to fight for her.
While she fights, dogs everywhere are showing their support.
Tania Calverley sent a photo of her two snow-covered pups with the note: “Burley and Babette send lots of love and doggie kisses from cold Ottawa, Ontario Canada.”
Megan Janofski wrote from Michigan. “Hi Emma! Our names are Daisy and Tymber and we live in Michigan. We love cuddling and playing fetch. Our owner told us you aren’t feeling good. We are sending all our love to you! We think you’re pretty incredible for going through this. Stay strong and brave. Love, Daisy and Tymber.”
Maria Emilia sent greeting from her two dogs in Virginia Beach. “Hi sweet and beautiful Emma! My two Aussie pup pups want to send you tons of hugs and kisses – little Shelby and big brother Nikki boy say that you are AWESOME!”
Ursula Bedeaux’s dog Lola sent the message: “Hi Emma, our mom told us about you and how brave you are. She also told us that you love dogs, so Harriett, Maggie, and I (Lola), thought we would send you some hugs and kisses from Minnesota!!! ❤️❤️❤️”
I thought that you and Jeannie might like to see this, if you haven’t already done so.
It brought a tear to my eye. Very inspiring – the way the world should be. The best of humanity.
– Margaret K