Wednesday 26 November 2014

Arthur, the stray who captured the world.

Team Peak Performance were sitting down for a meal before a 20 mile trek in Ecuador when they saw a stray dog.

The Swedish group were taking part in the Adventure Racing World Championship through the Amazon rain forest.

Mikael Lindnord fed the animal a meatball before the team carried on - but the scruffy creature followed them.

They tried to get rid of him, primarily for his own safety, but he refused to go so he became a fifth team member.

The group of four decided to name him Arthur and have now adopted him and flown him back to Sweden.
Lindord said: 'I came to Ecuador to win the World Championship. Instead, I got a new friend'.

See link for amazing pictures:

Friday 24 October 2014

In the line of duty

Nathan Cirillo, a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was killed last Wednesday while standing guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa.  His dogs await his return.  RIP Nathan.



Wednesday 22 October 2014

Ozzy and I are back!

It's been a long hot summer and today in the forest Ozzy and I witnessed the first signs of autumn.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Last but not least.

Yet another cousin.
The Entlebucher Sennenhund or Entlebucher Mountain Dog is the last in the Swiss Mountain Dog breeds.  The breed is named after a town and region in the Swiss canton of Lucerne. It is the smallest of the Swiss Mountain Dogs. While its origin is not certain, it is thought to be descended from the fighting and guarding mastiffs of the Roman legions. This breed is popular in Switzerland, but is rarely seen outside its native land.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

A dog, not cheese.

Another distant cousin!

The Appenzeller Sennenhund finds its origins in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland and is probably descended from the "cattle dogs left there by the Romans".
The breed was originally kept primarily as a cattle herding dog, and a flock guardian. It was also used as a draft dog, and general farm dog. The breed also was known for its affinity to both herd and guard with such devotion that they would give their life to protect their charge. Just like Ozzy!

I only knew the delicious Appenzeller cheese.  

Monday 12 May 2014

You could fool me!

This could be Ozzy but it isn't.  It's another one of his cousins.  Close cousin.
It's a Bernese Mountain dog ( Berner Sennenhund in German and Bouvier Bernois in French) which originated in the Swiss mountains and was named after the Canton of Bern. The breed was used as an all purpose farm dog for guarding property and to drive dairy cattle long distances from the farm to the alpine pastures. They make ideal pets.  Just like Ozzy.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Ozzy's Swiss cousin

Whilst walking in the forest, Ozzy and I encountered a most beautiful dog.  It’s an Ozzy look alike with a short haired coat.  Ozzy’s cousin.   

The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog (Grosser Schweizer Sennenhund ) is considered the oldest of the Swiss breeds and was instrumental in the early development of both the St. Bernard and the Rottweiler. There are several theories regarding the ancient origins of the Swiss Sennenhund breeds. The most popular theory states the dogs are descended from the Mollasian, a large Mastiff-type dog that accompanied the Roman Legions on their invasion of the Alps in the 1st century B.C.

Large, sturdy and confident, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog also referred to as "Swissy" is a draft and drover breed - robust and agile enough to perform farm work in very mountainous regions. As a working dog, Swissies like having a job to do.  Developed in the remote and isolated areas of Switzerland, they were was originally used for draft work, livestock management (herding and guarding) and as a farm sentinel.  The breed was assumed to have died out by the late 19th century, as their work was being done by other breeds or machines, but it was rediscovered in the early 1900s.

I had never come across one before. 

Tuesday 18 March 2014

This is about a man and an eagle

I read this poignant story of Jeff and Freedom, the eagle.

Jeff Guidry is a rock and rhythm-and-blues guitarist who lives in Monroe, Washington, and volunteers his spare time working as a member of the educational team at the Sarvey Wildlife Care Center, a wildlife care center located in Everett, Washington which provides food, shelter, and rehabilitation to orphaned and injured wildlife.  Beginning in August 1998, Jeff and the staff at Sarvey spent weeks tending to Freedom, a baby eagle.
This is Jeff’s story:
“Freedom and I have been together 10 years this summer.

When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken, her left wing in 4 places. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet's office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair, the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last check-up. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone. Yahoo!

