A woman who cares for sick and disabled pooches from around the world has been dubbed a “miracle worker” after getting many of them back on their feet again.
Claire-Louise Nixon, 48, is a dog lover and shares her modest home with 27 canines that no one else wants.
Many of them are street dogs that have been abused or have lost limbs from mines and explosives in former war zones. But regardless of what conditions the dogs arrive in, Claire is determined to get them walking again through intense physio sessions and walks on wheels.
Her motley crew of dogs all live in her four-bedroom, semi-detached house in Milton Keynes with her husband, Gary, 50 and daughter, Rhia-Louise, 22. While Claire’s initial plan is usually to find forever homes for the dogs, quite often, their needs are too complex, with some even having to wear nappies.
She said: “When I get these dogs who are in such a bad way, the vet would say: ‘Claire, you won’t get them walking again.’
“But now they say nothing is impossible! They say we work miracles with them!
“I think all they need is love, kindness and patience. When they walk into my house they see other dogs like them so they don’t feel any different that’s why I think they do so well here.
“If you give them a reason to walk again then they will.”
Claire, who looks after the brood of canines—seven of which are paralyzed—says it’s a full-time job and takes her from 6 a.m. until midnight. Feeding them alone is a mammoth chore involving 15 kilograms (approx. 33 pounds) of biscuits and a complete crate of dog food every single day.
Eight of the dogs have to wear nappies, with little bodysuits to keep them in place, and they all need daily baths to keep them clean and infection-free. There’s a lot of cleaning up involved, and Claire is constantly trying to keep on top of the housework.
Claire’s passion to care for sick dogs all started 12 years ago when a puppy named Thomas Cook, who was only a few days old, was brought to the vets to be put down. The puppy had a hair lip and cleft palate, which prevented him from suckling milk and feeding, but Claire was determined to save him.
Claire painstakingly hand-reared Thomas Cook by feeding him a bottle every few hours, and from there, it escalated to having 27 disabled and sick dogs.
She said: “It went into having paralyzed dogs and dogs that had their legs blown off in Bosnia and dogs that had been shot and still had bullets inside them.”
All of Claire’s dogs are named after celebrities that she feels describe their personalities.
Sir Elton John, who Nixon named because of the song “I’m still standing,” was rescued from Romania after he was run over and left on the road to die. This left him with a broken spine. However, with Claire’s help, he can now go on small walks.
Sherlock Holmes, who was rightly named for his intelligence and curiosity, was a street dog in Oman who was shot by a security guard.
The other dogs to name a few are Patrick Swayze, who twitches all the time and was previously paralyzed, Freddie Mercury, who wanted to “break free,” and David Bowie, who was “under pressure.”
Claire said: “They’re part of the family. The dogs have a free run of the house.
“They sit where they want and they sleep wherever they happen to fall asleep—often on our beds.
“The dogs arrive with the most horrible past we give them love and [a] wonderful future. They come from all over the world but with me they are home forever.”
She further added: “I’m really lucky in that all the neighbors have dogs themselves so we don’t get complaints. And although 27 dogs sounds a lot, they are really quite well behaved.”
Claire raises funds through her organization, Wheels to Paws UK, to provide them with medical treatment, rehabilitation, and the equipment they need to walk again. Vets bills can be a huge drain on resources, but local vets are sympathetic to her cause and often offer a discount.
For long walks, the dogs are put in specially made harnesses with wheels to act as false legs so they can enjoy going out for walks. Meanwhile, those that can’t walk are put in buggies.
Other dogs are regularly taken for doggy hydrotherapy, while all those that can walk are taken out for exercise in rotation.
Claire said: “The dog rescue charities abroad all know of me. So if they get a badly injured or disabled dog in need of specialist care they will pay to transport them to me in the UK. I can never say no.”
She further added: “It is tremendous hard work but I can’t tell you how rewarding it is. The love these dogs give back is amazing. I would not be without any single one of them.”
There are some people around who do so much more than can be expected and Claire is very much one of those people.
To be impressed with her is only just the half of it.
Thank you Margaret for bringing this wonderful story to all our attentions.
Science comes round to proving what many of us have suspected for years!
That is that dogs understand us a great deal better than was thought by the general population.
According to Statista there are a great many dog owners in the USA alone.
According to a pet owners survey, there were approximately 89.7 million dogs owned in the United States in 2017. This is an increase of over 20 million since the beginning of the survey period in 2000, when around 68 million dogs were owned in the United States.
Now not all of the owners will both adore their dogs and take an active interest in them.
