Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hot Dogs

I've been somewhat irritated by Caitlin's habit of repeatedly soaking her entire head in the water bowls at every opportunity and then rolling around in the mud. I take her home looking like the Swamp Thing almost every single day.
Even a muddy Caitlin is cuter than this!
I'm wrong to be irritated (and Rob is wrong that Caitlin isn't smart). Caitlin is keeping herself cool, which is something every smart dog should do in warm weather.

I wasn't able to find out how many dogs die every summer from heat stroke. The best guesses are that the numbers are in the thousands. No one really keeps track.

One fairly recent death in San Diego was of a greyhound who died in August of last year. The owner took the dog for a walk, not thinking there would be a problem, as it was breezy, with a temperature of 76 degrees. Apparently, they didn't recognize the signs of trouble, and they lost their dog.

Don't ever, ever, ever, leave your dog in the car, even with the windows open.

A fair number of police dogs die, mostly in cars, every summer. In 2008, a San Diego police officer's Belgian Malinois died after being left in the patrol car for several hours. the officer was charged with a misdemeanor. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1998&dat=20080815&id=i4kiAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xqoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1308,7025189

That poor dog probably died long before the "several hours" he had been left. A car in the sun becomes an oven within 10 to 20 minutes, and a dog can be at death's door within 10 minutes of exhibiting symptoms. Once a dog gets to that point, it is at risk of serious organ damage even if it survives.

Symptoms to watch for are rapid panting, wide eyes, salivating, staggering and weakness. Once the dog collapses, it is in grave danger.

Here are some links that give advice on how to recognize the symptoms and what to do:

I'm going to be watching all the dogs at Harry Griffen Park a lot more carefully from now on.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

William Wegman's Dog Portraits

There's an article about William Wegman in today's U-T, and since I didn't know anything about him,  I decided to check.

Here's an example of his work:
The gushing paragraph that accompanies the photos is to my mind, pretty representative of the sort of art (or literary) criticism you have to digest in college classes: "This artistic approach to exhibiting man’s best friend is a refreshing twist to the mundane snap shots of pets as so often seen..."

I prefer the "mundane" snap shots that Rob takes at the dog park.

Some years ago when we were on a trip through Northern California, I stopped at a bookshop and on impulse bought a book called Why Cats Paint: A Theory of Feline Aesthetics, by Burton Silver, illustrated by Heather Busch. Reading it in the motel that night, I literally fell out of bed, I was laughing so hard.
It purported to be a critique of serious feline art, examples of which may be seen in the Museum of Non-Primate Art in Tokyo. 

An example: Near the end of the book is a photograph of a cat with a mouse dangling from her mouth. the caption reads: "...Radar prepares a mouse for one of her nocturnal installations. These sometimes involve the use of stairs to create interesting spatial juxtapositions."

Below that is a large photograph of an "installation," consisting of two dead mice on a carpet.

Everyone I know who studied either art or literature in college (I was an English major) finds the book hysterically funny. People who have never had the pleasure of taking an art criticism class can't understand what's so amusing about it.

Before I met Rob, our family had a cat named Pumpkinhead who used to put live mice in milk bottles for the milkman to pick up in the morning. Was she creating works of art?

I think milk bottles with mice are a "refreshing twist" on "mundane" bottles full of milk.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Surf Dogs

This is the second year that Rob and I have gone to clinics for the Helen Woodward Dog Surf-a-Thon. http://www.animalcenter.org/events/surfdog/

The dogs can practice surfing at several clinics before the main event in September. We went to the actual event last year, but it was a zoo. The clinics were more fun--dogs running around everywhere, some surfing, some being pushed around on surfboards by hopeful owners, and some just enjoying themselves. Of course, last year we didn't have Caitlin. I was really looking forward to taking her this year.

In spite of perfect weather, it was a flop as far as we were concerned. The few dogs that were there were all leashed except for the ones who were actually surfing. We let Caitlin off anyway, and she had about 10 minutes of play in the surf with a chocolate lab who was also unleashed, before a lifeguard came and ordered us to leash them. It took us another 5 minutes to catch the two dogs. The lifeguard continued up the beach shouting at the few other scofflaws she found. At least she didn't fine us.

Caitlin wasn't interested in walking around the beach on a leash, so we left. We planned to take her to OB instead, but the traffic for Seaworld was so heavy by then that Rob made the "executive decision" to go home instead.

