Tag: Mary Jo DiLonardo

Bet they are wrong!

It seems to me, that although the science is good it can’t be perfect!

I saw this recently and, ….. well you decide!

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Dogs may not be as exceptionally smart as we think they are

Mary Jo DiLonardo

MARY JO DILONARDO

October 3rd, 2018.

Dogs have a scientific reputation for being rather brainy, but a new study says that may not be deserved. (Photo: Shevs/Shutterstock)

I know I’m biased, but I think my dog is brilliant. I’ve been bringing home animals all my life — from parakeets to ducks, cats to horses. But of all my feathered and furry pets, it’s no contest: Dogs are by far the brainiest. They are quick learners and great communicators with an incredible ability to solve problems.

But a new paper in the journal Learning & Behavior finds dog intelligence is “not exceptional.”

Although animal smarts have long been the subject of scientific research, recently there’s been a lot of focus on canine cognition. And that’s what triggered Stephen Lea, professor emeritus at the University of Exeter, to take a closer look. He was editor of the journal Animal Behavior, where he saw so many papers dealing with the mental abilities of dogs.

“Through the process of working as an editor [and] seeing all this research, I definitely got a sense that we as a collective had gotten a bit overexcited about dog intelligence,” Lea told Popular Science.

History of studying dog smarts

Dogs can learn problem solving, but raccoons often solve puzzles more easily. (Photo: Joerg Huettenhoelscher/Shutterstock)

Dogs and their brains have been studied for centuries (remember Pavlov and his bell?), but then were pushed aside for more popular studies with primates and other species. It wasn’t until the 1990s when dogs came back into focus. Lea wondered whether humans were giving dogs too much credit.

Lea and his coauthor, Britta Osthaus of Canterbury Christ Church University, studied more than 300 papers on the intelligence of dogs and other animals. They looked at research that covered three groups: carnivorans (another name for carnivores), social hunters and domesticated animals. Dogs fall into all three groups.

They discovered that when it comes to brainpower, dogs don’t particularly excel in any of the groups. There were species in each that were on par with or better than dogs in cognition comparisons. Raccoons, for example, seem to solve puzzles more easily, and hyenas seem to follow the cues of their pack more handily.

“Taking all three groups (domestic animals, social hunters and carnivorans) into account, dog cognition does not look exceptional,” said Osthaus in a statement. “We are doing dogs no favor by expecting too much of them. Dogs are dogs, and we need to take their needs and true abilities into account when considering how we treat them.”

Dogs do, however, stand out from their smart counterparts because they perform well in all three categories.

“Every species has unique intelligence,” Lea told Popular Science. “Their intelligence is what you would expect of an animal that is … recently descended from social hunters … that are carnivores and that have [also] been domesticated …There’s no other animal that fits all three of those criteria.”

Sounds pretty brilliant to me.

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It seems to me that science it taking far to narrow a look at our dogs.

For if one expands the range of qualities then one can include:

  • Unconditional love,
  • Companionship,
  • Sensitivity,
  • Consciousness,
  • Spirituality,
  • Bravery,
  • and a whole lot more besides.

Brushing one’s teeth!

A delightful post, and one that had an edge to it.

Brushing one’s teeth is hard enough for us to do, let alone our dogs.

No more from me than to reproduce this item which is a republication of a post that appeared in The Conversation site.

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Why is it such a pain to brush a dog’s teeth?

This ‘magic stick’ claims to provide a solution to the problem.

by MARY JO DILONARDO

August 11, 2018
It’s a toy and a toothbrush rolled into one. (Photo: Bristly)

You eye each other across the room. You’re using your sweetest, most coaxing voice, but behind your back you have a toothbrush covered in chicken-flavored paste. Your pet eyes you warily, knowing something is up. Those teeth haven’t been pearly in a very long time, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

About 80 percent of dogs will have some periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old. In addition to dental checkups by your vet, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends regularly brushing your dog’s teeth as “the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy.” It may even eliminate the need for occasional dental cleanings by your veterinarian.

In addition (or in place of cleaning, if your dog isn’t a fan), you may have also tried dental chews or dental toys. The hope is that by gnawing on these items, your pet will scrub off the tartar and plaque buildup all by himself.

Personally, I’ve tried them all. My beautiful boy, Brodie, has breath that will make your eyes water. We’ve worked very hard on brushing. Normally he acts like I’m going to torture him when I persuade him to sit in the bathroom for a dental session. He either clamps down on the bristles as hard as he can or performs impressive gymnastics trying to evade my grasp. A few teeth get lightly grazed in the process.

