From Wolf to Dog.

A very interesting article in Scientific American magazine!

A single page article in this month’s Scientific American magazine is fascinating. The sub-heading is: “An amicable disposition also governed the course of evolution for an animal that turned into a favorite pet.

A little later on in the article one reads:

When our research group began its work almost 20 years ago, we discovered that dogs also have extraordinary intelligence: they can read our gestures better that any other species, even bonobos and chimpanzees. Wolves, in contrast, are mysterious and unpredictable. Their home is the wilderness, and that wilderness is shrinking.

The article was written by Prof. Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods and is part of a much longer piece on Homo sapiens.

In fact tomorrow I shall republish a post I wrote in 2015 about the origins of the dog!

Sheena getting to know Oliver.

This is just beautiful!

In a world that is becoming madder by the day it’s good to read such stories!

The news from many quarters is increasingly alarming.

For example, I was reading in a recent issue of Science magazine about the Antarctic. From page 1331:

The Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing mass at an accelerating pace, and ice loss will likely continue over the coming decades and centuries. Some regions of the ice sheet may reach a tipping point, potentially leading to rates of sea level rise at least an order of magnitude larger than those observed now, owing to strong, positive feedbacks in the ice-climate system.


Melting ice on the coast of Adélie Land in East Antarctica. REUTERS/Pauline Askin

One can easily read many other stories of doom and gloom.

So what about this for a change? From The Dodo.

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Little Girl Joins Her Dogs Every Day To Get A Treat From The Neighbor.

“She just trots on over to the fence to line up with the dogs.”

Photo Credit: Mike Whalley

Sometimes you just want to be part of the pack. And the fact that Ramona is a toddler and her brothers Zeus and Blue are dogs makes no difference.

The pups are happy to include her and are always gentle and relaxed around her.

Ramona loves hanging out with them, though she hasn’t learned how to be gentle yet: “She loves her big puppies and is always trying to give them kisses,” Mike Whalley, Ramona’s dad, told The Dodo. “She also often finds them hilarious, frequently having giggle fits about something they’re doing like chasing their tail or jumping around for toys or snacks.”

Photo Credit: Mike Whalley

So when Ramona realized that her brothers were getting treats each day from their neighbor — she had to be involved.

“[Our] neighbor, Gary, originally shared a bologna sandwich with Zeus one afternoon. He asked us if it was all right and then he started buying boxes of dog treats to offer,” Whalley said. “At first, it was just Zeus, then we got Blue and he joined in.”

As soon as Ramona was able to eat solid foods, the neighbor offered her a freshly baked oatmeal cookie and Ramona quickly realized how good her dog brothers had it. “Now that she’s walking and mobile she just trots on over to the fence to line up with the dogs so she can get her ‘treats’ too,” Whalley said.

Photo Credit: Mike Whalley

Of course, their generous neighbor gives the dogs a few more treats each day than Ramona. “They get their breakfast treat, lunchtime, coffee break and their bedtime snack,” Whalley said. “For bedtime, they get their bigger bone to ‘brush their teeth.’”

“Ramona usually joins in for the afternoon treats and it’s usually a cookie or some Ritz crackers,” he added.

Zeus and Blue have Gary on a strict schedule, and if he misses their treat time they make sure to let him know. Now that Ramona is part of the pack, Gary never lets them down.

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It takes such stories as this one to keep us all on the straight and narrow, so to speak, and not to worry too much about the future.

A budding young photographer!

This photograph is from a twelve-year-old!

For some time I have followed Ugly Hedgehog, (UHH) a photographic forum; I joined in July 2017. It is a terrific forum and I encourage all who have an interest in photography who don’t know of the forum to drop in and take a look.

For example, I chose my camera based on advice from UHH. I chose my photo-editing software, DxO Photolab, likewise. I am growing in confidence at using the camera based on UHH advice, and more.

The other day, Dennis posted a photograph that his granddaughter took. I asked for permission to republish it and Dennis kindly said “Yes”.

First some background:

My 12 year old granddaughter took this photo of her dog recently. She used her dad’s iPhone in portrait mode. I complimented her in getting down low to take the image. And I thought it was interesting how she only captured the dog’s head. I am trying to encourage her to learn photography

And now the photograph!

Of course it’s a dog, that’s what caught my eye.

But it is also wonderful, don’t you think?

The moon and Venus

A photograph taken yesterday at 05:40 (PDT).

This was taken with a Nikon D750 from the rear deck of our house.

