Wednesday 19 December 2007
As for the dog: Abbey is a 3 year old German Shepherd and is called Sam in the film. She was not discovered on the streets of NYC or at a Hollywood casting call but was hand picked and rescued from a California kennel. Experienced trainer, Steve Berens, selected and gave her three weeks of intensive coaching before introducing her to the rest of the cast. While there may have been some "creative differences" at the start -she barked at Will when he first walked up to her- after a short while, the two became friends.
She might be the only reason I would want to see the film.
Friday 14 December 2007
Have a look at the Humane Society of the United States website and sign the pledge to stop this practice: http://www.stoppuppymills.org/
Monday 10 December 2007
There are Wag hotels in San Francisco and Sacramento at present.
Have a look on their website: http://www.waghotel.com/
Thursday 6 December 2007
Saturday 1 December 2007
"One of the most disgusting things humans sometimes do to their dogs is debarking. Dogs come with voices; it is up to us to train them not to be chatterboxes. Debarking a dog by severing his vocal cords is an abomination."
First: I did not know this practice existed and I will check with my vet whether this is done here in Belgium. Second: I did not know the word debarking.
Wednesday 28 November 2007
“ I had, without emotion, ordered battles which were to decide the fate of the army; I beheld, with a dry eye, the execution of those operations, by which numbers of my countrymen were sacrificed; and here I was upset, my feelings roused, by the mournful howling of a dog.”
Saturday 24 November 2007
They do a fantastic job. Old and sick animals are looked after and not systematically put down. Over a period of 10 months 385 dogs and 328 cats were adopted; 152 dogs and 7 cats were reunited with their owners.
“Au fond du vieux refuge, dans une niche en bois,
Depuis deux ans je purge, d’avoir trop cru en toi,
Tous les jours je t’attends, certain que tu viendras,
Tous les soirs je m’endors, sans que tu sois là.
Ton absence me pèse et les jours sont si longs.
Mon corps s’épuise et mon cœur se morfond.
Je n’ai plus goût à rien et je deviens si laid,
Que personne, jamais, ne voudra m’adopté »
Friday 23 November 2007
Wednesday 21 November 2007
Sunday 18 November 2007
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit behaviour problems when they are left alone. The most common of these behaviours are: digging, scratching at doors or furniture, howling, barking, urination and defecation. These behaviours are not an attempt by the dog to punish or seek revenge on his owner for leaving him alone. Nor is it boredom. It is part of a panic response.
His anxiety is the result of the separation from his master not merely the result from being left alone. If your dog is a sufferer, these are some simple tips:
What NOT to do?
-Punish the dog as soon as you come into the house. Punishing will actually increase his separation anxiety.
-Getting another pet as a companion. The dog wants his master as a companion not another animal.
-Putting the dog in a crate. This will not calm him but increase his panic responses.
-Training the dog. This is a paradox. Formal training is, of course, a good idea but in this case the dog is not being disobedient nor does he show lack of training. It is a severe panic response.
What to do then?
-Keep arrivals and departures low-key. Ignore the dog – and this is difficult – for a few minutes when you get home before patting him.
-Leave the dog with an item of that smells of you. An old t-shirt you’ve slept in, for instance.
-Leave the radio or television on when you leave the house.
-Train your dog to stay by himself in the house and not to follow your every step. Leave him in another room whilst you do the ironing, for instance.
-Pretend to go out. Put on your coat and take your car keys and go out of the door. Return within the minute. Repeat this frequently during the day. Once the dog has accepted this, increase the time you have gone. Associate this with reassuring words such as “I’ll be back”.
I am often asked about this problem. Invariably this occurs in puppies or young dogs or adopted dogs and which are left alone whilst there owners are at work or out all day.
I do not take very kindly to this. What is the point of having a dog in such a case?
A dog needs companionship, needs to interact with humans, needs to be walked, needs to be stimulated and needs to be safe in the knowledge his master will return.
