Tag: CNN

Dogs may be better for our overall health than we realised!

This is a great article!

(And I am sorry for missing yesterday!)

Now here’s a truism. One cannot feel bad about the world, at whatever scale, when one pets a dog. I have observed my wife, Jean, kissing and cuddling anyone of our three dogs and she is in a beautiful mental place. Same for me

I love all our three dogs but Oliver, below, is so in tune with me that I swear he practically understands what I say!

So when recently I read a post about the positive effects on mental health that owning a dog provides I just had to share it with you. It was first published in The Dodo.


Petting A Dog Is Good For Your Brain

As if we needed another reason to love them more ❤️

By Ellen Schmidt

Published on the 14th October, 2022


Dog parents already know that petting a dog is one of the best things ever.

And as it turns out, science agrees. While some studies have shown that petting a dog can both lower your stress and release the “feel good” hormone, oxytocin, new research suggests that petting a dog is good for your brain in other ways, too.

Scientists in Switzerland claim in a new study that when you pet a dog, you can get a boost of brain activity in the frontal cortex — a crucial part of the brain that controls attention, working memory, problem-solving, thinking and emotional reactions.

During the study, participants hung around a pup while fitted with a scanner. They started out just watching the dog from across the room, gradually getting closer until they could pet him. Then they did the same thing with a stuffed animal.

And when comparing both scenarios, researchers discovered there was a stronger boost of brain activity when the real dog was nearby and available for a few pets.

This study just goes to show how great therapy animals truly are, since they can boost the cognitive and emotional activity in the brain of their human in ways a stuffed animal can’t.

“If patients with deficits in motivation, attention and socioemotional functioning show higher emotional involvement in activities connected to a dog, then such activities could increase the chance of learning and of achieving therapeutic aims,” study lead author, Rahel Marti, told CNN.

While pet parents already know just how awesome petting a dog is, it’s good to know the positives of bonding with a pup are endless — just like their love for us.


I am at the age where I am very anxious to do all that is good for my brain. This “... frontal cortex — a crucial part of the brain that controls attention, working memory, problem-solving, thinking and emotional reactions.” hits the target.

This is a great article as I said at the head of this piece.

Dogs are the perfect companions for us humans; body and mind!

Boonrod has a home!

Good news to our earlier story.

On April 30th I published a story that had been on the BBC News website about a dog that had been rescued from the sea some 200+ kilometres from the Thai coast.

It drew a fair amount of replies.

Then Margaret from Tasmania left a reply that contained the link to an article in the Bangkok Post. It was very good news!


Rescue dog heads to new home in Khon Kaen

29 Apr 2019



Vitisak Payalaw sits behind Boonrod, the dog he helped rescue from the ocean, as he prepares to take him from a shelter in Hat Yai district, Songkhla, to his home in Khon Kaen on Saturday. (Photo from Boonrod Facebook account)

Seafaring dog Boonrod is heading to a new life in Khon Kaen with his new owner — one of the oil rig workers who rescued him from the ocean in a story that captured international attention.

“We’re leaving,” owner Vitisak Payalaw posted in a message on the Boonrod Facebook page on Saturday evening.

Mr Vitisak, an planner of Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production, met Boonrod — in Thai — on Saturday for the first time since the team found him to an oil platform in the Gulf of Thailand about 220km from the shore in Songkhla on April 12.

How Boonrod got there remains a mystery, but it is believed that he must have fallen off a trawler. After helping rescue the deepwater dog, Mr Vitisak offered to be his new owner.

The exhausted animal was brought ashore on April 15 and lodged at Dog Smile House, a shelter in Hat Yai district of the southern province, with financial support from the US oil firm and Watchdog Thailand, a non-profit group.

Boonrod appeared delighted to see Mr Vitisak and the other members of the oil rig team who rescued him.