It has been greatly cropped and slightly adjusted in terms of contrast and shadows.

But, although I say it myself, it is an outstanding photograph! The moon is in a waning phase, about 10% illumination. Venus is just beautiful!

Here is the full moon.

 

And part of a Wikipedia extract:

The Moon is an astronomical body orbiting Earth and is the planet’s only natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest satellite in the Solar System, and by far[13] the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). The Moon is, after Jupiter‘s satellite Io, the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.

The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.51 billion years ago, not long after Earth. The most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a hypothetical Mars-sized body called Theia. New research of Moon rocks, although not rejecting the Theia hypothesis, suggests that the Moon may be older than previously thought.[14]

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, and thus always shows the same side to Earth, the near side. Because of libration, slightly more than half (about 59%) of the total lunar surface can be viewed from Earth.[15] The near side is marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. After the Sun, the Moon is the second-brightest celestial object regularly visible in Earth’s sky. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt. Its gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day.

The Moon’s average orbital distance is 384,402 km (238,856 mi),[16][17] or 1.28 light-seconds. This is about thirty times the diameter of Earth. The Moon’s apparent size in the sky is almost the same as that of the Sun, since the star is about 400 times the lunar distance and diameter. Therefore, the Moon covers the Sun nearly precisely during a total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size will not continue in the far future because the Moon’s distance from Earth is gradually increasing.

Here is a part of Wikipedia on Venus:

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. As the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, Venus can cast shadows and can be, on rare occasion, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight.[15][16] Venus lies within Earth’s orbit, and so never appears to venture far from the Sun, either setting in the west just after dusk or rising in the east a bit before dawn. Venus orbits the Sun every 224.7 Earth days.[17] With a rotation period of 243 Earth days, it takes longer to rotate about its axis than any other planet in the Solar System and does so in the opposite direction to all but Uranus (meaning the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east).[18] Venus does not have any moons, a distinction it shares only with Mercury among planets in the Solar System.[19]

Venus is a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet” because of their similar size, mass, proximity to the Sun, and bulk composition. It is radically different from Earth in other respects. It has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure at the planet’s surface is 92 times that of Earth, or roughly the pressure found 900 m (3,000 ft) underwater on Earth. Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System, with a mean surface temperature of 737 K (464 °C; 867 °F), even though Mercury is closer to the Sun. Venus is shrouded by an opaque layer of highly reflective clouds of sulfuric acid, preventing its surface from being seen from space in visible light. It may have had water oceans in the past,[20][21] but these would have vaporized as the temperature rose due to a runaway greenhouse effect.[22] The water has probably photodissociated, and the free hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field.[23] Venus’s surface is a dry desertscape interspersed with slab-like rocks and is periodically resurfaced by volcanism.

As one of the brightest objects in the sky, Venus has been a major fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed. It has been made sacred to gods of many cultures, and has been a prime inspiration for writers and poets as the morning star and evening star. Venus was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC.[24]

I included these excerpts from WikiPedia because many will find them of interest and quite a few, including yours truly, actually learnt something!

Now this is a great birthday!

Perhaps a world record.

We all who love dogs find that their lives are too short; by far! So it was incredible to read the other day of a Labrador who on April 24th, 2020 turned 20! The story was on the Golden Hearts website and thank goodness there is permission to share this with you.

Here it is:

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Augie and her three golden retriever “siblings” celebrate her 20th birthday in April (Steve and Jen Hetterscheidt, via Golden Hearts)

Meet The Oldest Golden Retriever: 20-Year-Old Augie

At 20 years old, Augie is the oldest golden retriever in history!

There are many accounts of 17 or 18-year-old goldens, and even a few stories about 19-year-old goldens, but Augie is the first golden retriever to ever reach the big two-oh.

In this article, we’ll dive into Augie’s story a little bit more, cover how old golden retrievers normally live to be, and talk about how you can help your golden live a long happy life.

Let’s go!

Meet Augie

On April 24, 2000, August (affectionately known as Augie) was born.

After being rehomed twice (due to no fault of her own), she eventually landed with Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt of Oakland, Tennessee, and it’s still unclear who the lucky ones are here.

Jennifer and Steve, who were active in their local golden retriever rescue organization when they got Augie, adopted her when she was 14 years old.

They figured that most people wouldn’t want such an elderly golden, but they had no idea of the upcoming journey they would be on with Augie.

They’ve taken her on RV trips all around the country, she’s got several canine and feline siblings, and she gets to play fetch in the pool.