Friday 16 November 2007
Monday 12 November 2007
In this time of remembrance, let us have a thought for all those brave animals which in their way contributed to the war effort. Here is the story of Stubby who was adopted by the 102nd Infantry, 26th (Yankee) Division, at Yale Field, New Haven, CT, in the spring of 1917. It is not known where he came from or what his pedigree was, but he appeared to be several weeks old at the time of his arrival. Throughout his service, his caretaker was J. Robert Conroy. In July 1917, he was smuggled aboard the S.S. Minnesota at Newport News, VA, and sailed to France with his unit. Following winter training of his unit, Stubby went to the front and by February 1918, he was in the trenches. Fitted with his own gas mask, Stubby underwent several gas attacks and was adept at warning the troops when gas was approaching their positions. On April 20, 1918, he was wounded in the left foreleg by a shell fragment during the Battle of Seicheprey. He earned one wound stripe and three service stripes. He participated in 17 engagements in four World War I offensives. After the Armistice, Stubby met President Woodrow Wilson when the President visited the 102nd Infantry regiment in France on Christmas Day 1918. When Stubby's unit returned to the United States in 1919, the dog was again smuggled aboard ship for the return trip. Upon his return home, he was made a life member of the American Legion, the American Red Cross and the YMCA. Stubby died in 1926, and his remains were preserved with technical assistance from the Smithsonian Institution. A plaster cast was made of his body, his skin was mounted on the cast, and his cremated remains were interred within the cast. For many years, he was on display at the National Red Cross Museum. On May 22, 1956, his master, J. Robert Conroy, presented Stubby to the Smithsonian. Included with the gift were a brass-studded collar, a leather harness, a scrapbook containing the history of Stubby, and a chamois blanket embroidered by women from the village of Chateau Thierry ( Marne region ) with the flags of the Allies and decorated with various badges and medals.
Stubby is one of many heroes.
Friday 9 November 2007
Tuesday 6 November 2007
To sign the petition to stop this madman exhibiting, click here:
This is the letter I, as others in the blogworld, shall be writing to the organisers of Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008 where Habacuc Vargas is to represent Costa Rica.
Centro Nacional de la Cultura
Antigua Fábrica Nacional de Licores.
Avenida 3, calle 15/17.
Fax: (506) 257 8702
I am writing regarding the horrifying actions of Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, who paid local children to catch a dog on the street and then confined, starved and publicly displayed the dog as an "art" exhibit until the innocent animal died of starvation.
I, along with many people worldwide, am outraged that Guillermo Habacuc Vargas has been selected to represent Costa Rica in "Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008.” This man is by no definition of the word an artist. He is a criminally insane sadist and enjoys inflicting prolonged suffering upon his innocent victims. He is a danger to all of society, as it is well-documented that those with the capacity to intentionally cause harm to an animal have the same capacity to harm humans. To state that this animal would have died eventually of natural causes is unjustifiable and defies logical, rational thought.
To allow Guillermo Habacuc Vargas to represent Costa Rica in Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008 will in no way benefit Costa Rica. The world is watching, and the actions of this so-called artist have brought many negative assumptions as to the humanity of the people of Costa Rica. The fact that many witnesses of this animal’s suffering did nothing, and that the organizers of this event allowed this to happen, rather than taking action to see that Guillermo Vargas be criminally charged with animal abuse, is sending the world a message that Costa Rica is a cruel, uncivilized society that has no regard for life, but enjoys viewing and contributing to the loss of life.
Each and every person who knew of and witnessed the suffering of this innocent dog is guilty of causing its unnecessary death. To let this crime go unpunished, and instead to reward Guillermo Vargas by choosing him to represent Costa Rica in Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008 is unacceptable and shameful, not only to Costa Rica but to all participants in this event.
I urge you, do not condone the heinous actions of Guillermo Vargas by allowing him to participate in Bienal Centroamericana Honduras 2008. He should be jailed and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for this animal’s death, and should not be allowed to represent Costa Rica as an artist, for to refer to him as such is an insult to all true artists.
Friday 2 November 2007
If you live in Tokyo and you don’t have the time, money or space for a pet of your own, you can rent one by the hour. Puppy the World, the rental pet shop in Odaiba, a trendy shopping and entertainment district, has more than 50 breeds of dog, mostly small dogs like toy poodles, Chihuahuas, dachshunds or French bulldogs. Medium size dogs like border collies and Labradors have recently been added to the list. A complete list of dogs is available on the shop’s website and dogs can be booked in advance (see link below). Dogs can be chosen to match your personality.
The hourly charge is 20 € and includes the dog, of course, a lead, some tissue paper and a plastic bag in case the dog soils the squeaky clean pavements. Each person who rents a dog is under strict instructions not to let it off the lead, to keep it in the shade in case of hot weather and to refrain from giving it sweets. Oh yes, and to return it alive! At the end of the rental period, the dog can also be groomed and be taken to the canine café, Puppy’s Dining. For 100 €, the dogs can be rented overnight. Food, drinking bowl and a cage are provided.
To the Japanese with a fondness for animals but who are unable to raise pets because of their cramped living conditions, overcrowded streets and strict housing rules, shops like these are seen as a godsend. The concept started 3 years ago with 17 shops and apparently now Tokyo alone has 115 such shops. Whilst puppy love is booming, vets and animal welfare organisations are very concerned about the dogs well being. It is very traumatic and stressful for dogs to be constantly manipulated like cuddly toys. It is a source of anxiety for them to be walked and pampered by different people. Some react badly to being endlessly kissed and cuddled. Many dogs show severe physical symptoms like stomach upsets. Also dogs can become aggressive which can lead to the dog bearing its teeth and to biting. And then what?
