Tag Archives: Los Angeles

De-stressing airport passengers – PUPs

I flew through LAX earlier this week, and the Las Vegas shooting happened when I was in the air on my way home to New Zealand.  LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) has had a dog therapy programme in place for a few years.

The airport announced this week that in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, it had added more of its PUP teams to support passengers at a time of intense stress and grief.

PUPS

Volunteer PUPs Jack and Chance with their “moms” Debra Mindlin and Heidi Huebner at LAX’s terminal 4 on Monday, Oct 2, 2017. (Photo courtesy Heidi Huebner)

The PUP teams are made up entirely of volunteers who enjoy sharing their dogs with passengers and staff at the airport.  Yet another way that our dogs can work for us, and use their unique gifts of unconditional love and support.

I wrote about the PUPs programme in August 2014, by the way:

August 2014

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

Advertisements

18,000 years and counting

Science magazine November issueWolves likely were domesticated by European hunter–gatherers more than 18,000 years ago and gradually evolved into dogs that became household pets, say a research team based at the University of California Los Angeles.

“We found that instead of recent wolves being closest to domestic dogs, ancient European wolves were directly related to them,” said Robert Wayne, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in UCLA’s College of Letters and Science and senior author of the research. “Europe is where the oldest dogs are found.”

The team’s genetic analysis is published 15 November issue of the journal Science.

The researchers studied 10 ancient “wolf-like” animals and eight “dog-like” animals, mostly from Europe. These animals were all more than 1,000 years old, most were thousands of years old, and two were more than 30,000 years old.

The biologists studied the mitochondrial DNA of the animals, which is abundant in ancient remains. By comparing this ancient mitochondrial DNA with the modern mitochondrial genomes of 77 domestic dogs, 49 wolves and four coyotes, the researchers determined that the domestic dogs were genetically grouped with ancient wolves or dogs from Europe — not with wolves found anywhere else in the world or even with modern European wolves. Dogs, they concluded, derived from ancient wolves that inhabited Europe and are now extinct.

Wayne said that that the domestication of predatory wolves likely occurred among ancient hunter–gatherer groups rather than as part of humans’ development of sedentary, agricultural-based communities.

 “The wolf is the first domesticated species and the only large carnivore humans ever domesticated,” Wayne said. “This always seemed odd to me. Other wild species were domesticated in association with the development of agriculture and then needed to exist in close proximity to humans. This would be a difficult position for a large, aggressive predator. But if domestication occurred in association with hunter–gatherers, one can imagine wolves first taking advantage of the carcasses that humans left behind — a natural role for any large carnivore — and then over time moving more closely into the human niche through a co-evolutionary process.”
There is a scientific debate over when dogs were domesticated and whether it was linked with the development of agriculture fewer than 10,000 years ago, or whether it occurred much earlier. In the new Science research, Wayne and his colleagues estimate that dogs were domesticated between 18,000 and 32,000 years ago.

The research was federally funded by the National Science Foundation.

You can read more about the team’s research in this UCLA media release.

Going postal

Postal worker with dog

A mailman meets a boy and a huge dog. ‘Does your dog bite?’ asks the mailman. ‘No,’ replies the boy. And the dog bites the mailman’s leg. ‘You said he doesn’t bite!’ yells the mailman. ‘That’s not my dog,’ replies the boy.

Letter carriers and other delivery personnel regularly face a hazard when delivering to properties with untrained or unrestrained dogs.  Although there are many cartoons and jokes about dogs and postal workers, the issue is no laughing matter.

In the United States last year, nearly 5,900 letter carriers were bitten by dogs.  Letter carriers are encouraged to report homes with dogs that appear menacing and they may choose not to deliver to a property or even a neighbourhood if dogs are running loose.

Ken Snavely, Acting Postmaster of Los Angeles, says, Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.’

These tips include:

How to be a Responsible Dog Owner

  • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs in any situation.
  • Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of a letter carrier as a threat. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
  • When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
  • Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.