We'll go to the dog park instead.

There are 3 more clinics, on August 11th, 18th, & 25th, but I don't think we'll be going.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Nose Knows (among other things) Bedbugs

A dog's nose has got to be one of the most remarkable things in nature.

I always knew they could track missing persons, http://www.americansearchdogs.org/
Find survivors of earthquakes and other disasters, http://www.searchdogfoundation.org/
Find drugs at our airports and borders, http://www.narcdogs.com/
Find explosives http://www.atf.gov/explosives/programs/explosives-detection-canines/
Predict seizures. http://www.epilepsy.com/articles/ar_1084289240

I have lately learned that they can detect most types of cancer by sniffing
Poop samples,
And urine samples,
 And breath samples http://www.dogsdetectcancer.org/
And moles http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(01)06065-2/fulltext

Today I found a San Diego company that uses them to inspect property for bedbugs.
I guess I'm behind the times. Lots of  other companies are using them, too.
The dog in the photo is a  New York puggle named Cruiser. She had done 4 home inspections on the day the New York Times carried its article about her.

I knew that bedbugs had made a huge comeback in the last few years. It's good to know that our dogs are on the job ridding us of them.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Uses for Toilet Paper--by Caitlin (with help from Lily)

Toilet paper is fun.

If you grab one end and run with it, the paper will follow you all over the house, streaming out behind you in sinuous curves like a long white snake--reason enough for an impromptu zoomie. If you race around between table legs and over couches, you can pretty much wrap up a whole room as though it were a package with a bow--a nice present for Mommy.

Toilet paper also chews well. If you can get hold of a roll, or better yet an unopened package, you can create a lovely snow scene on the carpet. (I'm taking some poetic license here, since I've never actually seen snow--but everyone says it's white, so it must be pretty much like toilet paper.)

Another great thing to do with toilet paper is to grab it out of the toilet when Mommy flushes. The paper is whirling round and round, and you have to be fast to catch it before it disappears, but it tastes much better than plain old dry paper.

If you miss the toilet paper going down, you can still drink the water. Yum! I can't imagine why humans don't think it's good.

I know about all this because Mommy lets me come in the bathroom with her. She used to shut the door on me, but I squealed so loudly that it woke Daddy (who gets very grumpy if someone wakes him when he's trying to sleep). I like to lick Mommy  while she's sitting there.

Lately, Mommy has taken to slamming the toilet lid down as soon as she's finished. One time she actually hit my head with it.

She didn't even act sorry.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dog Takes Horse for a Walk

Another cute picture from Joni:

The Three Million Dollar Dog

This beagle glows--literally. Her creation was announced on July 27, 2011 by scientists at Seoul National University in Korea.

Born? manufactured? created? in 2009,  Togon isn't the first glowing dog, but she is the first whose glow can be controlled. She turns green when doxycycline, an antibiotic, is mixed into her food.

Scientists claim that, " A glowing dog will enable scientists to conduct valuable biomedical research. They will be able to inject the dog with human illnesses and track the illness as it progresses in the body and study the effects with a view to finding a cure."

This bothers me on enough levels that I can't even quite decide what it is that bothers me.

Partly, I guess, it's the moral ambiguity. I don't like to think about dogs (or any other animals) being injected with horrible illnesses.

A year or so ago, I read Level 4 Virus Hunters of the CDC, by Joseph B. McCormick and Susan Fisher Hoch.
A riveting book, but the diseases they worked on--Lassa Fever, Marburg, Ebola--were so horrifying that I could hardly bear to read the descriptions. Susan Hoch studied them in monkeys, and eventually quit the research because of the feelings she had come to have for the monkeys. I find it painful even to imagine deliberately inflicting that kind of suffering on dogs.

And then there's the weirdness of something so unfamiliar as a fluorescent dog. That will wear off, I suppose, as the technology becomes cheaper. GM fish are already cheap enough to be popular.
multi-colored glofish
I suppose it's only a matter of time before we'll see one of these at the dog park:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Forget the Colonoscopy! Let Fido Sniff Your Poop!

Colonoscopy, anyone? Personally, I think a root canal is more fun.

Not only that, but recent evidence suggests the test is not even accurate.
A study cited in the Annals of Internal Medicine says that "the test missed just about every cancer in the right side of the colon...and it also missed roughly a third of cancers in the left side of the colon." 