Tuesday 30 October 2007
And the winners are.... Alice, Poppy, Megan, Anna and Oliver.
At the world's first international awards for canine film stars, given out at a ceremony at the London Film Festival on sunday, the corgis were named as the Best Historical Hounds as well as picking up a Best in the World prize.
The awards are the brainchild of Toby Rose, the creator of the Palm Dog Award, which is part of the Cannes Film Festival.
"Dogs are key, pivotal characters on the big screen, but they never get any recognition for their work," he explained.
The corgis, standing in for the Queen's pets in the film, also won praise from Dame Helen Mirren. She said they were a joy to work with. Their owner and trainer, Liz Smith from Suffolk told reporters that there was a lot of work involved in their performance and further said: "No one was allowed to make a fuss of them because we had to make sure they had no distractions," she said. Despite all the work, however, the corgis enjoyed their stint on camera. According to Smith, the dogs "got on very well" with their on-screen queen, Mirren.
Thursday 25 October 2007
So here is the story: In the 19th century, a boy named Nello became an orphan at the age of two when his mother died in the Ardennes. His grandfather, Johan Daas, who lived in a small village, Hoboken, near the city of Antwerp, took him in. One day, Nello found a dog, who was almost beaten to death, and named him Patrasche. Due to Johan’s good care, the dog recovered from his wounds and from then on Nello and Patrasche were inseparable. Since they were very poor, Nello had to help his grandfather financially by selling milk. Patrasche helped him pull the milk cart which Nello used to sell milk in the town. Nello made friends with, Aloise, the daughter of a well-off man in the village. The father didn't want his daughter to befriend a pauper. Although Nello was illiterate, he was very talented at drawing. He took part in a junior drawing contest in Antwerp, hoping to win the first prize of 200 francs per year. However, the jury selected somebody else. Afterhis grandfather’s death his life became desperate. Being homeless and orphaned, Nello wanted to go to the cathedral of Antwerp and see Rubens The Elevation of the Cross. But he didn't have enough money to enter. On Christmas Eve, he went to the cathedral with Patrasche and, by chance, the door to the church was open, and he found the painting he loved. The next morning the villagers came looking for the boy and found him with his dog frozen to death in front of the triptych.
Sunday 21 October 2007
Since the first lifeboats to be launched were not full, no one objected to dogs being carried in them. It is recorded that a Pomeranian belonging to Elizabeth Barrett Rothschild, 54, wife of leather magnate Martin Rothschild was lucky. Martin went down with the ship but Elizabeth and her pet survived. They were on the lifeboat 6.
Margaret Hays, 24, travelling alone, managed to carry her Pomeranian to Lifeboat 7.
Henry Sleeper Harper of the publishing company, 48, and his Pekinese went to the Lifeboat 3 and managed to escape unharmed.
As for the other dogs they drowned like their owners even though someone took pity on the dogs and let them out of their kennels, unable to bear the thought of them drowning while being trapped in there.
A canary, it would seem, also survived to the sinking!
Ann Isham, 50, refused to enter in the lifeboat without her large Great Dane. She was found in the water two days after the sinking of the ship embracing her dog.
One dog however was a real hero! The first officer's large black Newfoundland, Rigel, stayed behind with the ship. He treaded the icy waters after the sinking, desperate to find his master. At the same time, the SS Carpathia was speeding to the scene to search for survivors. In the darkness, no one saw that a lifeboat was in its path and the passengers were too weak to shout or signal their presence. Reports say Rigel swam between the lifeboat and the SS Carpathia, barking continuously. Finally, the Captain heard Rigel and ordered to stop all engines. The dog swam in front of the lifeboat and guided it to safety. Once on board, Rigel seemed physically unaffected by his ordeal. He stood with paws on the rail barking in futility for his lost master until he was taken below for food and medical attention. Jonas Brigg, one of the Carpathia’s sailors adopted Rigel.
Thursday 18 October 2007
Wednesday 17 October 2007
Dogs smell other dogs faeces as a way of learning about them. From this, the dog can tell the sex of the dog who left it. If it’s a male’s it will tell it how masculine he was and if it’s a female’s whether she is coming into season or is on heat. So vital information is passed on this way. However some dogs eat other dogs’ stools which is not so pleasant. This is know as coprophagy from the Greek copros meaning faeces and from phagein meaning to eat.
There are many theories why dogs do this:
-To get attention from their owners.
-From anxiety, stress, or having been punished for bad behaviour.
-Because puppies taste everything and discover that faeces are edible and, perhaps, tasty.