On the other hand, Jennifer and Steve have been rewarded with over six years of love and loyalty from this wonderful (and now record-holding) golden.

The 20-Year-Old Golden Retriever

So how does a 20-year-old golden retriever celebrate her record-setting birthday?

With a dog-friendly carrot cake and some quality time with her golden retriever siblings, Sherman, Belle, and Bruce!

Her owner, Jennifer, says she’s surprisingly healthy.

She can still move around well (although she’s a bit shaky when she first gets up) and enjoys daily walks around the yard.

Since she was diagnosed with some kidney issues when she was 14, she now eats a mixture of wet and dry Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d, and takes some supplements for her kidneys and joints.

She also gets SQ fluids twice a week, which has helped her perk up quite a bit.

How Long Do Golden Retrievers Normally Live?

Augie is a very special girl, and she’s definitely not the norm.

Most golden retrievers live to about 10-12 years old.

Of course, many goldens live to 13, 14, or 15 years old, and, unfortunately, many live shorter than the average.

Now let’s talk about how to help your golden retriever live to that upper part of the spectrum.

5 Tips For Helping Your Golden Retriever Live A Long Life

Here are some tips to help your golden retriever live a long life like Augie.

1. Listen to your veterinarian.

This is probably the most important tip.

Your vet will know your dog, and have the best recommendations and action plan to keep them healthy.

This includes flea, tick, and heartworm medicines, food and exercise advice, and much more.

2. Listen to your dog.

When Oliver was a puppy, we spent countless hours researching what the best food for golden retriever puppies was.

Well, guess what?

After a few weeks of us feeding him the “best food for golden retriever puppies”, he stopped eating and became more lethargic.

We listened to what he was trying to tell us, we talked with our vet about it, and we decided to switch foods.

Right away he loved the new food, started eating more, and started getting his normal, crazy energy back.

Just because something is popular for many dogs, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be good for your dog, so pay attention to them and how they’re feeling so you can work with your vet to keep them happy and healthy.

3. Feed your dog a quality dog food.

Yes, Walmart brand food may be cheaper at first, but you’ll probably end up paying more in vet bills down the road.

Not to mention, with a quality dog food, your dog will probably be happier and healthier for it.

Talk to your veterinarian, do your research, and feed your pup a quality food.

4. Groom your golden retriever regularly.

Keeping their nails, paws, coat, teeth, and ears clean will keep them looking their best, while also keeping them healthy.

Grooming them regularly can prevent ear infections, gum or teeth issues, or skin issues, which could all snowball into something worse if not taken care of.

5. Exercise your golden retriever regularly.

Most goldens are inclined to become obese, so regular exercise can prevent that, as well as keep their heart and muscles strong.

Even Augie gets regular exercise, and as Jennifer says, “Motion is lotion!” for those old bones.

How You Can Help Senior Golden Retrievers

One thing that amazes me is that Jennifer adopted Augie when she was 14 years old!

Most people don’t want to adopt an older golden retriever, fearing that their time here is limited, but that doesn’t mean these dogs can’t be wonderful companions for you.

Golden retriever puppies are tough, and there are many sweet senior goldens out there like Augie that need good, loving homes, so consider stepping up to the plate and adopting a golden, fostering goldens, or volunteering or donating to your local golden retriever rescue.

Below is a list of golden retriever rescues in every state, but also don’t forget to look at rescues in states nearby if you’re looking to rescue a golden.

Here’s a list of golden retriever rescues in every State.

Conclusion

Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!

At 20 years old, she’s just about doubled the expected lifespan for golden retrievers and she’s still kicking.

She’s lived so long largely because she’s got great genetics, but also her owner, Jennifer, has done a great job of taking care of her and ensuring that they have a good relationship with Augie’s vet.

As Jennifer says, “We care for them as long as we have them, and love them forever.”

Do you have any questions about Augie, or about golden retriever lifespans?

Let us know in the comments below! (Ed: Please go here.)

And please share this with your fellow golden retriever lovers!

P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our complete guide to golden retrievers.

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I can do no more than to repeat the congratulations mentioned above: “Huge congratulations to Augie for being the world’s oldest golden retriever!”

It is a wonderful achievement!

Unbridled love!

The great thing about going away is the home-coming!

I’m speaking of coming back to one’s dogs. This theme of coming home to your dogs was prompted by something I read the other day on The Dodo newsletter. It was an article … well you read it rather than me explain it.