The dental chews are equally unsuccessful. My pup doesn’t understand that he’s supposed to be taking his time with them. Instead, he manages to gulp them down (even frozen) which, I’m pretty sure, defeats the purpose of the exercise.

My friend has offered to scrape Brodie’s teeth with a dental tartar scraper he bought online (and uses on his well-behaved dogs), but I’m pretty sure my anxious boy would never recover.

A glimmer of green hope

If only it were this easy. (Photo: KPG Payless2/Shutterstock

There may be a solution. Years ago, Petros Dertsakyan lost his childhood Pomeranian to dental disease. As an adult and the father of two dogs of his own, Dertsakyan knows the importance of dental care but also knows first-hand the struggles of taking care of a dog’s teeth.

He decided to come up with a solution and, after lots of prototypes and testing, he developed what he calls Bristly, a “magic” toothbrushing stick that dogs hold down with their paws while gnawing on rows of flavored bristles. There’s also a reservoir to dispense toothpaste during the whole process.

Dertsakyan put his invention on Kickstarter, hoping to raise $15,000 to fund his project. He way underestimated how much people want to avoid getting anywhere near their dogs’ teeth. Just hours before the campaign ended, more than $437,000 had been raised from more than 10,000 backers. The products are scheduled to be shipped in October.

Here’s the Bristly in action. I know my dog has high hopes it will work.

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I love these dogs!

Saturday Smile

Another great news item about our wonderful wildlife.

This update about the Tiger population in Nepal was read on Mother Nature Network yesterday. Coming so soon after the positive news about the wolf population once again I wanted to share it with you!

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Tiger population rebounds, nearly doubling in Nepal

By Mary Jo Dilonardo, September 26th, 2018.

Photo: Amy Fitzmaurice/Living with Tigers

The number of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled over the past nine years as a result of conservation efforts. A survey carried out earlier this year found 235 tigers in Nepal, up from just 121 in 2009.

To count the tigers, conservationists and wildlife experts used more than 4,000 cameras, traveling a 2,700-kilometer (1,700-mile) route across Nepal’s southern plains where most of the big cats are found.

“This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told AFP.

Nepal and a dozen other countries signed the 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan, pledging to double their tiger populations by 2022. Since then, the tiger population — which has been decimated by deforestation, loss of habitat and poaching — has begun to show positive changes. The World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum announced in 2016 that the wild tiger population had grown for the first time in more than 100 years, according to AFP.

Co-existing in harmony

A tiger comes in for a close-up, thanks to a camera trap in Bardia National Park in Nepal. (Photo: Amy Fitzmaurice/Living with Tigers)

Although this news is obviously heartening, there’s a challenge that comes hand in hand with the growth: making sure people and tigers co-exist safely. A team of conservation scientists from the Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom is working with groups such as Green Governance Nepal to reduce conflict between tigers and residents.

The Living with Tigers project uses methods such as predator-proof livestock pens and changes in livestock management practices to help lessen the risk of tiger attacks on livestock and people.

“It is wonderful news for the entire conservation community around the globe and it demonstrates that ambitious conservation goals can be achieved when governments, conservation partners and local communities work together,” said Kiran Timalsina, chairperson of Green Governance Nepal.

“It also highlights the need for more concentrated efforts particularly focusing on human-tiger conflict mitigation to bring about conditions where tigers and the local communities with whom they share the landscape could coexist.”

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Don’t know about you but I feel I can handle a great deal of bad stuff about these present times so long as news items such as this come along on a regular basis!

Let’s not forget our animals!

Hurricane Florence is no picnic.

Here’s the latest headline regarding this significant hurricane taken from the BBC News website at 14:30 yesterday afternoon.

US East Coast residents are running out of time to flee before Hurricane Florence hits the region as soon as Thursday evening, officials warn.
The storm was downgraded to category three with maximum sustained winds of 120mph (195km/h), but officials say it is still “extremely dangerous”.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.

All our thoughts are especially extended for the thousands of cats and dogs, and many other species I don’t doubt.

So it seemed especially timely and appropriate to republish a recent item that appeared on Mother Nature News.

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Helping pets in Hurricane Florence’s path

How rescue groups and shelters are staying ahead of the big storm.

Mary Jo DiLonardo
MARY JO DILONARDO
September 11, 2018
Button is one of dozens of animals rescued by the Greenville Humane Society from shelters along the South Carolina coast. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

When people are in the path of a massive storm, they prepare their homes as best they can and get out of its way. For pets and strays, the situation is more complicated.