-Because dogs are, by nature, scavengers, and this is within the range of scavenger behaviour.
-Because the texture and temperature of fresh faeces approximates that of regurgitated food, which is how canine mothers in the wild would provide solid food.
-Because of the protein content of the faeces, or over-feeding, leading to large concentrations of undigested matter in the faeces.
-Due to assorted health problems
-Because they are hungry, such as when eating routines are changed, food is withheld, or nutrients are not properly absorbed.
-Carnivores may sometimes eat or roll in the faeces of their prey to ingest and exude scents which camouflage their own.
Dr Bruce Fogle, a Canadian vet and author of many books, writes that dogs as they grow up may suffer from a lack of digestive enzymes. He recommends feeding dogs enzyme-containing food such as pineapple, pumpkin or papaya fruit. Sounds exotic to me as dogs are basically carnivores.
I could not find an appropriate photograph.
Saturday 13 October 2007
Crystals have been known to have healing powers for centuries. Not only is quartz used in our watches and lodestone for magnets, past cultures show evidence of belief in crystals as far back as Neolithic man, whose remains have been found carrying pieces of amber. Delving into the properties of all the stones of our planet, calming, rejuvenating, and strengthening qualities can be found; a distinct "personality" for each kind of stone. Now dogs, cats, birds, fish and even iguanas, can benefit from stones.
Here is the list of crystals and their healing properties.
AMBER: This soothing stone will calm nerves and enliven the stick-in-the-mud pet to be a bit cheerier, while calming a hyper-active one.
AMETHYST: Amethyst is a powerful all-around healer, improving hearing and the nervous and skeletal systems predominately. It is a great help if your pet must battle arthritis.
AVENTURINE: As it helps to strengthen your blood, lungs, heart and adrenal glands, it will also strengthen your desire to explore and get out.
CARNELIAN: Releases sorrow, envy, fear, apathy, and rage.
JADE: Held to increase one's life-span, and facilitate comfort when the end is near. Assists the immune system, kidneys and heart.
LAPIS: Strengthens the throat, and immune system, also relieves dizziness and occasional insomnia. Lapis is the strongest stone you can find to relieve the pain of leukaemia and bone cancer.
QUARTZ CRYSTAL: An excellent training stone. Quartz crystal amplifies communication between humans and animals, and strengthens mental clarity.
ROSE QUARTZ: Use a rose quartz for your pet when it has been wounded, or recently operated upon. If your pet is aloof, lonely or isolated, the rose quartz will help him learn the powers of love and gentleness..
SMOKY QUARTZ: The powerful smoky quartz helps to heal disorders in paws, claws, and fins. If your pet doesn't always win the fight, the smoky quartz helps heighten survival instincts. This wonderful grounding stone works slowly to eradicate negative energy and hostility..
TURQUOISE: The turquoise stone will protect your pet from the dangers and pollutants of city life. This powerful healing stone is an amazing boost of confidence for your shy pet or new-born litter. Turquoise also offers peace of mind and strong grounding qualities for your somewhat nervous pet.
I quite like the sound of this. For Belle I would need something to calm anxieties. Turquoise or amber perhaps. Is it worth spending 20 US dollars per stone, I wonder?
Thursday 11 October 2007
"Dogs provide unconditional love. You could be the worst scoundrel in the world and everyone else may hate you, but a loyal dog will always love you."
Sunday 7 October 2007
Thursday 4 October 2007
Monday 1 October 2007
Thursday 27 September 2007
The diminutive size and winsome expressions of Toy dogs illustrate the main function of this Group: to embody sheer delight. Don't let their tiny stature fool you. Many Toys are tough as nails. The barking of an angry Chihuahua, for example, is something to behold. Toy dogs will always be popular with city dwellers and people without much living space. They make ideal apartment dogs and terrific lap warmers on cold nights.
They are often referred to as “lap dogs” and in French they are called “chiens de compagnie”.
Both very apt.
Sunday 23 September 2007
Thursday 20 September 2007
Sunday 16 September 2007
Wednesday 12 September 2007
"Infested with ticks, half-dead from neglect,
here lay the hound Argos.
But the moment he sensed Ulysses standing by
he thumped his tail, muzzling low, and his eras dropped,
though he had no strength to drag himself an inch
towards his master. Ulysses glanced to the side
and flicked away a tear..."
Only Poseidon had made Ulysses weep but on his return home, it was his old faithful dog who had the power to make him shed a tear.
Monday 10 September 2007
Sunday 9 September 2007
Wednesday 5 September 2007
During WWI, the Boxer was co-opted for military work, acting as a valuable messenger dog, pack-carrier, attack dog and guard dog.
