Tag Archives: animals

Another study about dogs (yawn)

It’s official (again) – dogs yawn more often in response to their owners than to other people.

dog yawning

Last year, researchers in Sweden published research on contagious yawning in dogs.  This year, researchers at the University of Tokyo have published additional research in the open journal PLoS One.

Their research focuses on a ‘familiarity bias’ in contagious yawning by dogs.

Pet dogs in the study watched their owner or a stranger yawn.  They responded more in response to their owners than to the strangers.

The researchers conclude that the dogs have an emotional connection to their owners, which is exhibited through empathy with the yawning movements.


Chandi book cover

I have just finished reading Chandi:  The Rescue Dog Who Stole a Nation’s Heart by Tina Humphrey.  Chandi is the story of Humphrey’s rescue dog who she trained for Heelwork to Music.  Published in 2012, the book opens when Humphrey meets her first dog, Pepper, in 1994.  Chandi is adopted from a shelter in 1998 and, for a time, Humphrey trains and competes with both dogs in Heelwork to Music and Freestyle competitions.

Tina, who teaches piano and violin, has a natural ear for music and is able to choreograph routines for her dogs that emphasize the stories behind the music.

Chandi is a love story.  It is about the bond that Tina shares with both of her dogs and the devotion she has for both of them.  She is an advocate for a raw diet and natural health care (no wonder I was attracted to the book),  in part inspired by her mother who fought cancer for many years using natural therapies.  (Part of the book tells the story of how Tina suffers the loss of both of her parents, at separate times, with her dogs there as emotional support).

We also share in Tina’s heartache when, in 2007, she and Chandi suffer the loss of Pepper.  Anyone who has had to say goodbye to their beloved dog understands Tina’s pain when it is time for Pepper to be put to sleep.

Chandi and Tina win many competitions in their years together including several trophies at Crufts.  In 2010, after almost 12 years of competing and sharing their lives, they audition for Britain’s Got Talent and go all the way to the finals, ultimately finishing in fourth place.  By then, they are celebrities and enjoy a nationwide tour of the show’s finalists plus other interviews and promotions.  And that’s where the book finishes…on a high note.

On 26 April 2013, Chandi died at the age of 14 years 10 months.  She developed a condition that was thought to be pyometra.  However, during surgery to remove her uterus and spleen, it was discovered that Chandi’s body had many other tumours that could not be removed.   Tina made the heart-breaking decision that it was time for Chandi to go and was there when she was put to sleep on the surgical table.

Today, Tina is training a new puppy named Grace and is blogging about her experiences with her new canine companion.    You can follow them on Facebook.

 And through the wonders of YouTube, here are Tina and Chandi’s performances on Britain’s Got Talent:




Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

Daisy’s birthday adventures

Today we woke up and went to the largest dog park in Christchurch, The Groynes.  Although the sun was coming up, it was also showering and we saw a lovely rainbow settle over the park:

Rainbow over dog park

Daisy loves being off-lead and able to exhibit her natural dog instincts.  She looks up to keep tabs on me often, but enjoys foraging around:


And tonight Daisy enjoyed a slice of her birthday cake for dessert.  This cake is salmon and rice, with a lowfat cream cheese frosting, doggy choc drops and homemade chicken & parsley doggy treats:

Birthday cake

Happy Birthday, Daisy.  I love you!

4th of July anxiety

My heart goes out to all of the dogs in the USA who have to suffer through 4th of July celebrations and their associated fireworks.

For many dogs, fireworks are no fun…

4th of July anxietyIf your dog is anxious (or worse) because of fireworks, here are some of the things you can do to help them through:

  • Thundershirts and anxiety wraps.  These shirts work on the basics of acupressure and  they help to stimulate acupressure points that induce a calming effect.
  • DAP  = Dog Appeasing Pheromone A pheromone is a natural chemical that animals, especially mammals, secrete.  D.A.P. is the pheromone that bitches secrete when they have puppies and are lactating.  Within 3-5 days of giving birth, the bitch secretes this pheromone and it has a calming effect on her puppies.  Scientists have isolated the chemical structure of the pheromone and re-created it. I recommend spraying it in your house and around the dog’s bedding in the later afternoon – before sunset.
  • Sedatives – for a dog that is truly overwhelmed by fireworks, prescribed sedatives from your vet are a short-term solution
  • Diversion and management – this consists of things like isolating your dog in your basement or garage (inside the car, with the radio on) to divert their attention.  By removing them to an environment where they can hear the fireworks less readily, you are removing them from the stressor – and hence, the stress response that follows.
  • Remove your dog to a quieter location, perhaps a holiday home in the country or a friend’s place out of town.  If they can’t hear the fireworks, they can’t get stressed.
  • Massage – get your massage therapist to recommend massage strokes and acupressure points that you can stimulate to encourage your dog to relax.