As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, many in the animal community are already helping get these animals out of harm’s way. Shelters and rescue groups hundreds of miles away are taking in animals from shelters that are directly in the storm’s path. Fosters and adopters are stepping up to take local animals so there’s room for more dogs and cats affected by the hurricane. Others are sending donations.

As of early Tuesday, the Greenville Humane Society in South Carolina had already accepted 40 dogs and cats from coastal Carolina shelters and they are expecting another transport of 20 to 30 more by the end of the day, Julia Brunelle, social media and marketing manager for the humane society, tells MNN.

“We don’t know, in the coming weeks, how many more we’ll be taking in; it depends on the path of storm,” she says. “We expect a heavy influx at the end of the weekend and early next week.”

All three of the humane society’s buildings are at capacity with about 15 overflow animals housed in wire crates. They’ve lowered adoption rates, hoping to encourage people to take home current residents to free up room for animals that will be displaced by the storm.

“A lot of people are always waiting for the right time to adopt,” Brunelle says. “Now is the right time for the animals and when it is the most needed and when you’re going to do the most good.”

A van filled with animals arrives in Greenville from coastal Carolina shelters. (Photo: Greenville Humane Society)

At the Pender County Animal Shelter in Burgaw, North Carolina, they’re hoping to empty the shelter to make room for animals in need. As a result, all adoptions are free.

“After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we took in over 100 animals at this shelter. We only have 100 kennels total, so being empty pre-storm helps us have space for the post-event response because we cannot turn animals away,” shelter manager Jewell Horton tells MNN. “If we hit capacity we have to euthanize for space, which we do not want to do!”

The shelter has already had calls for more than 50 dogs and cats that they are trying to help get out of the hurricane’s path; they’ve also taken in three miniature horses already. Shelter workers are picking up a pony and goats that were flooded out during Hurricane Matthew, knowing they won’t make it through this storm either.

Making Long-term plans

The Atlanta Humane Society took in 35 dogs and cats from Carolina shelters. (Photo: Atlanta Humane Society)

So far, some animals have traveled as far away as Atlanta. The Atlanta Humane Society has already picked up 35 dogs and cats that were in shelters in the path of Hurricane Florence. A week ago, they took in 35 animals that were in the path of Tropical Storm Gordon. If past storm history is any indication, they’ll likely take in many more.

Teams from Best Friends Animal Society are also on the ground, working to move animals from shelters in harm’s way to less-crowded facilities that are out of the hurricane’s expected reach. The group is also looking at the long-term picture, realizing what rescue efforts will be needed long after the storm is passed, says Kenny Lamberti, Best Friends Southeastern regional director.

“We learned a lot post (Hurricane) Irma and Harvey and even as far back as Katrina,” Lamberti tells MNN. “A lot of people and a lot of animals get stuck. We’re creating temporary shelter situations, hoping we don’t need them, but you never know.”

These shelters will house dogs and cats for an extended period of time until they hopefully can be reunited with their families.

How you can help!

A Best Friends team transports animals during Hurricane Harvey. (Photo: Erica Danger/Best Friends Animal Society)

If you want to assist animals displaced by the storm, there are plenty of things you can do. Rescue groups and shelters suggest monetary donations, first and foremost. That way they can buy what they need and don’t have to worry about storage, especially if shelters are damaged by the storm. Many shelters and rescue groups also have online wish lists.

There is at least one Facebook group where people can post what they need or the specific ways they are able to help, with offers of transport, fostering, supplies or anything else that might come up once the storm hits.

If your local shelter is making room for hurricane-displaced animals, you may want to consider adopting or fostering so they can make space in their kennels for more animals in need.

Pender County’s Horton points out that all sorts of help is needed, from adoptions to donations.

“We need animals out,” she says. “Donations will be hugely needed for post event care, especially for caring for the animals after the storm.”

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I know that all of you will side with Jeannie and me when we say that our hearts go out to these animals.

If any of you come across rescue groups and shelters who are seeking donations then do let me know. For I will publish the details here on Learning from Dogs.

Learning about our smaller dogs!

Learning about the way they pee!

We have two smaller dogs in our family, Sweeny and Pedy.

Gorgeous Sweeny!
And equally gorgeous Pedy alongside his mate, Brandy, just visible bottom left.

I am sure many of you have dogs that are smaller then the average dog; whatever that means!