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk.. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long. That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her. His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power coarse through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom's”.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Psychic dog

Private James Brown of the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment, was fighting in the Great War in France in August 1914. On 27 November Brown received a letter from his wife in London telling him the bad news that Prince, his Irish terrier, had gone missing. Brown, however, was not worried, the dog was with him in the trenches. According to the story, the dog had somehow made his way through the South of England, crossed the English Channel and then walked another 60 miles through war-torn France to his master’s front line position in the trenches at Armentieres. After this incredible feat, Prince was adopted by the regiment and spent the rest of the war with them.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Ozzy needs a bath

I went to the vet the other day for Ozzy's jabs.  She told me I had to wash Ozzy because he smelled.  I told her that we had just returned from the forest.  Ozzy, I pointed out, is not a little pooch who sits on Mummy's lap.  ( Actually he does sometimes.  He is so big and so affectionate, it turns into a yoga exercice.)   He is a macho intact male and when he is in the forest he bathes in filthy pools,  rolls in horse manure, mud, a decomposing bird, decomposing leaves, that sort of thing.  No wonder he smells. 
Bathing Ozzy means wearing protective clothing. My waterproof sailing gear, actually.  It is an outside summer job.  I need to get the hosepipe out.  He hates it, detests it.   

Wednesday 26 February 2014

This is weird!

Birds with dog heads and dogs with bird bodies are dirds.

"These photos are not Photoshopped, and yes, they are 100% real says dird expert and dird enthusiast, Dr. Derdly Dirdright", the Huffington Post reports.
I am sorry but I have a sense of humour failure. 

Friday 21 February 2014

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Picasso furniture and dog

This painting by Picasso is entitled “Henri II buffet with dog and chair”.  The Henri II style of furniture (1860-1900) is known as French Renaissance.  It  is notable for its size and solidity. Pieces tend to be huge and rectangular in composition, with heavy carving, dark wood and large bun feet. Armoires are notable for their often elaborate cornices with large finials and crests, and show a strong Italian influence in their carving and design. Mirrors and beds tend to be very ornate, with carved pillars and finials. Armoires have either solid wooden doors or glass mirror doors.
I gather you can buy Henri II furniture for a song in French auction houses.
As for Picassos…

Monday 17 February 2014

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Canine couture

I came across this portrait of Queen Anne of Bohemia and Hungary.  It is dated 1520  and was painted by Hans Maler, a German portrait painter.  Note the dog’s striking jewelled collar.

During the Renaissance, the Royal courts of Europe often set the trends in canine couture.  Detailed paintings, tapestries, early literature, letters and diaries, catalogue a collection of well depicted beautiful collars, jewels and coats worn during this period by royal canines.  Dogs are, after all, the most loyal of subjects. No expense was spared for royal hounds and lap dogs alike when it came to providing for their comfort. Dogs slept in sumptuous beds (often the king’s or queen’s), ate delicacies from exquisite bowls and had their every need attended to by servants. Louis XI of France (1423-1483), a notorious miser, clad his favourite greyhound, named “Cher Ami” (Dear Friend) in a collar of scarlet velvet garnished with 20 pearls and 11 rubies.

Monday 10 February 2014

Poor old giraffe!

This is what happened to poor old Marius.  No wonder the zookeeper is receiving death threats.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Giraffe killed and fed to the lions in Copenhagen Zoo.

Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.
Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.

Thursday 6 February 2014

Sochi stray dogs

Kelly O’Meara, director of companion animals and engagement for Humane Society International, was “very surprised” when she heard that Sochi officials planned to kill stray dogs roaming around the Olympic host region throughout the Games. Just last April, organizers scrapped that idea, and said they would build a shelter for the animals. Now, city officials have hired a private company to do the dirty work — its owner told ABC News that the dogs posed a public-safety and health risk and that they were “biological trash.”

Thursday 30 January 2014

Most expensive dog ever.

Big Splash, most expensive dog ever

Mastiff pups 

Tibetan mastiffs are an ancient breed long revered as adept guard dogs.  Not only are they ancient dog with a rich history, dating back to nomad times in Central Asia.  They have become a modern-day craze in China. The special breed of dog is becoming more and more popular across China, but besides popularity, it's associated with affluence. It is viewed as a holy animal, and legend has it that Tibetan mastiffs provide their owners with a blessing to their health and security. They are independent and intelligent, and protective of their owners and their property.
An 11-month-old red Tibetan mastiff has become the world's most expensive dog after being purchased in China for just over $1.5 million.
Although the specifics of the sale are confidential, the seller divulged that a multi-millionaire coal baron from northern China purchased the Tibetan mastiff, affectionately called "Big Splash" or "Hong Dong" in Chinese.

Monday 27 January 2014

Dogs have human emotions

Using MRI technology, scientists at Emory University ( Atlanta, USA ) set out to determine how dogs' brains work, and they discovered that dogs experience emotions in a way comparable to humans.

For two years researcher Berns and his colleagues have trained dogs to enter an MRI scanner while awake and unrestrained. Typically, animals are anesthetized so they won't move during a scan, but you can't study brain functions like perception and emotion when an animal is asleep.

Another reason Berns chose not to anesthetize his canine participants is because he says wanted to treat the dogs like people.

All the dogs in the study have consent forms signed by their owners, and only positive training methods are used to prepare the animals for the MRI.