A stool sample is less invasive, but can catch only about 10% of early-stage cancers. A black lab named Marine, on the other hand, was able to identify bowel cancer with 98% accuracy when she was given poop to sniff, and her highest success rate was in detecting it early.

Dr. Hideta Sonoda, who led the research done at Kyushu University, said, "It may be difficult to introduce canine scent judgment into clinical practice owing to the expense and time required for the dog trainer and dog education." 

They're going to develop an "electronic nose" instead--if only they can figure out exactly what the dog is detecting.

In the meantime, the article concludes, Get a colonoscopy!
http://jms.rsmjournals.com/content/14/3/132.full.pdf (If you can actually understand this one, let me know.)

Medical Detection Dogs

I was planning a post on health benefits of dogs, but I'd have to write a book. In fact, Marty Becker already has. http://www.drmartybecker.com/
Dogs, it turns out, are better for you than dark green vegetables, an apple a day, or blood pressure medicine.

Today I'll share some of what I've learned about their ability to detect cancer.
Their noses are 100,000 times better than ours (for which I'm grateful, especially when you consider the sorts of things they like to sniff.) A 2006 report claimed 99% accuracy in detection of lung and breast cancer.

A British charity, Medical Detection Dogs, is training dogs, mostly rescue dogs, to detect early stage prostate cancer from urine samples. The dogs work in the lab 3 days a week, but otherwise live normal doggy lives with a loving family.
Ozzy in His Uniform
Cancerous cells release volatile organic compounds, which dogs can sniff out at a very early stage. Researchers hope, with the dogs' help, to develop more reliable detection tests than those currently available. These talented canine noses have already produced promising results in the detection of prostate and bladder cancer, the current focus of the charity's work. http://medicaldetectiondogs.org.uk/cancer_history.html

In November of 2011, British journalist Jenny Stocks accompanied a labrador retriever named Daisy as she sniffed vials of urine donated by local hospitals. Given the command, "Seek!" she quickly identified the cancerous sample on every attempt. Now all the researchers have to do is figure out what it is in the urine that Daisy can detect.

Stocks wrote, "Having spent a day at the centre, there’s no disputing the incredible talent of these dogs and their trainers. So will they be the key to identifying cancers earlier than any doctor can? ...It’s early days yet. But so far, the signs are that man’s best friend could turn out to be an even greater asset to mankind."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Leader of the Pack

Joni sent me this picture (along with several other really funny ones) today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dog Park Invictus--by Caitlin

With apologies to William Ernest Henley

Out of the sludge that covers me,
Black as the Pit from head to toe,
I thank the dogs who play with me,
Wrestling in our muddy hole.

In the fell clutch of Cindy Lou
I often growl and snap my teeth.
The one on top can stick it to
Whichever one is underneath.

Caitlin on Top of Cindy Lou

Beyond this place of muddy fun,
Looms but the Horror of the bath,
I squeal and cry and try to run,
As Mommy drags me down the path.

It matters not how hot the day,
How big the dogs who're chasing me.
The dog park's where I want to stay,
The place I always want to be.

Caitlin's Intelligence Test--Part III

Right after supper I gave Caitlin the rest of her intelligence test.

 In this part, I'm supposed to look at her for three seconds, then "smile broadly."

An almost impossible task for me. Whenever I try to smile on command, I produce the sort of rictus that you see on a corpse or a vampire

I did my best, however, and Caitlin came wagging right up to me. 5 points.

Next I gave her the part of the dog intelligence test in which you eagerly look the dog in the eye, and call in the most inviting tone you can muster, "REFRIGERATOR."

Caitlin looked at me as if to say, "Are you crazy? Or do you think I'm stupid?"

Feeling pretty stupid myself, I performed the next instruction: "MOVIES!"

Caitlin just sat there and stared at me.

Then I called, "CAITLIN."

And Caitlin, clever puppy that she is, came right away. 5 points.

So here are her final scores.

On the tin can test, I'm giving her 4 points. I'm not sure she got the hot dog within 5 seconds, but she definitely had it before 15 seconds.

On the kitchen towel test, I'm going to give her 2 points. Strictly speaking, she didn't give up. She had a plan in mind. It just wasn't the plan in the test, and since her plan involved the destruction of my towel, I gave up on her behalf. In fact, Rob says I should give her full marks for her performance.