It was not until after WWII that the Boxer became popular around the world. Boxer mascots, taken home by returning soldiers, introduced the dog to a much wider audience and it soon became a favourite as a companion animal, as a show dog and as a guard dog
Although steeped in controversy, the name "Boxer" is supposedly derived from the breed's tendency to begin a fight by standing on its hind legs and “to box” ( hence boxing and boxer ) with its front paws.
The AKC Boxer Breed Standard of 1938 states that:
"The character of the Boxer is of the greatest importance and demands the most solicitous attention. He is renowned from olden times for his great love and faithfulness to his master and household. He is harmless in the family, but distrustful of strangers, bright and friendly of temperament at play, but brave and determined when aroused. His intelligence and willing tractability, his modesty and cleanliness make him a highly desirable family dog and cheerful companion. He is the soul of honesty and loyalty, and is never false or treacherous even in his old age."
Boxers are a bright, energetic and playful breed and tend to be very good with children and make an ideal family pet. They have a strong personality and it is best if obedience training is started early to channel their energy. Owing to their intelligence and working breed characteristics, training based on the use of corrections often has limited usefulness. Boxers often respond much better to positive reinforcement techniques. It is also true that Boxers have a very long puppyhood and adolescence, and are often called the "Peter Pan" of the dog world. They are not considered fully mature until two to three years of age and thus need early training to channel their energy.
Boxers appear more comfortable with companionship, in either human or canine form. They are very active dogs that need to get a lot of exercise. Like any dog, they do not like to be left alone.
Boxers are friendly, lively companions that are popular as family dogs. Their suspicion of strangers, alertness, agility and strength make them formidable guard dogs. They sometimes appear at agility or obedience trials. These strong and intelligent animals are used as service dogs, guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs and police dogs in the US ( K9 units ). Occasionally they are used for herding cattle or sheep. This I would love to see!
Sunday 26 August 2007
Monday 20 August 2007
The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch.
”The term is hateful and deeply sexist”, said Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn, who has introduced a measure against the word, saying it creates “a paradigm of shame and indignity” for all women.But conversations over the last week indicate that the “b-word” (as it is referred to in the legislation) enjoys a surprisingly strong currency — and even some defenders — among many New Yorkers. And Ms. Mealy admitted that the city’s political ruling class can be guilty of its use. As she circulated her proposal, she said, “even council members are saying that they use it to their wives.”
The measure, which 19 of the 51 council members have signed onto, was prompted in part by the frequent use of the word in hip-hop music. Ten rappers were cited in the legislation, along with an excerpt from an 1811 dictionary that defined the word as “A she dog, or doggess; the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman.”
While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection.
“Half my conversation would be gone,” said Michael Musto, the Village Voice columnist, whom a reporter encountered on his bicycle on Sunday night on the corner of Seventh Avenue South and Christopher Street. Mr. Musto, widely known for his coverage of celebrity gossip, dismissed the idea as absurd.,“On the downtown club scene,” he said, munching on an apple, the two terms are often used as terms of endearment. “We divest any negative implication from the word and toss it around with love.”.Darris James, 31, an architect from Brooklyn who was outside the Duplex, a piano bar in the West Village, on Sunday night was similarly opposed. “Hell, if I can’t say bitch, I wouldn’t be able to call half my friends.”
They may not have been the kinds of reaction that Ms. Mealy, a Detroit-born former transit worker serving her first term, was expecting. “They buried the n-word, but what about the other words that really affect women, such as ‘b,’ and ‘ho’? That’s a vile attack on our womanhood,” Ms. Mealy said in a telephone interview. “In listening to my other colleagues, that they say that to their wives or their friends, we have gotten really complacent with it.”
The resolution, introduced on July 25, was first reported by The Daily News. It is being considered by the Council’s Civil Rights Committee and is expected to be discussed next month.Many of those interviewed for this article acknowledged that the b-word could be quite vicious — but insisted that context was everything..“I think it’s a description that is used insouciantly in the fashion industry,” said Hamish Bowles, the European editor at large of Vogue, as he ordered a sushi special at the Condé Nast cafeteria last week. “It would only be used in the fashion world with a sense of high irony and camp.”Mr. Bowles, in salmon seersucker and a purple polo, appeared amused by the Council measure. “It’s very ‘Paris Is Burning,’ isn’t it?” he asked, referring to the film that captured the 1980s drag queen scene in New York.
The b-word has been used to refer to female dogs since around 1000 A.D., according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which traces the term’s derogatory application to women to the 15th century; the entry notes that the term is “not now in decent use.”But there is much evidence that the word — for better or worse — is part of the accepted vernacular of the city. The cover of this week’s New York magazine features the word, and syndicated episodes of “Sex and the City,” the chronicle of high-heeled Manhattan singledom, include it, though some obscenities were bleeped for its run on family-friendly TBS. A feminist journal with the word as its title is widely available in bookstores here, displayed in the front rung at Borders at the Time Warner Center.