So the article that was published, once again on Mother Nature Network, will strike a chord!

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Why small dogs aim high when they pee?


MARY JO DILONARDO   August 3, 2018.

The phrase ‘aim high’ takes on new meaning when you’re talking about dogs. (Photo: Sukpaiboonwat/Shutterstock)

Take your dog for a walk and you might notice that there’s some urinating involved. The tree. The lamp post. The fire hydrant. This scent marking is a way for your dog to communicate to other canine passers-by.

By sharing and sniffing, dogs are able to get information about sex, reproductive status and the identity of other four-footed visitors who have traveled the same path. Although female dogs do it too, this frequent marking is often done by male pups.

Typically the marking communicates true information about the marker; it’s what researchers refer to as an “honest signal.” When another dog comes along and takes a sniff, the info they get in the message is true.

But new data suggests that in some circumstances, dogs tell little white lies when they lift a leg. Researchers found that little dogs tend to hike high in order to give the impression that they’re bigger than they really are.

Betty McGuire and her team at Cornell University studied this “dishonest signal.” They noticed that smaller dogs tend to urinate more often than larger dogs, and they’re more likely to aim higher when focusing on vertically oriented targets.

In their study published in the Journal of Zoology, they wrote, “Assuming body size is a proxy for competitive ability, small adult male dogs may place urine marks higher, relative to their own body size, than larger adult male dogs to exaggerate their competitive ability.”

Indirect interaction

As anyone who owns a smaller dog knows, size is just a state of mind. (Photo: Little Moon/Shutterstock)

The researchers recorded adult male dogs while they urinated on walks, then calculated the angle of their legs when raised during marking. They compared those calculations to the dogs’ height and mass and measured the height of the urine marks on the dogs’ chosen targets.

“Small males seemed to make an extra effort to raise their leg high—some small males would almost topple over,” McGuire tells New Scientist. “So, we wondered whether small males try to exaggerate their body size by leaving high urine marks.”

As expected, when the dogs lifted a leg at a greater angle, they hit higher on a surface. But they found that small dogs angled the leg proportionately higher than larger dogs, resulting in marking higher than expected for their small stature. The researchers said it’s likely the goal is to deceive other male dogs.

“Direct social interactions with other dogs may be particularly risky for small dogs,” says McGuire.

Because they can’t measure up physically with larger dogs, smaller dogs can establish a virtually larger presence this way.

So they aim high to look big.

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“So they aim high to look big.”

I’m sure there must be a joke somewhere there but can’t find it!!

So closing with another two pics of our little ones.

Pedy

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Pedy in front of Sweeny. Picture taken October, 2016.

Loving our dogs beyond everything else.

Stories like this one today are so incredibly inspiring!

The following article was published by Mother Nature Network the last day of July.

But it’s not just about saving the life of a dog! Do see my note at the end re The Dodo Twitter feed.

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Hero hiker says angels and laughter helped her carry hurt dog down mountain to safety

MARY JO DILONARDO July 31st, 2018

When Vargas’s dad saw her carrying a dog, he laughed and said, ‘Isn’t this hike hard enough?’ (Photo: Ted Kasper)

Every year, Tia Vargas and her dad go hiking; this summer’s trip was up Table Rock in the Grand Tetons in early July. Vargas was just below the 11,000-foot peak with her dad waiting about a mile down the trail when she ran into a distraught family of hikers who had found an injured English springer spaniel.

They couldn’t find the limping pup’s owner and, because the family had kids in tow, Vargas figured it would be easier for her to carry the pup to safety.

“I had to crawl under him to get him up on my shoulders,” Vargas, a single mother of three from Idaho Falls, Idaho, tells MNN. “I felt the difficulty of it right away. I never felt 55 pounds like that before.”

Vargas soon ran into her dad, Ted Kasper, who snapped some photos when he saw his daughter coming down the trail with a dog on her shoulders.

Vargas was hoping to run into other people on the trail, but she had to carry Boomer by herself. (Photo: Ted Kasper)

“Dad laughed and said, ‘Isn’t this hike hard enough? You have to carry a dog too?'” Vargas recalls. “My dad makes me laugh. He is such a great man.”

That sense of humor helped Vargas get through the ordeal of carrying the heavy dog down the steep trail, she says. The trek was hard and nearly unbearable at times.

“Every time I put him down so I could rest it was difficult. And every time I got down on my knees to put my head under his belly and try to use neck and body strength to lift him it was painful and difficult. I thought we would see people on the trail on the way down to help. But that wasn’t the case,” she says.

