Doggy quote of the month for August

“and she looked deep into my eyes
and she said ‘you have always been the center of my universe
I have loved you always’
I pressed my head into hers and assured her that I was here
as I had always been here
and she looked deep into my heart
and she asked me ‘How much do you love me?’
and I stroked her face, soothingly, and closed her eyes as I replied
“With all my heart…’
and then, she looked deep into my soul
and she asked me
‘Do you love me enough to let me go?’
and I held her close and replied softly…
yes…”

-  Unknown

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Wordless Wednesday, part 43

Daisy's Urn and BedBlog Hop

In mourning

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing of my beloved Daisy on the 26th of July.  As any dog lover will know, one of the hardest things about having a dog in your life is knowing that they do not live as long as we do and many of us will face the decision to let them pass in peace and without pain.

Daisy was 14 years, 17 days old.    Although slowing down, she always showed in an interest in twice-daily walks until about a month ago, when one afternoon she looked up at me to say “I’ve been to the toilet, now I just want to go home and rest.”  We have had more days like that – sporadically – until about the last week when once daily walks were enough for her.  After her last acupuncture treatment on Wednesday afternoon, she was very happy and energetic – walking longer and at a quicker pace than the last few weeks.

That was to be our last walk together.

One of the things that is an owner’s responsibility and duty is to manage quality of life.  In Daisy’s case, she had the look in her eye that many people describe – it told me “I’ve had enough.”

As part of my grieving process, and in tribute to my dear Daisy, here are a few photos of her life.  We were together for 10 years and 7 months – and I wish I had them to do all over again.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her.

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her

Daisy 'upgraded' to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

Daisy ‘upgraded’ to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

 

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

 

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

 

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy's 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy’s 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

 

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine.  Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine. Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay.  Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay. Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business

Comet’s Tale – book review

Comet's TaleThis book will make you want to go out and adopt a Greyhound!  Mr Wolf tells the story of Comet, a Greyhound who comes into his life as his health and well-being are seriously under threat.

The author never had any experience with Greyhounds until he is drawn to a charitable group promoting Greyhound adoption at his local supermarket.

A Greyhound who suffered abuse at the track, Comet is withdrawn around most people but decides that Mr Wolf (affectionately called “Wolfie” by his wife) is for her.  She literally sits down next to him and lets him know – take me home.

As Steven’s health deteriorates, he lives on pain killers and can barely walk or do simple household tasks.  This is when he decides that Comet has all of the qualities of a service dog and only needs training.  He looks for trainers to assist him and all scoff at the suggestion that a Greyhound could be a service dog.  So, he trains her himself.

I particularly liked the stories of Comet as she learns to pull Steven’s wheelchair through the airport.  Aided by the photo on the cover of the book (the only photo in this book, which perhaps is its only shortcoming), you can understand when Steven describes Comet’s doe eyes and the looks she would give him to communicate her very articulate thoughts!

I recommend this book for summer reading (if you are currently in the Northern Hemisphere) or curl up with it in front of the fire for winter entertainment (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere).

Happy reading!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

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Wordless Wednesday, part 42

Daisy's PillowBlog Hop

Domestication Syndrome

More than 140 years ago, Charles Darwin noticed something peculiar about domesticated mammals. Compared to their wild ancestors, domestic species are more tame, and they also tend to display a suite of other characteristic features, including floppier ears, patches of white fur, and more juvenile faces with smaller jaws. Since Darwin’s observations, the explanation for this pattern has proved elusive, but now, in a Perspectives article published in the journal GENETICS, a new hypothesis has been proposed that could explain why breeding for tameness causes changes in such diverse traits.

Photo courtesy of Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

Helios, an approximately 3-year-old cattle dog/greyhound mix with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. Photo courtesy Lucky Dog Animal Rescue

The underlying link between these features could be the group of embryonic stem cells called the neural crest, suggests the research team.

“Because Darwin made his observations just as the science of genetics was beginning, the domestication syndrome is one of the oldest problems in the field. So it was tremendously exciting when we realized that the neural crest hypothesis neatly ties together this hodge-podge of traits,” says Adam Wilkins, from the Humboldt University of Berlin – one of the study’s authors.

Neural crest cells are formed near the developing spinal cord of early vertebrate embryos. As the embryo matures, the cells migrate to different parts of the body and give rise to many tissue types. These tissues include pigment cells and parts of the skull, jaws, teeth, and ears—as well as the adrenal glands, which are the center of the “fight-or-flight” response. Neural crest cells also indirectly affect brain development.

In the hypothesis proposed by Wilkins and co-authors Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna, domesticated mammals may show impaired development or migration of neural crest cells compared to their wild ancestors.

“When humans bred these animals for tameness, they may have inadvertently selected those with mild neural crest deficits, resulting in smaller or slow-maturing adrenal glands,” Wilkins says. “So, these animals were less fearful.”

The authors also suggest that the reduced forebrain size of most domestic mammals could be an indirect effect of neural crest changes, because a chemical signal sent by these cells is critical for proper brain development.

The hypothesis will require testing, which will be able to be done once genetic mapping of domesticated species like the dog, fox and rat are completed.

Full journal article details:  The “Domestication Syndrome” in Mammals: A Unified Explanation Based on Neural Crest Cell Behavior and Genetics
Adam S. Wilkins, Richard W. Wrangham, and W. Tecumseh Fitch. GENETICS July 2014, 197:795-808, doi: 10.1534/genetics.114.165423
http://www.genetics.org/content/197/3/795.full

Source:  Genetics Society of America media release

 

Rescue a human…the Human Walking Project

When this came across my desk, I had to share it.

The Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne (Australia) came up with an adoption drive with a ‘twist’ this year.  They started the Human Walking Project in downtown Melbourne.

Dogs needing adoption were brought into the central city to encourage office workers to escape their offices and walk with the dogs during their lunch breaks.  And enough of them fell in love to adopt their new canine friends!

I particularly like the ad for the Project:

What initiatives for dog adoption do you think are innovative and fun?  And wouldn’t you like to escape your office at lunch with a friend who shows unconditional love?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand