Category: Innovation

The science of understanding!

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.

But for those that do, the article that came out on Mother Nature Network was confirmation indeed.

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Your dog understands more than you think

By Mary Jo DiLonardo , December 4, 2019.

Researchers used to believe only humans could recognize the same vowel sounds spoken by different speakers. (Photo: ShotPrime Studio/Shutterstock)

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.”

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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!

FindShadow to the rescue!

There’s nothing so bad as losing one’s dog.

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.

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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.

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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.

Here’s the link to the FindShadow website.

Vibrations!

The mind-body debate!

This is a republication of a recent article that appeared on The Conversation site. In a sense, it has nothing to do with dogs. Yet in another sense, it does!

You be the judge.

Meanwhile, I have finished the draft of my book, have printed it out and now have the gargantuan task of reading and editing it before it goes to an independent proof reader. All 56,657 words.

Oh well, if you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined!

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Could consciousness all come down to the way things vibrate?

November 9th, 2019

By

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.

The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades. Now it’s generally known as the “hard problem” of consciousness, after philosopher David Chalmers coined this term in a now classic paper and further explored it in his 1996 book, “The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory.”

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.

How do things in nature – like flashing fireflies – spontaneously synchronize? Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock.com

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.

Mathematician Steven Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate “sync” – his term for resonance – in his 2003 book “Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life,” including:

  • 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.

External electrodes can record a brain’s activity. vasara/Shutterstock.com

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.

For example, German neurophysiologist Pascal Fries has explored the ways in which various electrical patterns sync in the brain to produce different types of human consciousness.

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.

Each type of synchronized activity is associated with certain types of brain function. artellia/Shutterstock.com

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.

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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.

Beautiful!

 

Dancers and Dogs

I know it’s highlighting a book launch but still …

Here’s a YouTube video about the book:

Plus here’s an extract from Mother Nature Network:

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.”

They posted a behind-the-scenes video on social media and it vaulted into the stratosphere. It has been viewed more than 41 million times on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

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.”

I also notice that there’s a calendar for sale.

Anyway, thought you would like to know!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Eight

Well it’s not a true picture parade but nonetheless it’s lovely.

Taken from here.

Photo Credit: Laurenda Marie Photography

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Photo Credit: Laurenda Marie Photography

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Photo Credit: Laurenda Marie Photography

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Photo Credit: YouTube/Patrick Helleng

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.’”

That’s a lovely story!

 

This is perfect!

A fabulous elephant story!

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Wild Elephant Brings Her Newborn To Meet The People Who Saved He

Such an incredible moment ❤️️

BY

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.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

“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.”

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

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.”

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Absolutely wonderful!

Prostate drug may slow Parkinson’s disease – BBC News

A very interesting development.

I was chatting to my very old friend, as in the number of years, Richard Maugham yesterday and shortly after the call he sent me an email with a link to a recent item on the BBC News website.

Most of you regulars know that Jeannie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in December, 2015 and coincidentally at the same time Richard was also diagnosed with PD.

I’m sure there are a few who read this blog that either have PD of know or someone who has it.

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Prostate drug may slow Parkinson’s disease

By Michelle Roberts,
Health editor, BBC News online

17th September, 2019

A drug used to treat enlarged prostates may be a powerful medicine against Parkinson’s disease, according to an international team of scientists.

Terazosin helps ease benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by relaxing the muscles of the bladder and prostate.

But researchers believe it has another beneficial action, on brain cells damaged by Parkinson’s.

They say the drug might slow Parkinson’s progression – something that is not possible currently.

Cell death

They studied thousands of patients with both BPH and Parkinson’s.

Their findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest the alpha-blocker drug protects brain cells from destruction.

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.

Clinical trials

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.

‘Exciting area’

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.”

‘Disease modifying’

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.”

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I have now written to the Journal of Clinical Investigation, (JCI).

Interestingly, if one goes to the website of the JCI then one reads the following on the ‘About’ page:

The Journal of Clinical Investigation is a premier venue for discoveries in basic and clinical biomedical science that will advance the practice of medicine.

The JCI was founded in 1924 and is published by the ASCI, a nonprofit honor organization of physician-scientists incorporated in 1908. See the JCI’s Wikipedia entry for detailed information.

It’s a small step forward!

Is your community no-kill?

A timely republication of a helpful article.

The Best Friends website has a useful article under their 2025 Goal aim.

It follows nicely yesterday’s post.

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2025 Goal

No-Kill for Cats and Dogs in America’s Shelters

You believe that animals deserve compassion and good quality of life. You also love your community and want to take action for the pets and people in it. Here’s how.

Last year, about 733,000 dogs and cats were killed in our nation’s animal shelters, simply because they didn’t have safe places to call home. Together, we can change that and achieve no-kill for dogs and cats nationwide by 2025.

Is your community no-kill?

Explore lifesaving nationwide using the interactive tool below and see which shelters in your community need your support. When every shelter in a community achieves a 90% save rate for all cats and dogs, that community is designated as no-kill. This provides a simple, effective benchmark for our lifesaving progress.

This dashboard presents a dynamic data set that is being updated regularly with the most current information available. We welcome your feedback to help ensure that our data is the latest and most accurate information.

Go here to access the map!

Common elements of a no-kill community
All no-kill communities embrace and promote:

Collective responsibility: We hold ourselves accountable for the welfare of pets in our animal shelters and communities.

    • Individual community members are willing to participate in lifesaving programs.
    • State and local government are poised to support those programs.
    • A transparent shelter staff is working with their community to save more lives.

Progressive lifesaving: We value compassionate and responsible actions to save animals.

  • Decision-making is data-driven and anchored by best practices in the field.
  • Quality care is provided to every pet and quality of life is a priority.
  • Programs are designed to save the animals most at risk of being killed.
  • Programs are designed to tackle the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.