Berns' own dog, Callie, was the first dog to have her brain scanned. With the help of a dog trainer, Berns taught Callie to enter an MRI simulator.

Callie learned to enter the tube, place her head in a chin rest and sit still while wearing earmuffs to protect her ears from the machine's noise.

After a few months of training, Callie was ready for her first MRI, and Berns and his colleagues got their first maps of canine brain activity.

Other owners soon volunteered their dogs for research, and Berns has now scanned more than a dozen of their brains. The more data he gathers, the more he's convinced that dogs aren't that different from us.

The canine brain maps showed Berns that dogs use a region of the brain known as the caudate nucleus in a similar way to humans.

These findings don’t necessarily mean that our dogs love us, but because many of the same things activate both the human caudate and the dog caudate, neuroscientists say this could be an indication of canine emotions.

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Electric shock collars

The Kennel Club in calling upon the Government and Scottish Parliament to introduce an outright ban on the use of electric shock collars as devices to train a dog.  Subjected to an electric shock, a dog will respond out of fear of further punishment, rather than from a natural willingness to obey. In order for the devices to serve effectively as a training tool, the dog has to perceive the shock as painful - moreover if the dog does not respond, the punishment has to escalate, creating further potential for abuse.

A number of research studies have found electric shock collars to be unnecessary in the training of dogs.  These collars can cause negative behavioural and physiological changes in dogs and are open to misuse by users of them. Often owners may not even know how to use one of these collars.  When a dog gets shocked, it has no idea what has caused the pain and reacts fearfully.  It is likely to associate the pain with something in its immediate environment rather than with its own behaviour at the time, which is why it is common for dogs to attack other dogs, their owner or another animal or person close-by at the time of the shock.

Dogs with behavioural issues are a problem.  But we have to ask ourselves why some dogs problems.  Not properly trained in puppyhood, lack of leadership, abuse, disrespect, selfishness, congeniality.   Dogs want to please.  Dogs love unconditionally so why should pain be inflicted on them?  

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Killer disease.

I read this on the BBC News webpage and I thought I would spread the news.
"Signs are to be put up in the New Forest warning dog owners about a mysterious disease that has killed 13 dogs across Britain in recent months.

The Forestry Commission notices tell owners to take their pet to a vet should it develop lesions on its legs, paws or face.

Vets say the disease - which leads to kidney failure - is similar to "Alabama Rot", which was first seen in the US in the 1980s.

The source of the disease is unknown.

However, the Environment Agency has ruled out chemical contamination in water supplies.

The majority of the dogs that died in the past year were in the New Forest, but there were also others in Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire and County Durham.

The notices say owners should take their dog to a vet even if the lesions appear a week after a walk.

Alabama Rot had been associated with greyhounds, but the deaths in Britain in the past year have affected a variety of breeds.
'Trigger' unknown
David Walker, from Anderson Moores Veterinary Specialists in Hursley, near Winchester, said: "What I would say is that if you see a skin wound on your dog then don't just leave it.

"Ordinarily you might say I'll leave that for 24, 48 hours - I would say don't do that, get down to your local vet."

He added: "The dogs that have pulled through seem to be the ones that have presented earlier on in the disease course. However, that doesn't hold true for all of the patients, and dogs seems to be affected to varying degrees."

Mr Walker said his practice first saw cases in December 2012 and since then vets had developed a "much better handle on what the disease is" - but the "trigger" is still unknown.

He said it was "very similar" to Alabama Rot, which was thought to be related to a toxin produced by E. coli bacteria.
Lesions on legs
But Mr Walker said his team had "looked very hard" for the bacteria and the toxin in infected dogs and not found either.

Alabama Rot - the common name for idiopathic renal glomerular vasculopathy - only affected greyhounds when it was identified in the US in the 1980s.

The recent cases in England are different because various breeds have been affected - but Mr Walker said the "pathology [of the disease] is exactly the same".

Like Alabama Rot, the first external symptom of the disease affecting dogs in England is lesions, usually on their legs.

More lesions can appear elsewhere on the body, and in some cases dogs can suffer kidney failure and die."

Thursday 16 January 2014

Facing north whilst pooing

New research indicates that, like many other animals, dogs are sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field. However, instead of using it to navigate like many insects and birds do, it appears that dogs have a preference for aligning themselves to the earth’s magnetic axis when it’s time to poo.
At least that’s the conclusion researchers came to at Prague University, after studying 70 dogs from 37 different breeds over the course of two years.
Note to self: don’t forget compass when walking Ozzy.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Cold War dog.

During the Cold War, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F Kennedy wrote to each other regularly. Despite the hostility between their countries, the two men also exchanged presents. One was a dog called Pushinka, whose mother was one of the first dogs to fly into space and return alive.

Such courtesy!