Mr Vitisak said he was taking annual leave from his work at the oil platform to transport the dog to his home in Khon Kaen, almost 1,500km from Hat Yai. The house in the northeastern province has been prepared to accomodate a new resident, the Chevron employee added.

Mr Vitisak asked for privacy and requested that well-wishers not visit his new pet at his parents’ home in Khon Kaen. But fans are welcome to greet Boonrod when he walks the dog, he added.

He also encouraged other animal lovers to adopt pets if they can.

The story of Boonrod was carried by global news agencies, including CNN. He can be followed on his Facebook page.


We love stories like that!

Good luck to Boonrod and to his new friends.

The love of a dog.

The power of dogs, and other animals, to heal.

The terrible shooting here in Oregon back on the 1st October doesn’t need to be reminded of. Or does it?

For there was a beautiful story that came out of that terrible event that I want to share with you, some three weeks after that tragic day. The story was sent to me by Dan Gomez and appeared on AKC News.



By: Mara Bovsun

Sarena Moore’s dream was to someday open a ranch where she would train horses as therapy animals for handicapped children.

She was pursuing that dream as a business student at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College on October 1, when Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, burst into her classroom and started shooting, killing nine. Moore, 44, was among them.

She was in her wheelchair, which she needed for debilitating back pain, and her service dog, Bullet, was by her side, when Harper-Mercer burst into their classroom. He ordered the teacher and students to get on the floor. When Moore complied, eyewitness Tracy Heu told the New York Times, the gunman told her to climb back into the chair. She then became his first victim.

Travis Dow, Moore’s fiancé, learned that Moore was among the dead in the massacre, and assumed the dog was gone, too. The next day, he learned that the killer had spared Bullet when police came to his door with the bewildered dog on a leash.

Bullet stayed by Moore’s side through the ordeal, witnesses said, as he had been trained to do.

“He knows she ain’t coming home because he was there when the fatal day happened,” Dow told CNN. Bullet had lived with the couple for seven months and she had trained him to be her helper.

In a statement released by her family, Moore was remembered as a lifelong animal lover. During her teens, she practiced gymnastics on horseback. At the same time, she also raised money to help disabled people learn to ride. “She had a caring heart that was bigger than life itself,” the family wrote. Her Facebook page was filled with images of animals, most recently there were many pictures of her new service dog.

Now, as Dow and Bullet face the world without the kind woman with the bright smile, they’ll lean on one another for strength. “[Bullet] was her world. He was not only her dog, [but] her best friend, beside me” Dow told CNN.

In the wake of the tragedy, other canine comforters traveled to Roseburg, Oregon, to help the community cope. Here’s their story.


I can do no better than to close today’s post with a photograph of Bullet.


Civilisations do fail!

Any lessons for today from the Valley of the Pyramids at Tucume in Peru?

The view of Huaca Larga (Photo: Heinz Plege/PromPerú)

Let’s set the scene,

It’s amazing to think that anyone lived here, that this valley was once green. Now it is sun-blasted, scorching hot, and the only life is the circling vultures and the rainbow-colored iguanas, like something out of a desert hallucination, skittering across the rocks.

The reminders of past life rise up around me, however, eroded to look more like drip castles than the pyramids they once were. I am in Túcume, the once-grand capital of the Sican culture, Peru’s mythical Valley of the Pyramids.

I am not far from Chiclayo, and even closer to the city of Lambayeque, where the Royal Tombs of Sipán Museum serves as one of the major tourist attractions on the north coast. Here at Túcume however, there are few visitors.

It is not hard to get to the site. Combis leave regularly from Chiclayo and Lambayeque, dropping passengers in the modern village of Túcume, from which an quick mototaxi ride leads to the ruins. By car or taxi, it is about a 30 minute ride from Chiclayo.

There are two main trails marked out across the desert plain in Túcume. One leads to Cerro Purgatorio, a craggy hill overlooking the 26 pyramids that comprise the site. The trail winds across the scorched valley, between several of the pyramids, before arriving at a staircase leading to different scenic overlooks on the face of Purgatorio.