The US Postal Service also keeps statistics on dog bites, with the City of Los Angeles topping the list of incidents.

Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking

Ranking City, State Attacks
1 Los Angeles, CA 69
2 San Antonio, TX and Seattle, WA 42
3 Chicago, IL 41
4 San Francisco, CA 38
5 Philadelphia, PA 34
6 Detroit, MI 33
7 St. Louis, MO 32
8 Baltimore, MD and Sacramento, CA 29
9 Houston, TX and Minneapolis, MN 27
10 Cleveland and Dayton, OH 26
11 Buffalo and Brooklyn, NY 24
12 Denver, CO 23
13 Dallas, TX and Tacoma, WA 21
14 Wichita, KS 20

Source:  US Postal Service media statement

Dog eat dog

Actor Zachary Quinto is currently appearing worldwide in Star Trek:  Into Darkness.   He also appears in a lesser known short film called Dog Eat Dog, which is based on his search for an adopted dog in Los Angeles.

Says Quinto, “The story of the film is an exaggerated account of how I eventually found my rescue dog Noah, but it still reflects a bit of the reality I faced when I was looking to adopt a shelter dog.”

Sit back for the next 13 minutes and enjoy the film!

Travelling through LAX? Meet the PUPS!

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is known for its frantic pace and passenger volumes.  While it can be an exciting place, it can also be stressful.

Dogs are about to make this airport a whole lot better!

PUPS, Pups Unstressing Passengers, was launched last week.  This new programme involves trained dogs and their volunteer handlers who will wander throughout the gate and departure areas to visit with passengers.  They’ll provide comfort as well as be knowledgeable about the airport.

Each volunteer had a 4-hour classroom session to enable them to be familiar with the airport, the layout of airlines, and operational procedures.

This YouTube video provides an overview of the programme, including the collectible trading cards that will be available portraying each dog’s photo!

Can’t wait to travel through LAX on my next trip!  (And maybe, for those of us traveling from New Zealand, San Francisco’s airport will start a similar initiative.)

No-Kill Los Angeles (NKLA)

Last month, a very special initiative was launched in Los Angeles – NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles)

This initiative is another to help achieve the goal of the Best Friends Animal Society: No More Homeless Pets. 

NKLA’s website says “We are a coalition of animal welfare organizations, city shelters and passionate individuals. Led by Best Friends Animal Society, we’re dedicated to ending the killing of healthy and treatable pets in L.A. shelters. Our plan is straightforward. Provide spay/neuter services where they are needed most so fewer animals go into shelters, and increase adoptions through the combined efforts of the NKLA coalition so more animals come out of the shelters and go into new homes.”

In 2011, over 17,000  adoptable animals were euthanised in the Los Angeles area – so the need is great.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and are an animal lover, perhaps you should consider assisting the NKLA movement by donating money, fostering, or adopting.

Sea burials for your pet

New England Burials at Sea offers a special service for pet burials at sea along the US coastline from Maine to Miami.

The most common service is for scattering of cremation ash, although the company also offers organic cotton shrouds for full body burials by enquiry.

The company was founded by Brad White, a self-confessed dog lover and owner of Schipperkes who understands that pets are part of the family.

Ceremonies start at $95.0o.  A poem is usually read after the ashes are scattered, followed by flowers or wreaths that are placed on the water.  Owners can email a photo of their pet to Captain Brad before their charter so a photo of their pet is included on the sea burial certificate.   The burial certificate records the date, time, and latitude and longitude (location) where the ashes were scattered.  Many charters are unattended by the pet’s family, but in one case Captain Brad says that over 40 people attended a pet farewell ceremony on his boat.

Read more about the pet burial service here.

A quick Google search shows that there are several other firms offering pet burials at sea.  They are:

San Diego Burial at Sea

Newport Landing Burial at Sea (Los Angeles area)

A Burial at Sea Maritime Funeral Services (Rhode Island)

Amazing Gracie’s Pet Burials at Sea (San Diego area)