"She was planning the canine equivalent of cutting the Gordian Knot, which shows real brains."

(Rob's opinion of Caitlin's intelligence has risen in the last few days. Coincidentally, she has been much more obedient to him lately, which, he says, has nothing to do with how smart he thinks she is.)

On the other 4 tests, she gets 5 points. Her performance was flawless.

With a total score of 26 points, Caitlin is a genius and should go to Harvard. I just hope they won't hold her failing grades in obedience school against her. Maybe she can take some remedial courses in summer school before she goes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Caitlin's Intelligence Test--Part II

Today I tried two more of the suggested tests for dog intelligence:

First I tossed  a bath towel over Caitlin's head.

I had the camera already on and in my hand, but she got out from under the towel so fast that I couldn't get a picture of her under it. Here she is out.

I guess she gets a 5 for that one.

Next I put a hot dog under the chest of drawers in the bedroom far enough under that Caitlin couldn't quite reach it with her muzzle.

She did try to get it just with her muzzle at first, but quickly realized that wouldn't work and used her paws to retrieve it.

She gets a 5 for that, too, as she definitely had it out long before 60 seconds had passed.

There are 2 more tests to come. I'll try those when she wakes up from her nap.

Friday, July 20, 2012

How Smart is Your Dog? Caitlin Takes a Test.

Rob has been telling me for some time, " I don't think Caitlin is all that smart."

I translate that to mean, "Caitlin won't do as she's told."

My personal opinion is that Caitlin is fairly bright, but extremely stubborn. But how can I be sure?

So today I went looking for dog intelligence tests and found one that looks fairly straightforward.

The dog is supposed to be at least a year old before testing. Caitlin is about 8 months-.-close enough.

Test #1: Let the dog watch you put a treat under a tin can and see how long it takes for her to retrieve it.
     Caitlin passed this with flying colors. She turned the can over got the hot dog within seconds.

Test #2: Let the dog watch you put a treat under a towel.
     Caitlin knew where the hot dog was, but she had trouble figuring out how to get it. I aborted the test when she decided that the best solution would be to chew a hole in my last good kitchen towel.
Intellectual honesty compels me to say that she failed this one.

I will try test #3 & #4 tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where the Surf Meets the Turf--Odie's Springboard to Fame

This has got to be the highlight of the Del Mar Racing Season:

The qualifying event will be held August 4 at Qualcomm Stadium, and the fastest dogs race in the San Diego Finals, held at the Del Mar racetrack on Labor Day, September 3.

I'd love to see Hilda's dog, Odie in this event.

Even if he didn't win, he'd hog all the publicity.
I can see the headlines now:

"Brave Little Dachshund Wins Hearts"
"Odie Video Goes Viral!"
"Million Dollar Advertising Contract to Odie!"
"Hollywood Discovery is a Wiener!"
"Odie Stars in Blockbuster Movie!"
"New Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame!

"Raising Global Awareness! The Odie Foundation For Dogs With Disabilities"

Odie's Second Home in Beverly Hills
When Odie has achieved fame and fortune, I hope he'll remember who started it all and post a link to my blog on his Facebook page.

Bevo--May He Rest in Peace

Caitlin has just about got the indestructible dog toy completely apart.

He is flat now, with only a tiny bit of stuffing left in the bottom of a couple of legs. She's getting the rest of that out by putting her nose all the way down into his leg.

He's still good as a tug toy, and she likes shake him vigorously from time to time, to make sure he's really dead.

I'll probably buy her another toy from this company once she stops being so destructive. Bevo was actually pretty well made, and Caitlin has certainly enjoyed having him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dog Park is Inspiration for Prizewinning App

Are you wasting your time at the dog park?

Not if you can come up with a good idea, act on it, and go on to win a $500 prize from Qualcomm.

And then, working with people from Qualcomm go on to win another prize-- $5000 this time.

Joel Drotleff's idea was so successful that he's thinking of starting a new business based on his dog-park-inspired idea.

You can read all about it in this article, which appeared in the U-T today:
http://www.imthereforyoubaby.com/2012/07/17/startup-weekend-take s-beginners-for-a-test-drive/

Joel, by the way, is not only good at apps for your smart phone. He's also a photographer, and will be one of the people judging the photos for the upcoming Canine Corners 2013 calendar.

Congratulations, Joel!

Can you write another app for us to effortlessly produce the calendar and sell thousands of them?

A Hen Sitting on Her Brood

I thought this was a cute picture:

I find these on Stumbleupon. They send links to odd stuff after you give them a list of your interests.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rules for Zoomies--by Caitlin

You can do zoomies anywhere, anytime.

I like to do them in the morning while my daddy is still in bed. It wakes him up and lets him know I'm ready to be entertained.

For morning zoomies, you start by racing around the bedroom, bouncing off the bed a few times to get the blood flowing. You then dash through every room in the house.

You mustn't run in a straight line. You have to hurtle around, under, and as much as possible, over every piece of furniture in every room. Bouncing from couch to coffee table is encouraged.

Turns must be as fast and as tight as possible without losing traction.

Intermittent "woof"s  and growls will add to the drama. Or, alternatively, you can carry a squeaky toy (I have a polka-dotted chicken that makes a satisfyingly sorrowful moan.)

Not-quite-controlled sliding as you carom around the kitchen (or other slippery surface) is especially fun, and your nails make a lovely scraping sound as you accelerate through your turns.

Out the dog door and do several high-speed tours of the garden, including a belly-flop in the pool on every circuit.

Hit the dog door in a flying leap on your way back inside. Don't shake yet, although it is permissible to rub some of the water off on the walls and furniture as you race past.

A bounding vault onto the bed should be your grand finale. If you do it right, your front paws will land in the middle of your daddy's chest and your back paws precisely on his bladder.

Then lick his face while simultaneously shaking the water out of your fur.

He will most likely get up soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bayud's Story--Will Israel's Dogs Survive?

This is Bayud.

He is a Canaan dog, Israel's National dog, and one of the last of his breed to be found in the wild. He was born in the southern desert. When the photo was taken, Bayud was living at a Bedouin camp, where his eventual role in life would have been that of guard dog. Like his father, his ears would have been cut to make him more alert before being put to work protecting the Bedouins' most valuable possessions--their camels.

Back at the Sha'ar Hagai kennels, near Jerusalem, Myrna Shiboleth had been struggling for over 40 years to save the breed from extinction in the wild. She frequently traveled to the Bedouin camps, looking for new dogs, but had not done so for several years because of difficulties in finding a male guide to accompany her. She could not have entered a Bedouin encampment as a woman alone.

She did eventually find a guide and was led on foot over a dusty trail to the camp, hidden among low hills. Dogs began barking and running toward them as they approached. Myrna was thrilled to see that they were Canaans--exactly what she was looking for.

After the women, dressed in their finest clothes, had served tea, photographs had been taken, and all the civilities observed, Myrna asked whether they might have one of the dogs. To her delight, they offered Bayud, who was the very dog she had been hoping for.

There was some trouble getting him into a crate, as the men feared to approach him. Then a woman approached, saw the situation, and put the dog into the crate without difficulty. It is the women among the Bedouin who care for the dogs and feed them. Consequently, it is only the women and children who are able to handle them.

Within a very short time after that, Bayud made the transition from semi-wild to house pet. Also, I'm sure he likes improving his breed's genetic diversity more than he'd have liked guarding camels.

Now, in 2012, Myrna's kennels are facing an eviction order from the Israeli government, with the next hearing scheduled for October. She fears that a loss in the courts will put an end to their breeding program, and consequently to their hope of saving the Canaan dog from eventual extinction.

The Bedouin way of life is disappearing. Therefore, says Ze'ev Trainen, a scientist and Israeli dog expert, "In 10 or 20 years, no more Canaan dogs will exist in the desert." Then, unless the gene pool is already broad enough, the dogs will face extinction.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Unlucky Friday the 13th? Not for this Dog!

Lily bolted at the first sound of fireworks. Her owners had taken her to Goat Island, near Niagara falls to celebrate Independence Day. After two days of searching, they had pretty much given up hope.

But today she was spotted near the rapids about 200 yards from the brink of the falls.

The park's swift water rescue team coaxed the frightened puppy with hamburger, and successfully got her across the river to safety.
She's skinnier now--but happy to be home.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fear of the Unknown

Caitlin seems to have an extremely comprehensive and detailed mental picture of all the places she normally goes.

If anything looks different to her, she starts barking (from a safe distance) at the suspicious object.