Vargas takes a break from carrying the 55-pound pup. (Photo: Ted Kasper)

The trio got lost twice because of snow and fallen trees that made the trail disappear. “I even lost my dad once and that made me feel very alone in this,” Vargas says. “He was a big comfort to me.”

At one point, Kasper offered to run down the trail and try to find help, but Vargas didn’t want to be left alone. About halfway down the trail, Vargas thought she might not be able to continue. At the time, they were lost and it had started to rain.

“The thought of stopping crossed my mind once. My legs hurt and were shaking,” she says. “When I wanted to quit is when I prayed. Prayer gave me the strength. That and my dad’s jokes. He made me laugh and it gave me energy. And feeling the angels lift the dog off of my neck was what I needed to continue on.”

Lost dog named Boomer

Boomer is in a cast from his 100-foot fall, but vets are hopeful it will heal without surgery. (Photo: Tia Vargas)

Finally hiking six miles and reaching the bottom of the trail, Vargas found a very small note that said, “Lost dog named Boomer, call this number.”

She called the owners, who thought for sure Boomer was dead. They had gone hiking together the day before and Boomer had fallen off a 100-foot cliff and rolled 200 feet. When the family rushed down to find him, he was gone. They looked for him until dark, so Boomer had spent one night out there, alone and injured.

“I was so excited to tell them their dog was very much alive,” Vargas says. “Dad and I couldn’t wait to hear their reaction.”

It turns out that the family loved Boomer very much, but they were moving to Arizona and couldn’t take him with them. They already had a family lined up to adopt him, but when they heard Vargas’s incredible story, the new adopters reluctantly let her adopt him instead.

‘One of my kids now’

Boomer is now part of the Vargas family. (Photo: Tia Vargas)

A trip to the vet found that Boomer was very fortunate: he had mostly bumps, bruises and scratches from his big fall, as well as a dislocated joint with torn ligaments in his leg. Boomer is in a cast now while his new family waits to see whether the joint will hopefully heal on its own without surgery.

Vargas says the 4-year-old pup loves to do tricks and have his belly rubbed. He loves to explore and smell everything and always wants to put his head in her lap. Vargas, who is a substitute teacher, Zumba instructor and sells jewelry, has started a Facebook page for Boomer because so many people are now following his story.

“He is 100 percent part of the family. His personality is perfect with mine and the kids. We all love him so much,” Vargas says. “They begged me for a dog and I was worried because it’s a lot of time and work. I told them no for so long. And I told them if we get a dog it would have to be dropped in my lap and already trained. And he is both of those and so much more. He feels like one of my kids now.”

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Isn’t that just the most wonderful story!

Now I must publicly thank John Zande; he of The Superstitious Naked Ape blog site. For the other day John mentioned a ‘thread’ on Twitter under the title of The Dodo. If I mention that The Dodo has over 1 million followers you will get the idea that it offers some very compelling ‘Tweets’. You bet!

Try this:

Or this:

There are too many humans in this world who are motivated by money, by power and by greed.

Thank goodness there are many others who are motivated by their love for animals!

Taking our dogs out and about.

Another great article from Mary Jo of MNN

On Monday I published an article written by Wendy Lipscomb about summer heat for dogs, especially for long-haired dogs. It was well-received!

That article implied that our dogs frequently go out with us more often than not.

Summer brings in many outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, running and going for a picnic or maybe going out just for a walk. There is nothing wrong with taking your dog out with you if you know how to regulate your pet’s body temperature.

But Mary Jo of Mother Nature Network published an article just a few days ago that offers another perspective. Here it is!

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Please don’t take your dog everywhere

Not all dogs are happy at public events.

by MARY JO DILONARDO, May 11, 2018.

Always be in tune to your dog’s body language when you take him to a public event. (Photo: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock)

Whether it’s a farmers market or a summer art festival, when the weather warms up, people head outside. And when they go outdoors, many people take their dogs. But while plenty of pups are happy to browse the produce stands and mingle with hundreds of strange people and their pets, there are many who are stressed by the adventure.

Some owners just assume that if they’re having fun, their dogs are happy, too. But not all dogs love the noises and smells, people and activity that come with going to outdoor events or restaurants. They get nervous and maybe even cranky when faced with scary or new situations.