When we make a road trip to visit my parents, Brodie always comes along for the ride. My mom and dad talk to my crazy border collie mix both in Italian and heavily accented English. “Sit” becomes “sitta” and they often ask him to “givva me your paw.”
Brodie looks at them intently and certainly appears to understand everything they say. It probably helps that they’re bribing him with homemade bread, but a new study finds that dogs understand human language better than we thought. Researchers found that dogs can understand when someone new is talking or when they hear a different word. The results were published in the journal Biology Letters.
For the study, researchers from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom filmed 70 dogs of different breeds while they sat next to their owners, according to Science. They played audio recordings of men and women who the dogs had never heard speak before, and they used words that sounded very similar such as “had,” “hid” and “who’d.”
The words were chosen because they didn’t sound anything like common commands that the dogs were likely to have heard at home or during normal training.
More than a human thing
After listening to the recordings just one time, 48 of the dogs reacted either when a different speaker said the same word or when the same speaker said a different word, New Scientist reports. The other dogs didn’t respond in a noticeable way or were distracted.
Researchers looked for reactions like the dog’s ears moving forward, changing eye contact or shifting toward the speaker whenever they heard a change in a word or a speaker, as shown in the video above. They also noted how long the dogs paid attention. When they kept hearing the same word repeated over and over, their attention dropped.
“Until now, the spontaneous ability to recognize vowel sounds when spoken by different people was considered to be uniquely human,” lead researcher Holly Root-Gutteridge told the Press Association. “This research shows that, despite previous assumptions, this spontaneous ability is not uniquely human and that dogs share this linguistic talent, suggesting that speech perception may not be as special to humans as we previously thought.”
Researchers think the ability might be due to domestication, as dogs who are the most attentive to humans are the ones most likely to be used for breeding.
“I was surprised by how well some of the dogs responded to unfamiliar voices,” Root-Gutteridge told New Scientist. “It might mean that they comprehend more than we give them credit for.”
That paragraph towards the end really spells it out. It is not uniquely human to recognise vowel sounds because our dogs share this talent for speech perception.
Just another remarkable fact about our nearest and dearest of friends; our dogs!
I was recently contacted by John Brooks. He writes of himself:
John Brooks loves animals from the core of his heart. Whenever he gets time, he tries to write regarding animal health & condition so that all pet lovers like you don’t fall in any hazardous situation.
He went on to explain that:
One day, Findshadow helped me to find my lost dog. So that I wrote about Findshadow.
So with no further ado, here is John’s post.
What Is Findshadow How It Can Help You Find Your Missing Dog
Dog owners share a lot of the same grievances, annoyances, and frustrations. From getting up to your pet barking in the wee hours of the night to cleaning up after your dog’s mess during walks around the neighborhood, raising and taking care of a pet comes with a host of responsibilities. And with those responsibilities come work, and with work comes grievance, annoyance, and frustration.
However, one of the worst, most gut-wrenching feelings that dog owners can relate to is the moment you realize your dog is missing. After searching every room, backtracking to the park you were at with your dog in the morning, asking your neighbors if they have seen them and posting flyers on every telephone you can find, the hopelessness begins to set in.
Luckily for you, Findshadow, a free app that helps dog owners locate their missing companions, is harnessing the power of community and technology to reunite you with your lost pets. And it is doing a pretty darn good job.
So, what is Findshadow? It is is a free smartphone app that walks owners who have lost their pets step-by-step through the process of finding their dogs.
The app offers a wide array of services and tips for their users, all for free. First, you post your lost or found dog to the community. Then, the app gives you a completely personalized, step-by-step plan on how to use the app and other resources to locate your dog. While you may think of some of these steps yourself, you’ll be surprised how thorough the process can be.
After going through these first introductory steps, you can use Findshadow to print or download personalized street flyers. Although posting your pup to the community in-app will definitely increase visibility far more than strictly putting up posters, having physical images of your dog around the neighborhood will still help you get in front of a demographic that doesn’t have Findshadow downloaded.
You can share your post on social media to easily reach friends and family. With just the three aforementioned features, Findshadow has already allowed you to reach three different populations: Findshadow users, people in your neighborhood and your connections on social media.
Getting your dog’s photo in front of as many people as possible is the recipe to success for finding your dog as quickly as possible. The more people who see it, regardless if they use Findshadow or not, the more people who will be able to identify your pet if they see it.
Findshadow also has a nifty feature that makes it easier to contact nearby shelters to ask if they have seen your dog. Even if you don’t directly contact shelters yourself, Findshadow volunteers can help snap pictures of dogs in shelters and send them to you in-app to see if they match.
The sense of community behind Findshadow is powerful. Past users of Findshadow who have successfully been reunited with their dog because of the app give back to the community by becoming active volunteers. This creates a culture where owners are helping each other out. Every dog is considered important.
The interface of the app is easy-to-use and allows users to quickly switch between different features and services. You can browse through found dog listings to double-check posts to see if someone on Findshadow has already found your dog.
The amount of positive reviews and testimonials from dog owners who gush over the app is well-justified. The app has reunited countless owners with their dogs, oftentimes within the same day they went missing.
Even if you haven’t lost your dog, it is a great app to have downloaded just in case something does come up.
This is the essence of blogging and sharing.
I hadn’t heard of Findshadow before now but will surely put the app on my phone.
Affiliate Guest in Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Why is my awareness here, while yours is over there? Why is the universe split in two for each of us, into a subject and an infinity of objects? How is each of us our own center of experience, receiving information about the rest of the world out there? Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a rat conscious? A gnat? A bacterium?
These questions are all aspects of the ancient “mind-body problem,” which asks, essentially: What is the relationship between mind and matter? It’s resisted a generally satisfying conclusion for thousands of years.
Chalmers thought the mind-body problem should be called “hard” in comparison to what, with tongue in cheek, he called the “easy” problems of neuroscience: How do neurons and the brain work at the physical level? Of course they’re not actually easy at all. But his point was that they’re relatively easy compared to the truly difficult problem of explaining how consciousness relates to matter.
Over the last decade, my colleague, University of California, Santa Barbara psychology professor Jonathan Schooler and I have developed what we call a “resonance theory of consciousness.” We suggest that resonance – another word for synchronized vibrations – is at the heart of not only human consciousness but also animal consciousness and of physical reality more generally. It sounds like something the hippies might have dreamed up – it’s all vibrations, man! – but stick with me.
All about the vibrations
All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Resonance is a type of motion, characterized by oscillation between two states. And ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields. As such, at every scale, all of nature vibrates.
Something interesting things happen when different vibrating things come together: They will often start, after a little while, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.
When fireflies of certain species come together in large gatherings, they start flashing in sync, in ways that can still seem a little mystifying.
Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency sync up.
The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.
Examining resonance leads to potentially deep insights about the nature of consciousness and about the universe more generally.
Sync inside your skull
Neuroscientists have identified sync in their research, too. Large-scale neuron firing occurs in human brains at measurable frequencies, with mammalian consciousness thought to be commonly associated with various kinds of neuronal sync.
Fries focuses on gamma, beta and theta waves. These labels refer to the speed of electrical oscillations in the brain, measured by electrodes placed on the outside of the skull. Groups of neurons produce these oscillations as they use electrochemical impulses to communicate with each other. It’s the speed and voltage of these signals that, when averaged, produce EEG waves that can be measured at signature cycles per second.
Gamma waves are associated with large-scale coordinated activities like perception, meditation or focused consciousness; beta with maximum brain activity or arousal; and theta with relaxation or daydreaming. These three wave types work together to produce, or at least facilitate, various types of human consciousness, according to Fries. But the exact relationship between electrical brain waves and consciousness is still very much up for debate.
Fries calls his concept “communication through coherence.” For him, it’s all about neuronal synchronization. Synchronization, in terms of shared electrical oscillation rates, allows for smooth communication between neurons and groups of neurons. Without this kind of synchronized coherence, inputs arrive at random phases of the neuron excitability cycle and are ineffective, or at least much less effective, in communication.
A resonance theory of consciousness
Our resonance theory builds upon the work of Fries and many others, with a broader approach that can help to explain not only human and mammalian consciousness, but also consciousness more broadly.
Based on the observed behavior of the entities that surround us, from electrons to atoms to molecules, to bacteria to mice, bats, rats, and on, we suggest that all things may be viewed as at least a little conscious. This sounds strange at first blush, but “panpsychism” – the view that all matter has some associated consciousness – is an increasingly accepted position with respect to the nature of consciousness.
The panpsychist argues that consciousness did not emerge at some point during evolution. Rather, it’s always associated with matter and vice versa – they’re two sides of the same coin. But the large majority of the mind associated with the various types of matter in our universe is extremely rudimentary. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoys just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter becomes more interconnected and rich, so does the mind, and vice versa, according to this way of thinking.
Biological organisms can quickly exchange information through various biophysical pathways, both electrical and electrochemical. Non-biological structures can only exchange information internally using heat/thermal pathways – much slower and far less rich in information in comparison. Living things leverage their speedier information flows into larger-scale consciousness than what would occur in similar-size things like boulders or piles of sand, for example. There’s much greater internal connection and thus far more “going on” in biological structures than in a boulder or a pile of sand.
Under our approach, boulders and piles of sand are “mere aggregates,” just collections of highly rudimentary conscious entities at the atomic or molecular level only. That’s in contrast to what happens in biological life forms where the combinations of these micro-conscious entities together create a higher level macro-conscious entity. For us, this combination process is the hallmark of biological life.
The central thesis of our approach is this: the particular linkages that allow for large-scale consciousness – like those humans and other mammals enjoy – result from a shared resonance among many smaller constituents. The speed of the resonant waves that are present is the limiting factor that determines the size of each conscious entity in each moment.
As a particular shared resonance expands to more and more constituents, the new conscious entity that results from this resonance and combination grows larger and more complex. So the shared resonance in a human brain that achieves gamma synchrony, for example, includes a far larger number of neurons and neuronal connections than is the case for beta or theta rhythms alone.
What about larger inter-organism resonance like the cloud of fireflies with their little lights flashing in sync? Researchers think their bioluminescent resonance arises due to internal biological oscillators that automatically result in each firefly syncing up with its neighbors.
Is this group of fireflies enjoying a higher level of group consciousness? Probably not, since we can explain the phenomenon without recourse to any intelligence or consciousness. But in biological structures with the right kind of information pathways and processing power, these tendencies toward self-organization can and often do produce larger-scale conscious entities.
Our resonance theory of consciousness attempts to provide a unified framework that includes neuroscience, as well as more fundamental questions of neurobiology and biophysics, and also the philosophy of mind. It gets to the heart of the differences that matter when it comes to consciousness and the evolution of physical systems.
It is all about vibrations, but it’s also about the type of vibrations and, most importantly, about shared vibrations.
This may require more than one read. Because, if you are interested in the subject I’m sure you will wish to read it again.
But the underlying premise is that, as was said earlier,: “all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields.”
Photographers Kelly Pratt and Ian Kreidich frequently work with professional dancers, capturing their gorgeous movements and their breathtaking abilities. But in a random moment, Pratt suggested to her husband, Kreidich, that they throw a few dogs into the mix for an unusual collaboration.
“We definitely didn’t fully know what to expect with this project,” Pratt tells MNN. “We started very small — at first we worked with our friends at the St. Louis Ballet — and just slowly tried to figure out what worked and what didn’t, when it came to working with dogs. No one had ever done this before, so it was all trial and error.”
Pratt and Kreidich spent more than two years photographing 100 dancers and 100 dogs in more than 10 cities across the U.S. Now the images of graceful dancers and furry companions are in the book “Dancers & Dogs.”
Wild Deer Crashes Wedding Shoot To Eat The Bride’s Bouquet
Wedding crashers aren’t usually a good thing. But for one Michigan couple, an uninvited guest made the day even more special.
Morgan and Luke were celebrating their nuptials on the Felt Estate, in Saugatuck, Michigan, when photographer Laurenda Marie Bennett stole the couple away for “golden hour portraits.”
“We walked over this hill and made it to a field where we saw just over a wooden fence was a deer,” Bennett told The Dodo. “As soon as we arrived, the deer looked up and just casually walked over to the bride and groom.”
The friendly deer greeted the couple and quickly spotted the bride’s bouquet. The spray of flowers was too tempting for the deer to resist.
“[He] started reaching his neck over and grabbing flowers from her bouquet and just chewing away,” Bennett said. “Then he steps over the fence so he’s standing in front of them, and he’s just hanging out eating her bouquet.”
After the initial shock of the wildlife encounter wore off, Bennett started snapping photos of the bride and groom. “We were all kind of giggling and looking at each other like, ‘What’s going on? What should we do?’” Bennett said. “Morgan’s expressions were priceless — they just kind of made the photos.”
As it turned out, this specific deer is a bit of a celebrity in the area. He’s even made it to the news for photobombing a few engagement photo shoots earlier this summer.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d run into him, especially when photographing a wedding,” Bennett said. “I felt like it was meant to be.”
The deer would stop at nothing to get the flowers, so the bride eventually decided to give the hungry animal her bouquet. She had to borrow one of the bridesmaids’ arrangements for the bouquet toss — but it was worth it for the hilarious photobomb.
Videographer Patrick Hellenga, of Patrick James Films, was also on-site to capture the sweet encounter on film.