I used to put all my energy into getting her to shut up and come indoors, but now I go out and stand beside her, trying to follow her gaze to the source of the outburst.

Yesterday it was a bath towel that my grand-daughter had draped over a garden chair. Ashley had been playing with Caitlin in her paddling pool earlier in the day, and had left the towel there after drying her off. When Caitlin came out later and saw the unfamiliar shape on the chair, she went ballistic. She calmed down as soon as I picked the towel up, showed it to her and let her sniff it.

This morning as we came out of the house for our early walk, she started barking ferociously while staring across the street. Our neighbor had been clearing his bank of ivy and had left several bundles on the parkway. It took several minutes of coaxing to get her to approach and investigate the scary mounds.

Sometimes it's easy. Last week the barbecue had been knocked over by a visiting dog, and Caitlin didn't recognize it. I righted it, and voila! it was familiar once again.

Sometimes I can't figure it out. I'm not sensitive enough to appreciate the subtle change, and I suppose sometimes perhaps it isn't visual, maybe the scent of a raccoon or opossum that my poor human senses are too weak to detect.

Nevertheless, she seems to calm down once I have validated her concern by trying to understand, and usually she returns happily and quietly back into the house with me.

I wonder how much better a parent I might have been if I'd been patient enough and sensitive enough to do that more often with my step-sons.

Let's Forget About Doghouse Repairs Month

July is Doghouse Repairs Month.

I've been thinking about it for a week now, and I still can't come up with a good way to commemorate it.

Celebrating Black History Month.in February is easy. Black History is rich and varied, full people who made a difference--like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson--to name just a few.
Althea Gibson
Black History Month has had official recognition from every President since Gerald Ford.

AIDs, which has killed over 25 million people gets only a few paltry awareness days scattered throughout the year. Maybe not a lot to celebrate...but we shouldn't forget, either.

Yet doghouse repairs gets a full month.

Doghouse repairs is not the only triviality to which the month of July is dedicated. It's also the month for wheelchair beautification and eggplant. (If you'd like a more comprehensive list, here's a link:)

It seems to me that the sponsors of these "months" are getting greedy. It might be reasonable to designate the 12th of July from noon to 12:01 p.m. as "Doghouse Repairs Minute"

But a whole month??

I've already wasted too much time on it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bad Habits That Dogs Don't Have

We all know that dogs have some bad habits...
     They roll in some really disgusting stuff.
     They pee on the chairs at the dog park.
     They chew chair legs.
     They dig holes in the garden.
     They don't come when called.
On the other hand...
     They don't pick their noses (even in private).
     They don't spit on the sidewalk.
     They are never found lying drunk beside their cars on public streets.
     They have never slept with Mick Jagger (as far as I know)
     They don't deliberately cut people off on the freeway.
     They don't judge people based on the color of their skin.
     They don't care how much money you have.
     Their contribution to global warming is limited to their own emissions.
     They do not have or aspire to have nuclear weapons.
     Their tails wag, their eyes light up, and their entire body quivers with pleasure when they see us.

What more could we ask?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Save the Bacteria! Get a Dog!

There are at least 100 trillion of them in our bodies. In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, they make up 90% of our bodies.

We can't live without them. They enable us to digest our food, make vitamins, and fight off disease. They may even protect us from autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis. http://www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/wassenaar.html

In spite of which, we keep trying to kill them. We've invented well over 100 different antibiotics and a deluge of antibacterial products from hand soaps to chopsticks in our efforts to wipe out bacteria while wiping off our counter tops. In attempting to kill the "bad" ones, we're killing the "good" ones as well--and creating all sorts of problems for ourselves in the process.

We should all get dogs instead.

Kids who have dogs don't get anywhere near as many colds, coughs, and ear infections as kids who don't.

Or need to take as many antibiotics.

We don't need more antibacterial toothbrushes.

We need more dogs.


Dogs at Harry Griffen Park--Smokey

Smokey was so nervous and fearful that he wouldn't let anyone at the Riverside shelter go near him. He just cowered at the back of his cage. He was only an hour away from euthanasia when a volunteer from Labradors and Friends noticed him and took action.

Ruth Turner took him in as a foster dog about a month ago. She has worked wonders with him.

I would never have imagined that the friendly, energetic, and self-confident puppy (He's only 10 months old) was ever the dog she described to me. He is a beautiful, bouncy dog.