Chicago trainer Greg Raub suggests asking yourself a few questions before snapping on the leash and taking your pup with you:
  • Will my dog be comfortable at the event or would he be happier at home?
  • Can I be sure my dog won’t react aggressively if a stranger rushes up to him?
  • Can I make sure my dog won’t get into something like dropped food or trash?
  • Even though my dog is harmless, could he scare little kids because of his size or looks?
  • Will it get too hot for my dog if I can’t find a spot in the shade?

Tips for a good outing

If you decide to take your dog to a public event, it’s key to set him up for success, says Maryland trainer Juliana Willems.

First up, she says, don’t use a retractable leash.

“There is hardly any control with these leashes, and in high activity environments you need all the control you can get,” she writes on her blog. “For the sake of all other dogs and owners at the event, I encourage you to stick to 4′ or 6′ standard leashes.”

Then, make sure to stuff your pockets with treats.

“I understand that shoving a bunch of treats in your dog’s mouth won’t solve real problems, but it can sure help manage some when you’re out in a distracting environment,” she says. “Oftentimes when there is an overwhelming amount of stimuli, your dog will only pay attention to you if you’ve got something they want: yummy food. In new environments it is essential to be able to capture your dog’s focus. Treats will help enormously for this, especially if they are high value.”

Pick and choose

Some dogs might be very stressed at an outdoor cafe, while other might enjoy watching the people go by. (Photo: Budimir Jevtic/Shutterstock)

Just be smart about when your pet tags along, suggests veterinarian Patty Khuly, V.M.D.

“Over time, I’ve learned that your life has to be 100 percent dog-friendly if your dog is going to tag along 100 percent of the time. And precious few of our lives are that accommodating,” she writes in Vetstreet.

For example, Khuly says that she only takes one of her four dogs to outdoor restaurants because her other three don’t have the right dispositions.

“There’s no point in taking your dog to a restaurant if he doesn’t have the temperament for it, won’t enjoy it or if it will cause a lot of disruption. But smaller, well-behaved and socialized dogs may be just fine.”

Look for signs of stress

Wherever you go with your pup, it’s key that you always pay attention to him. That’s not only so his leash doesn’t get tangled in a stroller, but it’s primarily so you can sense his mood.

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of stress so you know when it’s time to take off. Here are some of the most common things to look for, according to veterinarian Lynn Buzhardt, D.V.M. of VCA Hospitals.

  • Yawning
  • Nose or lip licking
  • Pacing or shaking
  • Whining, barking or howling
  • Pulled or pinned-back ears
  • Tail lowered or tucked
  • Cowering
  • Panting
  • Diarrhea
  • Avoidance or displacement (focusing on something else like sniffing the ground or turning away)
  • Hiding or escape behaviors (hiding behind you, digging, running away)

If you notice any of these stress signs, take your dog home or at least give him a break from all the activity.

“Dogs are extremely sensitive and can go from being fine to absolutely not fine in a matter of minutes. It is essential that you stay in tune to how your dog is reacting to other dogs or people, and the minute things start getting hairy, you skedaddle,” says Willems. “Your dog might not necessarily need to leave all together, but a time out away from all the hubbub can really help a dog’s mentality.”

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Must close by including the following:

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

We are on the verge of a thunderstorm arriving so please forgive me for signing off without delay.

Do animals have broken hearts?

Just too beautiful for words!

Not that the sub-heading is going to stop me republishing a most beautiful article that appeared on Mother Nature Network on May, 3rd.

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Heartbroken goose misses his bulldog pal

Neighbors join search to reunite these unlikely animal friends.
by MARY JO DILONARDO, May 3, 2018.

Several people stopped after spotting the unlikely pair along a busy highway. (Photo: Amanda Georgewill)

Sadie and Sal are the unlikeliest of friends. Sadie is a brindle bulldog who lives in Harnett County, North Carolina. Sal — who also goes by Gary — is a goose, and Sadie’s biggest fan and protector.
According to neighbors who posted online, Sal initially kept four ducks and a chicken in line, but his fowl brigade eventually disappeared, likely because of foxes that roam the area.

So Sal set his sights on Sadie and the pair became inseparable. Although Sadie has an owner, the two wandered around the area together, pretty much adopted by the neighbors who liked to feed the friendly pup when she stopped by.

“That goose,” neighbor Wanda Holder told the News & Observer, “takes his long, long neck and rubs on that dog.”

One day in late April, the pair wandered a little farther away from home than usual. They strolled along Highway 27, and the sight of the unlikely adventurers caused people to pull over and try to help.