When the couple returned to the field later that night, they found that the deer had left something behind for the bride — a little wedding gift.
“When we walked back to the area where we dropped the bouquet, the deer was gone but there was one white rose still intact,” Bennett said. “She picked it up and joked, ‘It’s the final rose.’”
PUBLISHED ON 09/13/2019
To Loijuk the elephant, nothing is more important than family — especially now that she is starting one of her own.
In 2006, the orphaned elephant was found all alone at only 5 months old, and was rescued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) in Kenya. She was hand-raised by SWT until she was old enough to return to the wild.
Years have passed, but Loijuk still has a close bond with her human family. She returns to the grounds of the sanctuary every month to visit. But in September, Loijuk surprised her former caretakers with a newborn elephant calf in tow.
It was clear the proud elephant mom couldn’t wait to show off her baby. The calf, who has since been named Lili, was only hours old — likely born only the night before.
Loijuk has never forgotten the kindness of those who helped her. She even invited Benjamin Kyalo, the head keeper, to have a special moment with her newborn calf.
“Benjamin was able to get close to Lili (who nestled into his legs), stroke her delicate newborn skin and breathe into her trunk, thereby letting her know who he was via his scent,” Rob Brandford, executive director of SWT, told The Dodo. “Elephants have an incredible memory and sense of smell and our keepers will often breathe into the orphans’ trunks so they can recognize who they are.”
You can watch a video of Loijuk and Lili’s touching visit here:
Lili was quite wobbly on her feet during the meeting, but over the course of the week, Kyalo watched as she got stronger and stronger.
“Loijuk has stayed close to the area around the unit, allowing our keepers to watch over her and check how she’s getting on,” Brandford said. “Considering September is the peak of the dry season in Tsavo, not the most favorable of conditions for a new baby, we are delighted that Loijuk has returned close to home so that we can help supplement her diet when she visits.”
In the wild, calves are raised with the help of female relatives within the herd. Loijuk has played nanny to other babies before giving birth to Lili, and now her calf has nannies of her very own — two other wild orphans named Naserian and Ithumbah.
Lili will remain with her mom’s herd in the wild for life, and if she is ever in need, she now knows there is a safe place she can always return to.
Lili is the 31st calf born to female orphaned elephants raised by SWT now living wild, and she is a beacon of hope for threatened elephant populations everywhere.
“Moments like these are momentous,” Brandford said. “In saving one orphaned elephant’s life, we are not only seeing that orphan thrive but start a family.”
“Lili has a brighter future ahead of her than many elephants,” Brandford added, “and we look forward to watching this little girl grow up in the wild.”
Parkinson’s is a progressive condition affecting the brain, for which there is currently no cure.
Existing Parkinson’s treatments can help with some of the symptoms but can’t slow or reverse the loss of neurons that occurs with the disease.
Terazosin may help by activating an enzyme called PGK1 to prevent this brain cell death, the researchers, from the University of Iowa, in the US and the Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, China, say.
When they tested the drug in rodents it appeared to slow or stop the loss of nerve cells.
To begin assessing if the drug might have the same effect in people, they searched the medical records of millions of US patients to identify men with BPH and Parkinson’s.
They studied 2,880 Parkinson’s patients taking terazosin or similar drugs that target PGK1 and a comparison group of 15,409 Parkinson’s patients taking a different treatment for BPH that had no action on PGK1.
Patients on the drugs targeting PGK1 appeared to fare better in terms of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and progression, which the researchers say warrants more study in clinical trials, which they plan to begin this year.
Lead researcher Dr Michael Welsh says while it is premature to talk about a cure, the findings have the potential to change the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
“Today, we have zero treatments that change the progressive course of this neurodegenerative disease,” she says.
“That’s a terrible state, because as our population ages Parkinson’s disease is going to become increasingly common.
“So, this is really an exciting area of research.”
Given that terazosin has a proven track record for treating BPH, he says, getting it approved and “repurposed” as a Parkinson’s drug should be achievable if the clinical trials go well.
The trials, which will take a few years, will compare the drug with a placebo to make sure it is safe and effective in Parkinson’s.
Co-researcher Dr Nandakumar Narayanan, who treats patients with Parkinson’s disease said: “We need these randomised controlled trials to prove that these drugs really are disease modifying.
“If they are, that would be a great thing.”
Prof David Dexter from Parkinson’s UK said: “These exciting results show that terazosin may have hidden potential for slowing the progression of Parkinson’s, something that is desperately needed to help people live well for longer.
“While it is early days, both animal models and studies looking at people who already take the drug show promising signs that need to be investigated further.”