Ruth says, "He's up for adoption. I'm looking for a home for him...but I like him so much, I'm not looking very hard."

I liked him a lot, too. He'll be a wonderful addition to the family that adopts him.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dogs in (the News About) Wimbledon

Okay, this is a bit of a stretch, but it's as close as I could come to getting Wimbledon into a blog about dogs.

Andy Murray, who is Britain's great hope in the tennis world has a long-time girlfriend named Kim Sears.

This is from an article about her in the Telegraph:
"Miss Sears, 24, has launched her own website named Brushes and Paws to promote her painted portraits of dogs, including Maggie and Rusty, the border terriers she shares with Murray.
The English Literature graduate, who is often seen watching her partner from the sidelines, posted her first blog entry on June 14, almost a fortnight before Wimbledon started.
Referring to her love of dogs, she describes herself as “one of those people” who repeatedly photographs her pets.
On her website, she said: “Everyone I know treats their pet as an extension of themselves, so I like to think I produce quirky yet emotive paintings that effectively capture what it is we treasure most in our furry companions.
"I paint other things too, but my favourite subject matter continues to be of the four-legged variety--wet nose and wagging tail optional" "
The only website called Brushes and Paws seems to be her landing page, so I guess she hasn't actually started it yet. I did find her blog, which as far as I can see has only one posting.

Here's what is probably her original website: http://kimsears.com/wp/#!prettyPhoto[mixed]/3/
One of her paintings, entitled "Scrappy:

Here's a photo of her own dogs, Maggie and Rusty.
Had he won, Andy would have been the first British man to win at Wimbledon since 1936, but, sadly for Britain, he lost the final match to Roger Federer. Roger regained his world #1 status as well as tying Pete Sampras's record 7 Wimbledon victories. A good match!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Canine Commuters--Feral Dogs on the Moscow Subway

About 500 feral dogs live in the Moscow subway.

They have figured out to ride from station to station on the trains. Apparently, they are able to ride the escalators, know how long the train will spend in the station, can understand the names of destinations announced on the loudspeaker, and can smell when they've arrived at their chosen stop.

The dogs prefer to ride in the front or back cars, where it's quieter.

The subway dogs are well-fed. Besides scavenging in the garbage, they have learned to send the smaller, cuter dogs out to beg food from the human commuters.

One of their favorite games is to jump into the train at the very last second, just as the doors are closing--hopefully without losing their tails.

A feral dog named Malchik lived at the Mendeleyevskaya station for three years, protecting the station from drunks and other stray dogs. Then, in 2001, he was stabbed to death by a woman named Yulia Romanova, apparently because he barked at her Staffordshire bull terrier. It later turned out that Romanova had a long history of cruelty to animals. After a huge public outcry, she was arrested and had to undergo psychiatric treatment. In 2007 a statue of Malchik, entitled "Compassion," was erected at the entrance to the station.

Passersby like to rub the statue's nose "for luck."
Activists in Moscow have been petitioning for protection for 26,000 stray dogs that roam the city. The authorities had been planning to round them up and send them to a camp about 150 miles away, a move that dog lovers fear will result in their mistreatment, and possibly their death. Furthermore, the activists don't trust that the funds will be spent on the dogs and fear that they would simply be misappropriated.

The Indestructible Dog Toy (What's Left of Him)

Caitlin chewed on Bevo after I'd gone to bed on Thursday night. Here's what I found on Friday morning.
Poor Bevo's head is empty now. He has only one horn (most of it, anyway) and about half an ear.
His body is pretty much intact, although she pulled the stuffing from his left front leg through his head.
I have a carrier bag full of stuffing that I'll save to use myself.

She still loves him.

She played with him quite a bit yesterday, shaking him and pouncing on him, but his body is still largely intact, and she hasn't pulled out a whole lot more stuffing. Unfortunately, he doesn't keep her from chewing other things. There's another new hole in the backrest, I see, and some stuffing that doesn't belong to Bevo.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Looking Out For My Sister's Cat

We spent the 4th in Julian with my sister, Ollie, who has a cat.

Caitlin really wanted to get up close & personal with the cat.

The cat wanted nothing to do with Caitlin, since Caitlin had previously barked at him.

Ollie took the cat outside, and shut the door.

Ollie yelled at Caitlin  "He can see you doing that and he's really scared," and she put a board over the cat door.

Caitlin never did get to meet the cat.