“We stopped to help the Canadian goose keep the bulldog out of the road … and the goose got (angry),” wrote David Zapata in a Facebook post. “Started chasing everyone around and trying to bite anybody that got near the dog. You can’t make this (stuff) up.”

According to witnesses, a woman slipped a collar and leash on Sadie and managed to get the bulldog into her car. The goose chased the car for a while, honking angrily, and then he gave up.

“It sorta broke my heart to see the two separated, it really did,” Zapata wrote. “You could tell they were pals.”

Sadie and Sal stroll a little too far from home. (Photo: David Zapata/Facebook)

Searching for Sadie

Sal found his way back home, but no one knows what happened to Sadie.

Amanda Georgewill happened to be driving by before Sadie was scooped up. She posted the image of the dog and goose on several North Carolina lost dog pages, hoping the woman who took Sadie would realize the pup had a home.

“I pulled over to help and snapped the picture first just in case,” Georgewill tells MNN. “I just want those two to be reunited.”

The photo has sparked hundreds of shares and dozens of comments as people have likened the unusual pair to the stars of a Disney movie or the perfect characters for a children’s book.

But they’ve mostly pleaded for the woman who picked up Sadie to return her.

Online, there are plenty of theories about what happened to the neighborhood’s favorite bulldog. Did the woman take the dog because she thought it was in danger, being mistreated, or did she just want to keep it for herself?

Neighbors say Sal has been moping. He goes to the main highway where Sadie disappeared and squawks for a few minutes before returning home. One neighbor posted that within the last few months, the dog and goose had also accepted a kitten into their pack, so Sal is taking care of his feline friend while he waits for his pup to return.

“I thought it was really cool how the goose and dog paired up as friends to travel around,” Zapata tells MNN. “Definitely a rarity.”

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Both in our human world and in the world of animals friendship, especially across different species of animal, is so, so beautiful!

Please join me and Jean in hoping that Sadie returns to be with Sal.

Friendship cat and dog style

It’s stories like this that put a smile on one’s face (and heart!).

Most evenings, after we have finished supper we go into the den, as we call it, and watch a few hours of television. This room has doors to the other rooms in the house and, therefore, during the day may be closed off. Reason why that is useful is that the den is home to our three cats.

Thus, after supper the dogs and the cats get to mingle together, as this photograph of Pedi and Mitts so well illustrates.

All of which is a great introduction to a post that was recently seen over on Mother Nature Network and is republished here for all you good people.

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Dog and kitten are best friends in hiking and life

The best place to see the world is from atop your BFF’s head.

MARY JO DILONARDO   December 6, 2017.

Baloo’s favorite spot to hang out is on Henry’s head. (Photo: henrythecoloradodog/Instagram)

Henry wasn’t the first dog Cynthia Bennett and her boyfriend spotted when they went looking for a canine pal a few years ago, but he’s certainly the one that won them over.

“I had my eyes set on a golden mix puppy, but when I saw the lanky Henry sitting there I had to see him,” Bennett tells MNN. “When we got into the pen with him, he immediately climbed into my lap and went belly up. It was then I knew that we were taking him home.”

 The couple brought the pup back to their home in Colorado where they hoped he would fit into their active, outdoorsy lifestyle. Fortunately, bold Henry was all in. But not long after it became clear that Henry was also extremely stressed out. Cynthia thought maybe a kitten companion might help ease Henry’s anxiety, while also offering another adventure buddy for the family.

She spent several months looking for just the right feline friend. Most, she says, just didn’t have the right personality she wanted for an adventurous cat. Then she met a Siamese kitten mix named Baloo.

“Baloo however convinced me to bring him home in under a minute. He was super playful and curious and the biggest love bug.”

Henry and Baloo hit it off immediately and are the best of friends, Bennett says.

“They do everything together, eat, sleep, hike and have become inseparable. It took only one day of them getting used to each other and then they started immediately snuggling and playing. It happened so quickly.”

Not only are the pair adventure buddies, they also have quite a following on Instagram. One of their most popular poses is Baloo comfortably perched (and sometimes sleeping) on Henry’s head.

It’s a natural fit, Bennett says.

“Baloo feels much safer with Henry around and is constantly looking up to him. So if he is on Henry, he feels even more comfortable,” she says. “They are the best of friends, especially on hikes. Baloo follows Henry and Henry just lights up when he realizes that Baloo is coming too.”

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That photograph of Henry and Baloo is so wonderful that I will close today’s post by sharing it with you again but cropped to really focus on them both.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thanks for our dogs!