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Dogs Are So Excited When Mom Finally Comes Home From 8-Month Deployment

Photo Credit: Taryn Dennison

Bauer first met his mom when he was just a puppy, and ever since then they’ve been basically attached at the hip. Bauer follows his mom everywhere she goes and loves hanging out with her no matter what they’re doing.

“Bauer isn’t your typical husky, he doesn’t bark and he rarely howls,” Taryn Dennison, Bauer’s mom, told The Dodo. “He loves sleeping and when he’s awake he’s right next to you trying to get all the cuddles and pets he can or to get you to throw his toys.”

When Dennison found out she was going to be deployed, she knew it was going to be hard to leave Bauer behind. He stayed with her roommate and her roommate’s dog, Macie, and was cared for and loved so well, but everyone could tell that he missed his mom so much.

Photo Credit: Taryn Dennison

“Bauer didn’t understand why I was gone,” Dennison said. “I FaceTimed him a few times and he would run around my house trying to find me and then later he would end up laying down and falling asleep in front of my door.”

Finally, after eight long months apart, Dennison arrived home…and as soon as she walked in the door, Bauer completely lost it.

He was overwhelmed with joy and so thrilled that his mom was finally home, and couldn’t stop licking her and jumping all over her.

“I honestly thought he was going to pee on me because he was so excited,” Dennison said.

Photo Credit: Taryn Dennison

Even Macie was excited, especially when she saw how happy Bauer was, and both dogs jumped around Dennison as she sat on the floor with them. After so much time apart, she was so happy to finally be home with Bauer and the rest of her loved ones.

“Since I got home he’s been attached to my hip,” Dennison said. “I can’t even get up to go to the kitchen or the bathroom without him being right next to me. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”

Bauer missed his mom so much, but now that she’s home, he’s making sure he doesn’t take a single minute of being with her for granted.

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To keep up the theme for a little longer, here is a YouTube video of dogs and their returning owners.

I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Finally, Jean and I just need to go the shops in Grants Pass, about 20 minutes away, and when we return home, perhaps 1 or 2 hours later, we are greeted by all our dogs in a similar fashion. The vast majority of dogs offer unconditional, unbridled love! 😍

Dogs’ vision.

Do dogs see in black and white?

There was a recent post on The Conversation that was published for the kids among us. But I thought it would have an appeal far wider than just for our children, and it is republished here.

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Do dogs really see in just black and white?

By
Nancy Dreschel
Associate Teaching Professor of Small Animal Science, Pennsylvania State University.


Do dogs really see in just black and white? – Oscar V., age 9, Somerville, Massachusetts


Dogs definitely see the world differently than people do, but it’s a myth that their view is just black, white and grim shades of gray.

While most people see a full spectrum of colors from red to violet, dogs lack some of the light receptors in their eyes that allow human beings to see certain colors, particularly in the red and green range. But canines can still see yellow and blue.

Different wavelengths of light register as different colors in an animal’s visual system. Top is the human view; bottom is a dog’s eye view.

What you see as red or orange, to a dog may just be another shade of tan. To my dog, Sparky, a bright orange ball lying in the green grass may look like a tan ball in another shade of tan grass. But his bright blue ball will look similar to both of us. An online image processing tool lets you see for yourself what a particular picture looks like to your pet.

Animals can’t use spoken language to describe what they see, but researchers easily trained dogs to touch a lit-up color disc with their nose to get a treat. Then they trained the dogs to touch a disc that was a different color than some others. When the well-trained dogs couldn’t figure out which disc to press, the scientists knew that they couldn’t see the differences in color. These experiments showed that dogs could see only yellow and blue.

Light travels to the back of the eyeball, where it registers with rod and cone cells that send visual signals on to the brain.

Not only can dogs see fewer colors than we do, they probably don’t see as clearly as we do either. Tests show that both the structure and function of the dog eye leads them to see things at a distance as more blurry. While we think of perfect vision in humans as being 20/20, typical vision in dogs is probably closer to 20/75. This means that what a person with normal vision could see from 75 feet away, a dog would need to be just 20 feet away to see as clearly. Since dogs don’t read the newspaper, their visual acuity probably doesn’t interfere with their way of life.

There’s likely a lot of difference in visual ability between breeds. Over the years, breeders have selected sight-hunting dogs like greyhounds to have better vision than dogs like bulldogs.

