Tag Archives: dogs

Joan Rivers was a dog lover

I was never a fan of Joan Rivers.  Her sense of humor was always a bit too course for my liking and, in her recent years as a fashion critic, I found many of her comments to be septic and often downright rude.

Nonetheless, I sympathize with her family, friends and fans at her loss.

There is, however, one very positive thing I can say about Joan Rivers.  She loved dogs.  This goes to show that we may have common ground with people who, on the face of it, we dislike.  Anyone who loves dogs cannot be all bad; perhaps this fact alone will remind us to keep an open mind…

Joan Rivers and her dog, Max, who passed away earlier this year (Photo by Chicago Now)

Joan Rivers and her dog, Max, who passed away earlier this year
(Photo by Chicago Now)

“Dogs are easier to love than people; they’re certainly more dependable,” Rivers once said in an interview with Chicago Now. “Once they love you, that’s it. A true friend in life is a dog.”

In her last known interview conducted in July of this year, Rivers spoke about her darker moments when, after the death of her husband in 1987 and a career that had bottomed-out, she contemplated suicide.  Her dog stopped her:

What saved me was my dog jumped into my lap. I thought, “No one will take care of him.” It wasn’t a friendly dog — only to me. I adored this dog. He was theoretically a Yorkie, his mother cheated. His name was Spike. He was the way you want your dog to be, devoted only to you. I was sitting in this big empty house in Bel Air, with a phone with five extensions which we no longer needed. I had the gun in my lap, and the dog sat on the gun.

An earlier photo of Ms Rivers with her dogs (photo originally from Architectural Digest)

An earlier photo of Ms Rivers with her dogs (photo originally from Architectural Digest)

Rest in piece, Ms Rivers.  I hope all of your dogs were there to meet you when you crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

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

The benefits of being dog-friendly (Christchurch take note)

Here’s more research that backs up my position on dogs and the Christchurch rebuild.  Hopefully the CCDU and CERA will take note…

A study from the University of Liverpool has recommended investing in dog owner education and facilities as a strategy to target physical inactivity and problems such as obesity in both people and their pets.

The research team reviewed scientific papers published since 1990 (31 studies from the UK, USA, Australia and Japan) and found that access to dog-friendly walking environments and better education about dogs’ physical needs could all motivate people to get out and take more exercise with their pets.

An exercised dog is a healthy one, less likely to be obese, and who is less likely to develop behavioural problems like aggression and excessive barking. 

Among the most common findings of all studies was that dog owners have a varied understanding of how much exercise their dog needs. This affected how much they took their dog for a walk; something that could be addressed with education programs.

People without access to high quality local areas that support dog walking, for example parks where dogs are allowed off-leash and poo-disposal facilities are provided, were less likely to walk with their dog and missed out on the associated health benefits.

There are a large number of reasons why people do or don’t walk their dog and it is worth considering how we can address this when designing strategies for reducing obesity, or when planning urban areas and public open space. Not being able to let their dog off the leash is a particular put-off,” said Dr Carri Westgarth, co-author of the study.

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

Study authors Dr Carri Westgarth and Dr Hayley Christian take an off-lead walk (photo courtesy of University of Liverpool)

The study also found that some people are worried about their dogs’ behaviour and may be less likely to take it out to the park – potentially out of embarrassment or worry about how it might act – but lack of walks may also be causing this bad behaviour, due to boredom, frustration or lack of socialisation.”

When I submitted to the CCDU in November 2012, I made the point that by having greater accessibility, owners have more opportunity to take dogs out – and that increases opportunity not only for exercise but also socialisation.   We want good ownership to be more visible in our communities – thus making it the norm.  Poor ownership would also be more visible – and subject to peer pressure combined with enforcement approaches.

Let’s have a dog-friendly central city with walking accessibility from one end to the other!

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

Source:  University of Liverpool media release

 

Outdoor dining in California (bone appetit)

California’s Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 1965.  The law will take effect on 1 January 2015 and will officially remove a ban on pets in restaurants.

For restaurants who want to allow dogs in their outdoor dining areas, the law officially allows them to do so.  (Technically, restaurants that have allowed dogs in patio and other outdoor areas were breaking the law.)

This lead to inconsistent enforcement across the State.

Gary Ellis, left, and his dog Wilco, a Saluki, enjoy dinner at Zazie restaurant in San Francisco. Photo: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle

Gary Ellis, left, and his dog Wilco, a Saluki, enjoy dinner at Zazie restaurant in San Francisco. Photo: Brant Ward, San Francisco Chronicle

“Amidst all the horrific and depressing news around us, I hope this bill helps make people a little happier, and businesses who wish to accommodate diners with dogs safe from being unnecessarily cited,” said assembly member Mariko Yamada, who championed the bill, on her Facebook page.

To comply, a restaurant must have an outdoor entrance that doesn’t require the pet to walk through the restaurant to get to the outdoor area and pets are not allowed in areas of food preparation.