Long term solution:  Please lobby your local communities to ban the use of private fireworks and to limit fireworks to licensed public displays.  That way, people can enjoy fireworks but also limit our dogs’ exposure to this stressful event.

North American dogs and families – a television opportunity

The Premiere National Wildlife Network is currently seeking animals in need of transport for a new limited series shooting this summer.

The network is seeking uplifting stories about animals being relocated, rescued or perhaps even joining the family on vacation.

This new series will follow a prominent animal transport company as they go about their day-to-day jobs moving everything from Pugs to Alpacas.

The series will feature a variety of animals, from small moves to transporting complete farms.

If you, or someone you know fits the bill, please email Jamie Carroll at jcarrollcasting@gmail.com

The USA’s first permanent evacuation center (for animals)

Did you know that the USA has an evacuation center to cater for animals?

The Georgia State Animal Facility for Emergencies Center (S.A.F.E. Center) is the nation’s first permanent evacuation center for animals.  It recently opened at the Fort Valley State University. The 7,800-square-foot facility contains 105 dog cages, 84 cat cages, stalls for 30 horses plus pastures available for livestock.  It can be activated at short notice in the event of an emergency.

The S.A.F.E. Center

The S.A.F.E. Center

The facility is intended to temporarily house animals rescued from large-scale abuse cases, natural disasters, terrorist attack, as well as household pets whose owners are fleeing due to emergency evacuations.  The Georgia location is ideal for southern state communities that may be fleeing large hurricanes during hurricane season via the interstate highway system.  The University offers the services of an on-site school of veterinary medicine.

Through fundraising, the center is equipped with oxygen masks that can be used on dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds and other animals.  Used for resuscitation, these masks could help during emergency surgeries as well as to help animals exposed to toxic fume releases.


A sanctuary is a place of refuge or asylum.  Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah is a place of refuge for homeless animals; it is also a relaxing and peaceful place for the humans (like me) who visit and volunteer here.  Think of it as a refuge from the rat race of everyday work and life.

If you would like a holiday where you can give back and help homeless dogs and other animals, I hope you will think about Best Friends!

May Peace Prevail on Earth

Dedication on Peace Pole

Mother’s Day – Doggy Style

It’s Mother’s Day and we shouldn’t forget that many of our dogs have been mums too (whether planned or unplanned).

In my case, Daisy has been a mum  – it happened before I adopted her.  Although I don’t know any of her puppies, I think it is fitting that we celebrate her motherhood status, particularly as she is a senior dog of almost 13.

Happy Mother’s Day Daisy!  Your Mum loves you!!!

Daisy in bed January 2013

Sleeping with Timothy

Firstly, I’d like to say that this will not be an x-rated post!

Timothy is my Sleepover Dog tonight from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  Timothy was abandoned at the sanctuary, left to fend on his own on the property until someone found him.  This is a risky strategy because the area is home to mountain lions, rattlesnakes and other deadly creatures.

Timothy face shot

Because of the nature of his surrender, there are no records on why he was abandoned.  He’s a young boy of just over a year and he’s very sociable.

You may notice in these photos that Timothy is wearing a green collar.  Green collars signify dogs that can be handled by adults and children who visit the sanctuary.

Peeing Timothy

Timothy enjoyed riding in the car on the way home tonight.  He also let me know that he prefers to sleep on the bed, not the blanket that accompanied him in his overnight pack.

Timothy in car

Sleeping Timothy

I particularly find Timothy’s underbite appealing and so far, the only negative behaviours he’s shown is a liking for digging in the rubbish (a common characteristic of many dogs, which is very manageable) and a dislike for two people wearing large cowboy hats.

Sitting Timothy with overbiteTimothy with overbite

I’ll be submitting a full assessment form when I return Timothy to his kennel in the morning.

Timothy is a very trainable dog (he already knows sit) and would make someone a lovely pet.

Doggy quote of the month for April

“Look at our relationships with other people.  Most of us are not as dependable as animals.”

– Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society