And all our other loved animals!

Saw the following on the Mother Nature Network site and knew today was the day to share it with you.

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Which Thanksgiving foods are safe for pets?

You know dogs and cats will be eyeing that holiday table.

MARY JO DILONARDO November 20, 2017

It can be hard to resist those sad, pleading faces. (Photo: Chendongshan/Shutterstock)

Thanksgiving is all about being grateful, of course, but it’s also about food — lots and lots of food. Your kitchen and dining room table will be overflowing with all sorts of tasty offerings, as tempting smells fill the air from early morning until late at night.

While entertaining your guests and seeing to your culinary responsibilities, don’t forget to keep a watchful eye on your pets. It will be hard for them to resist the food from your feast, but some items can cause problems for our furry friends.

Here are some Thanksgiving foods that are hazards and others that are OK in moderation.

1. Turkey: Unless you’re serving a vegetarian meal, the centerpiece of the holiday meal is a turkey, and how could you let your four-legged buddy miss out? Just do so in moderation and watch what you serve, cautions the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. If you offer your pet a small bite, make sure that it’s well-cooked and has no bones. Raw or undercooked turkey can contain salmonella bacteria, which can make your pet sick. Never give your pet turkey bones.

2. Stuffing: Stuffing can be packed with ingredients like onions, garlic, raisins and grapes that can make your dog or cat sick. Anything with onions, garlic, chives, leeks or scallions should be off-limits to your pet. Onions and garlic can damage red blood cells and cause gastroenteritis. Cats and certain breeds of dogs (like the Akita and Shiba Inu) appear to be more sensitive, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure.

3. Mashed potatoes: If you get to the potatoes before they’re smothered in butter, milk and salt, you’re in luck. It’s OK to offer your pet a small dollop of plain cooked spuds.

Turkey and plain sweet potatoes are OK for your dog, but only in small portions (and be sure to remove the bones from the turkey!) (Photo: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock)

4. Sweet potatoes: These orange tubers are a healthy alternative to white potatoes, as long as you get them to your pet before they’re smothered in marshmallows, butter or brown sugar. A small, plain cooked bite is OK.

5. Gravy: Skip this rich addition to your pet’s meal. If you want to liven up a doggy or kitty dinner, add a dash of low-sodium chicken broth instead.

6. Green beans: These tasty green veggies are a healthy treat year-round. They’re full of vitamins and low in calories. Just be sure to avoid any extra toppings like melted butter, garlic or fried onions.

7. Carrots: These veggies are good for your pet, served cooked or raw. They’re high in fiber and vitamins and low in calories. Plus crunching on raw carrots can be good for a dog’s teeth. Just make sure you don’t feed them to your pet if the carrots are swimming in a sugary glaze.

8. Cranberry sauce: Check what’s in your classic holiday concoction. Some recipes are high in sugar or have alcohol, neither of which is good for pets. Other recipes include grapes, raisins or currants, points out the American Kennel Club, which are toxic to animals. Feeding a small bite of plain cranberry sauce is probably OK, but your pet may not even like it. Some critters turn up their nose at the tart taste.

9. Pumpkin pie: Most pet owners know plain, canned pumpkin is a good thing to help with irregular digestion, but that doesn’t mean pumpkin pie has the same benefits. This tasty holiday mainstay has lots of sugar and spices that aren’t necessary or beneficial for your pet. Plus, the whipped cream or topping may be too rich for dogs and hard to digest for lactose-intolerant cats, says Vetstreet. If you want your BFF to get a taste of the season, offer a scoop of plain, canned pumpkin instead.

When there’s so much going on in the kitchen, counter surfers can have a field day. (Photo: Kachalkina Veronika/Shutterstock)

Some tips:

Watch where you put things. You probably have a lot more going on in the kitchen than usual. Don’t leave garbage bags unattended or food within reach, tempting counter surfers.

Beware of bread dough. If you’re making homemade bread, keep it out of your pet’s reach. When a dog or cat eats raw yeast bread dough, the unbaked dough expands in a warm, moist stomach, as the sugars are converted to carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The result is bloat and alcohol poisoning, which can be a life-threatening emergency.

Keep an eye on alcohol. Don’t leave out cups of spiked beverages for your pet to lap up, but also remember that there’s alcohol in some other items like fruitcake. Just a small amount of alcohol (by human standards) can be toxic for pets.

Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.

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Well done, Mary Jo, and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and to all you dear readers.