But that’s not the end of the story. While people have a tough time seeing clearly in dim light, scientists believe dogs can probably see as well at dusk or dawn as they can in the bright middle of the day. This is because compared to humans’, dog retinas have a higher percentage and type of another kind of visual receptor. Called rod cells because of their shape, they function better in low light than cone cells do.

Dogs also have a reflective tissue layer at the back of their eyes that helps them see in less light. This mirror-like tapetum lucidum collects and concentrates the available light to help them see when it’s dark. The tapetum lucidum is what gives dogs and other mammals that glowing eye reflection when caught in your headlights at night or when you try to take a flash photo.

Dogs share their type of vision with many other animals, including cats and foxes. Scientists think it’s important for these hunters to be able to detect the motion of their nocturnal prey, and that’s why their vision evolved in this way. As many mammals developed the ability to forage and hunt in twilight or dark conditions, they gave up the ability to see the variety of colors that most birds, reptiles and primates have. People didn’t evolve to be active all night, so we kept the color vision and better visual acuity.

Before you feel sorry that dogs aren’t able to see all the colors of the rainbow, keep in mind that some of their other senses are much more developed than yours. They can hear higher-pitched sounds from farther away, and their noses are much more powerful.

Even though Sparky might not be able to easily see that orange toy in the grass, he can certainly smell it and find it easily when he wants to.

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Trust me, the dog’s nose is “much more powerful”. Upwards of fifty million times more so, as I wrote about here.

Plus, living with so many dogs as we do, there are instances when all the dogs start barking, frequently when they are all in our bedroom getting ready for the night. Jean and I cannot hear a thing but the dogs can, and Jean and I don’t have a clue!

They are incredible creatures and humans are so lucky to have them around us.

Thank you, Nancy!


“I have a dream”.

The Golden Circle.

This, again, is not about our beloved animals; in other words, this is not about our dogs.

But it is about something of supreme importance: The role of innovation. That’s innovation in all aspects of our human lives. Think of it as a process of innovation.

There was the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) Theory developed by E.M. Rogers in 1962. There is a comprehensive explanation of DOI here, from where I take the following diagram, but before explaining, from that same site, the meanings behind the definitions, I would like to emphasize one important point: “It works better with adoption of behaviors rather than cessation or prevention of behaviors.“.

So here is that diagram:

Distribution.png

Here are the meanings of those terms (my emboldening):

Adoption of a new idea, behavior, or product (i.e., “innovation”) does not happen simultaneously in a social system; rather it is a process whereby some people are more apt to adopt the innovation than others.

Researchers have found that people who adopt an innovation early have different characteristics than people who adopt an innovation later. When promoting an innovation to a target population, it is important to understand the characteristics of the target population that will help or hinder adoption of the innovation.

There are five established adopter categories, and while the majority of the general population tends to fall in the middle categories, it is still necessary to understand the characteristics of the target population. When promoting an innovation, there are different strategies used to appeal to the different adopter categories.

  1. Innovators – These are people who want to be the first to try the innovation. They are venturesome and interested in new ideas. These people are very willing to take risks, and are often the first to develop new ideas. Very little, if anything, needs to be done to appeal to this population.
  2. Early Adopters – These are people who represent opinion leaders. They enjoy leadership roles, and embrace change opportunities. They are already aware of the need to change and so are very comfortable adopting new ideas. Strategies to appeal to this population include how-to manuals and information sheets on implementation. They do not need information to convince them to change.
  3. Early Majority – These people are rarely leaders, but they do adopt new ideas before the average person. That said, they typically need to see evidence that the innovation works before they are willing to adopt it. Strategies to appeal to this population include success stories and evidence of the innovation’s effectiveness.
  4. Late Majority – These people are skeptical of change, and will only adopt an innovation after it has been tried by the majority. Strategies to appeal to this population include information on how many other people have tried the innovation and have adopted it successfully.
  5. Laggards – These people are bound by tradition and very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are the hardest group to bring on board. Strategies to appeal to this population include statistics, fear appeals, and pressure from people in the other adopter groups.

Now there’s a TED Talk that I hadn’t seen, and yet nearly 51 million people had! It came to me as an email from TED and yesterday, while we were sitting up in bed  early in the morning, I watched it. It ‘spoke’ to me and I felt that I just had to share it with you.

Because so many of the problems that face our society today are global issues and if humans are to have a future on this planet then we need great leaders who will inspire us.

Now watch the following video, it’s just over 18 minutes long, but it says it all.

Continue reading ““I have a dream”.”