“It will soon be legal to take your beagle with you to dinner,” Yamada said.   “I wish everyone ‘bone-appétit’.”

Female dogs are better navigators

New data from Dognition shows that female dogs tend to be more flexible navigators than males. This is the opposite of trends in humans, and gives us important insight into how dogs see the world.

Map reading dog

In the navigation game, part of the monthly Dognition subscription, owners hid food inside two bowls, and taught their dog that the treat was always on one side, for example always on the left. Then the owner brought their dog around to the opposite side and recorded which bowl their dog chose.

Brain

Female dogs were more likely to use an allocentric, or a landmark based strategy. They used objects in the room to figure out which bowl to choose. For instance, in the beginning, perhaps the bowl with the treats was near a door, or a lamp. When the females were brought around to the opposite side, they still looked for those landmarks, which means no matter which way they were oriented, they would always go back to the bowl they learned was ‘correct’ in the beginning.

In people, this is called forming a mental map, or using a ‘bird’s eye’ view. Using allocentric navigation means the dogs were mostly relying on their hippocampus, a part of the brain that mediates spatial awareness and memory. This strategy is particularly effective in large and unfamiliar environments, and is the more flexible of the two strategies. Not surprisingly, humans who rely on environmental navigation are good at reading maps.

Male dogs were more likely to be egocentric navigators. They learned the association by thinking ‘the treat is on my right’. When owners brought the dogs around to the opposite side, these dogs chose the bowl on their right, which was the opposite bowl that they had chosen before. By using this strategy, the dogs were mostly relying on their basal ganglia, a part of the brain that mediates motor skills.

Before there were maps or navigational instruments, Pacific islanders used egocentric navigation for long sea voyages. They used the position of the stars in relation to themselves, (e.g. to get to this island, the Milky Way should be on my right). People who rely on egocentric navigation tend to make good cinematographers – they have a special talent for allowing others to see the world as they do.

The results are exactly the opposite as in humans, where men are usually allocentric navigators and women are egocentric navigators. Perhaps male dogs just need to get better at asking for directions.

Source:  Dognition news

Cute and cuddly…to start your weekend

I know I cover a lot of serious topics on this blog…but every now and again it’s time to simply celebrate dogs in all their shapes and sizes.

I have just found this site – Animals with Stuffed Animals – a compilation of photos showing pets with their own soft toys.   Too cute!

Here are a few examples…go to the site to see more.  And have a great weekend!

 

Source:  imgur

Source: imgur

Source:  bassets

Source: bassets

SOF dogs and their memorial

Photo courtesy of SOF K9 Memorial Foundation

Photo courtesy of SOF K9 Memorial Foundation

Special Operations Forces (SOF) dogs are very special indeed.  These dogs serve on tours of duty in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and help to detect explosives and intervene when their handler or other soldiers are in danger.  Many SOF dogs never make it to retirement because they are killed in action.

A very special statute to honour these dogs has been placed at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  Fort Bragg, which has a SOF kennel, is not far away.

SOF dog statue

When unveiled in July 2013, dog handlers from the various wars including Vietnam and WWII were in attendance.  These men have enjoyed a very special bond with their animals and often the handler adopts their dog once it has been retired from active duty.

Handlers who have lost their dog can apply to have a memorial stone placed in the surround of the statue.  There is also funding available for handlers to have memorials erected at their home base.

The SOF K9 Memorial Foundation welcomes donations to their cause from military personnel and others who want to honour the service of these remarkable dogs.

 

Treating enlarged prostate (BPH) in dogs

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the medical term for an enlarged prostate.   The condition affects older, entire dogs and humans.

The most common clinical sign of BPH in dogs is bloody fluid dripping from the penis not associated with urination. In severe cases it can obstruct the colon and result in constipation.

A new method to treat dogs with BPH is pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF).  PEMF is a noninvasive method that generates both an electrical and magnetic field and is used in orthopedics, neurology, and urology.  Because PEMF has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory effect with increased healing and blood circulation, a research team decided to apply the technology to improve blood flow to the prostate and reduce the size of the gland.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany.

The study used a Magcell® Vetri device from Physiomed Elektromedizin AG, Germany

The research study involved 20 dogs with BPH. They received treatment with PEMF for 5 minutes, twice a day for three weeks. The device was simply held over the skin where the prostate is located.

The results were pretty amazing.   After 3 weeks, the average reduction of the prostate was 57%.   There was no interference with semen quality, testosterone levels or libido.   There was also a progressive reduction in resistance of blood flow in the dorsal branch of the prostatic artery, as seen with Doppler scanning.

Source:  Raffaella Leoci, Giulio Aiudi, Fabio Silvestre, Elaine Lissner, Giovanni Michele Lacalandra (2014). “Effect of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on prostate volume and vascularity in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia: A pilot study in a canine model.” The Prostate. June 9, 2014. (Available online)