Robin Lakoff, a Brooklyn-born linguist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, said that she despised the word, but that enforcing linguistic change through authority “almost never works,” echoing comments from some New Yorkers who believed a ban would only serve to heighten the word’s power..“If what the City Council wants to do is increase civility, it would have to be able to contextualize it,” said Ms. Lakoff, who studies language and gender. “You forbid the uses that drive people apart, but encourage the ones that drive people together. Which is not easy.”
Councilman Leroy G. Comrie Jr., the Queens Democrat who successfully sponsored a symbolic moratorium on the n-word that was adopted Feb. 28, said he supported Ms. Mealy’s measure, but acknowledged that the term had many uses..“We want to make sure the context that it’s used is not a negative one,” Mr. Comrie said yesterday. Back at the West Village piano bar on Sunday evening, Poppi Kramer had just finished up her cabaret set. She scoffed at the proposal. “I’m a stand-up comic. You may as well just say to me, don’t even use the word ‘the.’ ”.But at least one person with a legitimate reason to use the word saw some merit in cutting down on its use.
“We’d be grandfathered in, I would think,” said David Frei, who has been a host of the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York since 1990. The word is a formal canine label that appears on the competition’s official materials. But Mr. Frei said he worried about the word’s impact on some viewers, especially younger ones..
Wednesday 15 August 2007
Monday 13 August 2007
The ISDS is still the only registry of working sheepdogs in Britain and Ireland. Each year it puts on four prestigious National Sheep Dog Trials (the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh), which determine the four teams that will compete in the International Sheep Dog Trials. Only the winners of the National trials for each country, the crème de la crème in dogs and handlers can take part in the International Sheep Dog Trials. People flock from all over Britain and indeed the world to see this trial.
The picture was taken on the occasion of the Centenary Trial in 1973 organised by the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) at Bala in Wales to commemorate the "first recorded sheepdog trials in Britain", held on the very same spot 100 years before.
Saturday 11 August 2007
Thursday 9 August 2007
Saturday 4 August 2007
SNCF is obviously unaware that dogs can be trained to detect bedbugs as I reported in my post of 20th June. Here is the link should you wish to read it again:
Wednesday 1 August 2007
Friday 27 July 2007
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that she suffered a horrible death both from stress and overheating. Her death was not made public until decades after the event. Her death would have been seen as a failure.
Her pressurized cabin within the spacecraft resembled an elongated ellipsoidal nest. The high walls were covered with soft padded material and there were intricate life support instruments positioned everywhere. Laika was secured in place with a special harness and had access to both water and food (a special high-nutrition gel) during the flight.
According to a NASA document, Laika was actually placed in the satellite on October 31, 1957, three days prior to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome (located NorthEast of the Aral Sea). She was carefully groomed...her coat sponged with a weak alcohol solution and then finely combed. Areas of her body where electrodes would be attached were painted with iodine and powdered with a streptocide. It was reported that Laika suffered no extreme ill-effects during the ascent and insertion into orbit since the electrodes recorded relatively normal vital signs under the circumstances, although she did seem somewhat agitated and her pulse rate did rise to three times its resting level. While weightless, she was able to take food and water from the onboard dispenser, bark and move around...although her movements were restricted by the harness she was wearing.
Originally, it was uncertain how long Laika had survived in space, with initial estimates ranging from twenty-four hours to one week and the possible speculation that she had lived for as many as ten days. The method of Laika's death was also unknown initially. One rumor suggested that the last of the food in her dispenser contained a poison which put her to sleep just before her life-support batteries ran down...another that her chamber was eventually filled with gas for painless euthanasia after a few days in orbit...or that she may have expired when her oxygen suppy depleted...or that she succumbed to extreme cold. In 1999, several Russian sources stated that Laika had died after four days in space when the cabin overheated. However, in October of 2002, during a gathering of the World Space Congress in Houston, Texas, it was revealed by Dr. Dimitri Malashenkov of the Institute for Biological Problems in Moscow, that after five to seven hours following the launch of Sputnik-2, no lifesigns were being received from Laika. By the fourth orbit, it was apparent that the little dog had passed away from overheating and stress...undoubtedly an exceedingly painful and distressful death. According to Gyorgi Grechko, a cosmonaut who previously worked as an engineer at the Korolev Design Bureau, it seems likely that when Sputnik-2 bounced off the atmosphere, it failed to separate from the booster rocket and thereby rendered the thermal control system inoperative.
Sputnik-2, which weighed half a ton and was reportedly launched to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, continued to circle the earth for 163 days. Laika is the only creature knowingly sent into space to die. Her death sparked animal rights debates across the planet. In Russia, Laika and all the other creatures that made space flight possible are remembered as heroes.
In November of 1997, a plaque commemorating the contributions of Laika and other animals that were studied in the space program was unveiled at the Institute for Aviation and Space Medicine at Star City, just outside Moscow. The monument itself pays tribute to the fallen Russian cosmonauts, but in a corner is the image of a small mongrel dog...ears standing straight. A year later, one of the former lead scientists who had worked on the Soviet "animals-in-space" program expressed his deep regrets regarding Laika:
"The more time passes, the more I'm sorry....We shouldn't have done it....We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog."
Friday 20 July 2007
A rising star of American football has been charged with breeding dozens of pitbull terriers for often fatal dogfights in a case that exposes an underworld of cruelty to animals.
Michael Vick, a celebrated quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons, is accused of raising dogs at his Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia to take part in fights with purses as high as $26,000 (£13,000).
Eight dogs that underperformed in test bouts were killed “by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog’s body to the ground”, the indictment says.
A raid on one of his properties specifically bought for dogfighting was part of an apparent network of dogfighting kennels. Police searched the property and found 54 pitbulls with chains attached to car axles in the ground.
Also on the property were an electronic treadmill to exercise the dogs, a “break” stick to pry open their jaws during fights and a “rape stand” in which a bitch is strapped for breeding when she is too aggressive
After one fight, it is alleged that the losing female pitbull was executed by wetting her down with water and electrocuting her.
Mr Vick is obviously not a nice person. The animal cruelty indictment is the most dramatic charge against him but he has in been involved in drug and sex cases. But that is not the point. How can anybody treat dogs this way? Dogs entrust their lives in our hands. They depend on us and give us their unconditional trust and love. I do hope maximum penalty and imprisonment is imposed in cases such as this one. Such behaviour is unacceptable, brutal and unforgivable. Furthermore seeing the commotion David Beckman’s arrival in America has caused, how are adolescents or anybody enjoying fooball going to react to this sort of behaviour from this rising star who has become a role model to some?
I read a comment which said: “ Put him in jail and throw away the key.”
Tuesday 17 July 2007
Thursday 12 July 2007
The manager of an animal feed factory admitted: “If you add it in small quantities, it won’t hurt pets .” He further added casually: “Pets are not like pigs or chickens.” He explained that they can afford to eat less protein because “they don’t need to grow fast ".
In recent years China’s food safety scandals have involved everything from fake baby milk formulas and soy sauce made from human hair to instances where cuttlefish were soaked in calligraphy ink to improve their colour and eels were fed contraceptive pills to make them grow long and slim. Oil extracted from human corpses in the manufacture of instant noodles, dye in salted duck eggs to make the yolks unusually red, a sign of high quality. Counterfeit and substandard goods, from fake liquor and medicines to face creams, toothpaste and so on.
Things are getting better though. Yesterday Zeng Xiaoya, formerly the man responsible for ensuring the safety of China’s foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals was executed. This was done either by shooting or by lethal injection. Probably the latter which is used in high-profile cases. So a word of caution, when buying pet food, please use known brands.
Sunday 8 July 2007
The Bloodhound or Saint Hubert hound finds its origins in Belgium. Saint Hubert is a historic town of 6 000 habitants in the Belgian Ardennes. It is famous for its hound but also for its patron saint.The legend of St. Hubert and the crucifix-bearing deer emerged probably in the 12th -13th century. There is no historical record on Hubert's youth but the tradition says he was born around 656 as the son of the Duke of Guyenne with Merovingian royal blood. He is said to have been a relative of Charles Martel. He married Floribanne, King Dagobert's daughter, and became famous as a pagan jet-setter.Hubert enjoyed hunting in the forest of Ardenne. On a Holy Friday, in a very isolated part of the forest, he spotted a white deer bigger and nicer than usual with a crucifix between its antlers and heard a voice asking him to repent, which caused his conversion to the Christian religion. The place where Hubert met the deer was a matter of controversy but it was likely to be in a chapel close to the former St Hubert abbey ( now the Sts Peter and Paul’s basilica ). St. Hubert, celebrated on 3rd November, is the patron saint of hunters, furriers and trappers. He is also invoked against rabies. The medieval tradition says that Hubert was given a stole by the Blessed Virgin and that placing a thread of the stole on a small incision made in the forehead skin would cure rabies. The Saint-Hubert hound was bred by the monks of the St. Hubert's abbey. The dog was introduced under the name of Bloodhound in England by William the Conqueror in the XIth century. The Saint-Hubert was initially used for hunting big game, such as boars but because of its ability to follow a scent hours or even days old over long distances combined with a tenaciously strong tracking instinct, it is now used by authorities to track escaped prisoners or missing persons.