WikiPedia, too, has a short reference.

Then there’s a long and revealing article on the InkaNatura Travel Site, which I recommend you go to.

So what happened at Túcume to cause the civilisation to fail?  Maybe this 10-minute film gives the answers, but just a note to say that there are some potentially upsetting scenes for the younger or more sensitive among us.

So anyone sufficiently brave to say that history won’t repeat itself.

Wonder which would be the ‘cursed cities’?

Charles Dickens, Happy Birthday!

Charles Dickens was born on the 7th February, 1812.

Just a short item from me today.

Charles Dickens

Inevitably, the bicentenary of someone as well known as Charles Dickens is going to be widely celebrated.  WikiPedia has a nice summary for someone, such as me, who isn’t too familiar with the writings or life history of Charles Dickens, from which I quote,

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic novels and characters.

Many of his writings were originally published serially, in monthly instalments, a format of publication which Dickens himself helped popularise. Unlike other authors who completed novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialised. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next instalment.  The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.

Dickens’s work has been highly praised for its realism, comedy, mastery of prose, unique personalities and concern for social reform by writers such as Leo TolstoyGeorge Gissing and G.K. Chesterton; though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, have criticised it for sentimentality and implausibility.

From the BBC website, there is a podcast that can be downloaded, introduced thus,

Docs: Dreaming Dickens: Feb 03 12

Fri, 3 Feb 12

24 mins

In this documentary-fantasy we bring the danger back to Dickens. Slipping in and out of his weird and brilliant imagination, we see modern London as he might have done, travelling through the city’s streets at night to crack dens and strip-joints as the police sirens wail. We meet characters from his novels and characters who would be in his novels if he were still alive today.

CNN from London have published an interesting article, that opens thus,

Dickens admirers mark bicentenary

By Bryony Jones, CNN
updated 9:16 AM EST, Mon February 6, 2012

London (CNN) — Charles Dickens is one of the world’s best-loved writers, whose books — and the countless film and TV adaptations they inspire — still keep readers (and viewers) on the edge of their seats.

Now, 200 years on from his birth, his genius is to be feted with a host of events marking the bicentenary of one of Britain’s most famous sons.

Dickens 2012 will see everything from readings to royal visits, celebrating the man who gave the world “Oliver Twist,” “David Copperfield” and “Great Expectations.”

In London, the special events will begin with a celebrity performance, by actors Simon Callow and Joanna Lumley, at the Dickens family’s graves in Highgate Cemetery on Monday.

And on Tuesday, the anniversary of Dickens’ birth, the Prince of Wales will lay a wreath at Dickens’ grave in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey, while actor Ralph Fiennes, Dickens’ biographer Claire Tomalin and the author’s great-great-grandson, Mark Dickens give readings.

So, quite rightly, a broad appreciation for the great man.

Assumptions can be fun!

An old aviation theme has a wider message

In flying, mistakes have the power to inflict harm way beyond the immediate significance of the mistake.  Thus the flying community have created a whole load of sayings that serve constantly to remind all those charged with the safe transport of aircraft.  For example we have ‘If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt‘.  Or ‘There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots‘.  However the saying that underlines this story is ‘Never assume, always ask!’

Who is that in the LH seat?

His request approved, the CNN News photographer quickly used a cell phone to call the local airport to charter a flight. He was told a twin-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

Arriving at the airfield, he spotted a plane warming up outside a hanger. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, ‘Let’s go‘.

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind and took off.

Once in the air, the photographer instructed the pilot, ‘Fly over the valley and make low passes so I can take pictures of the fires on the hillsides.

Why?‘ asked the pilot.

Because I’m a photographer for CNN‘ , he responded, ‘and I need to get some close up shots.’

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment, finally he stammered, ‘So, what you’re telling me, is . . . You’re NOT my flight instructor?

By Bob Derham