True euthanasia: We recognize that, for some animals, euthanasia is the most compassionate choice. This is why the no-kill benchmark for save rate is 90% and not 100%. In some cases, shelters may not meet the 90% benchmark, but do meet the philosophical principles of no-kill, which are:

  • Ending the life of an animal only to end irremediable suffering.
  • Ending the life of an animal when the animal is too dangerous to rehabilitate and place in the community safely.

End-of-life decisions are made by animal welfare professionals engaging in best practices and protocols.

Visit the “Community Lifesaving Dashboard Frequently Asked Questions” page to learn more.

Working together to save more pets

About the lifesaving community maps

These community maps are the first of their kind in animal welfare. They represent an enormous undertaking on the part of compassionate organizations and individuals throughout the country and a commitment to collaboration and transparency from more than 3,200 shelters across the country.

Learn more about how these maps were created and how you can help make them more accurate and powerful for the pets in your community and beyond.

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Once again, go here to view the maps.

The best of luck!

Is there no end to their companionship!

A recent item in The Guardian suggests there isn’t!

I hang on to emails and files about dogs and dog stories for a very long time. For one reason that they make brilliant blog post topics. Such as this item that was published in The Guardian recently.

Have a read of it now and then see my closing comment.

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Experience: my dog is a champion surfer

By Judy Fridono

Fri 19th July, 2019

Judy Fridono and her dog Ricochet, who has won nine gold medals. Photograph: John Francis Peters/The Guardian

The dogs have 10 minutes to catch as many waves as they can. Judges look at length of ride, whether they make it back to shore, and how many tricks they do.

When my golden retriever, Ricochet, was born, on 20 January 2008, she took her first breath in my hands. I had launched a non-profit organisation called Puppy Prodigies, to train service dogs for people with disabilities, and I supported her mother while she had her litter. Ricochet was the ninth of 10.

She was a brilliant puppy – high energy and lots of fun; she got her name because she was literally bouncing off the walls. She began service dog training at a few days old and started off well, but at 16 weeks she began to shut down; she was more interested in chasing birds. Luckily she found something else to do.

We live in San Diego, California, half an hour from the ocean. I never planned to raise a surf dog, but she had been in a kids’ pool at eight weeks old and showed great balance on a boogie board. We progressed to a bigger pool, then the bay, then the ocean.

I got her a 6ft foam board and a pink lifejacket. I don’t surf so, as she improved, she got a water handler. Surf dog contests were becoming popular in southern California and someone suggested she take part in one, at Ocean Beach in San Diego. Ricochet was placed third of about 15 dogs. I felt so proud – not because she had a medal but because she had shown what she was capable of.

Typically in contests, the dogs have 10 minutes to catch as many waves as they can. Judges look at the length of the ride, whether they make it back to shore, and how many tricks or turns they do, such as riding a wave backwards. A big wave scores higher in the judging stakes. Breeds with shorter legs, such as bulldogs or corgis, tend to do well because they have lower centres of gravity, but all sorts of dogs have won. It all comes down to balance. There’s always a crowd of spectators on the beach.

On the board, she looks pretty serious and focused. Dogs wag their tails on the sand, but not so much on the water, where they need them for balance. She’s 11 years old now and has taken part in about 20 contests. She has nine gold medals and has been placed second or third in most of the others.

Soon after she started surfing, Ricochet started doing something more meaningful with her talent. She began to accompany children with disabilities for surf therapy, and we have used her profile to fundraise for them, working first with Patrick, a 14-year-old quadriplegic boy. Patrick enjoyed the independence and Ricochet was joyful when they shared a board.

In 2009, a video of Patrick and Ricochet went viral. It’s had more than 6.5m views. She now has 230,000 Facebook followers and 100,000 on Instagram. We get messages every week from people wanting to work with or meet her. One teenage boy with a brain tumour asked to surf with her for his Make A Wish. She’s now raised more than $500,000 for humans and animals in need.

She is a certified therapy dog, and also works with service members and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She connects with people on an extremely deep level and helps them express their feelings. Recently, she placed herself up against a wall to demonstrate how a naval officer she was working with was struggling inside. There is something about her that makes her excel.

Ricochet is one of only three competitive surf dogs from the original circuit still alive, but she doesn’t compete any more. Her last contest was at Imperial Beach in 2014, and she won first place. These days, competitions happen all over the world and up to 100 dogs compete for medals and bragging rights. Some dogs are sponsored, but there’s usually a charity element.

She’s in the last quarter of her life now and doesn’t have the energy for long rides on the board; but she still surfs for fun and does surf therapy work. Judges think it’s her ability to ride a wave that qualifies her as a winner. But, to me, it is her healing power that makes Ricochet a champion.

ooOOoo

Firstly, I want to thank The Guardian, well the online version, for making their content reusable.

Secondly, this article shows yet another example of the bonding that can take place between a dog and their ‘owner’. I have no doubt that there will be many more.

Finally, dogs in the main are the perfect companions to us humans. It’s such a shame that so many are homeless, humans as well as dogs!

Helping dogs with cancer, and a bonus!

This item from The Conversation website is very interesting!

Cancer touches so many people.

My father died of lung cancer in 1956. My step-father in turn died of cancer much later on (I can’t recall what cancer it was and when he died).

It’s a terrible disease.

Key facts. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Cancer – World Health Organization

But then this comes along and offers hope.

The Conversation

Published on Jul 23, 2019

Cheryl London, a professor of veterinary medicine at Tufts University, practices “comparative oncology,” or testing cancer treatments in animals for potential use in humans. Her trials give sick pets a chance at a longer life – and could help contribute to new therapies for people.

That seems like it’s good for dogs and good for us!

Bravo!