Tuesday 3 July 2007
Air Canada announced yesterday that as of July 15, it will no longer accept pets as checked luggage for domestic flights and, pending approval from the Canadian Transportation Agency, for U.S. and international ones as well. However, pets can still travel through its cargo division.The policy change comes as a result of record load factors – about 80 per cent – in the past three years and a need for more space for luggage, a spokesman said. "The security requirements around the liquid and gel ban have led to an increase in checked bags we have to carry," he said. "When you have an animal in the hold, that restricts the amount of luggage you can put in a plane because you've got to leave room around the animal's cage for air and ventilation. It comes down to carrying bags for the vast majority of our customers or carrying pets for a small number of our passengers." This restriction is in force with all major carriers, it would appear. An interesting statistic: before this policy change, Air Canada charged $105 per animal for a one-way domestic flight and $245 for an international flight. A price estimate given yesterday for a medium-sized dog to fly one-way as cargo from Toronto to Vancouver was quoted at $202. Apparently animal transportation is a booming business.We can only hope that the cargo planes are properly equipped to carry pets so as not to harm them during waiting time on the tarmac. Temperatures vary from very hot in the summer to extremely cold in the winter especially in North America. In Europe we tend not to worry about air travel with our pets too much as distances are not so huge. The other day we traveled from Calais to Dover with Belle on P&O and were charged 25 € for a single passage whereas our fare was 100 € for the car and its 4 passengers. Exorbitant really just for checking the Pet Passport and reading the microchip. Plus the dog has to stay in the car during the crossing. I agree it is a booming industry. Without the likes of Amelia Earhart, all this would be irrelevant and we should have a special thought for her. She disappeared on 2nd July exactly 70 years ago over the Atlantic in an attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world.
Thursday 28 June 2007
Wednesday 27 June 2007
Tuesday 26 June 2007
Lord Byron (1788-1824) honoured his beloved Newfoundland with the following inscription on a monument in Newstead Abbey:
'Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the memory of
Boatswain, a Dog
Who was born at Newfoundland, May 1803
And died at Newstead, Nov.18th 1808."
Saturday 23 June 2007
Wednesday 20 June 2007
While termite-sniffing canines have been used since at least the 1990’s, a resurgence of bedbugs over the past few years prompted the additional training.
Dog handler Peruyero’s J&K Canine Academy in High Springs, Florida, has been teaching dogs like Nudie, a Chinese crested terrier mix, to find the elusive insects. Peruyero said many different breeds, including mixes, are up to the task, but "hound types tend to work better."
More than one trainer handles the dogs, which work every day, to get them used to dealing with different people. A food reward system — usually treats procured from a bag latched onto the handler’s waist — encourages the dogs to sniff and search for bedbugs. Repetitive training teaches the canines to associate bedbug odours with work, which, in turn, is associated with tasty treats.
Bedbugs are wingless, reddish brown, oval-shaped nocturnal parasites that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded hosts. Their name comes from their insidious habit of hiding in bedding before feeding on people at night.
A spokeswoman for the National Pest Management Association, said that from 2000 to 2005, bedbug inquiries to pest control agencies went up 71 percent. While it is estimated that termites cause around $5 billion worth of damage each year in the United States, she explained that it hasn't been possible to assess their total monetary damage because there is a "stigma" that keeps hotel and building managers from reporting them.
No one is entirely sure why bedbugs have been on the rise, but entomologists have proposed that increased travel may play a role since the parasites may hitch a ride in luggage and clothing. Still others have suggested that the U.S. ban on the insecticide DDT, which is linked to health and environmental impacts, led to the bedbug increase.
Researcher indicate that the bedbug-sniffing dogs offer a more environmentally friendly, and perhaps an even more effective solution to the problem.
Sunday 17 June 2007
The literature on wolf ecology suggests that they howl for two reasons: first to help assemble the pack before a hunt and second lone individuals either to seek contact with other pack members or to attract others during mating/breeding season.
Some wolves and dogs howl at the moon or the sky: no one knows why. And some howl in response to the sound of singing or the violin or the sound of the vacuum cleaner as if to imitate the sound they are hearing. But like lone wolves, domestic dogs most often howl when they are on their own, deprived of the company of humans or other dogs, especially if they are shut away. Often dogs also howl when their owners die. It is a way of expression grief and seeking companionship and comfort from the humans around them. This may stem from a long evolutionary ancestry because researchers into wolf behaviour in the face of death have observed that wolves howl in a particularly mournful way when a beloved companion has died.