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News: Editors
Listen to Alexandra Horowitz

For your listening pleasure—tune into Alexandra Horowitz, author of the bestselling, “must read” book, Inside of a Dog, being interviewed on the “Person Place Thing” radio program by Randy Cohen. You can listen at any time.

As their site notes about Alexandra:

A professor of psychology at Barnard, Alexandra Horowitz is the director of that school’s Dog Cognition Lab. What we particularly admire about her: she is one of a very few scientists who can write about current ideas in her field in a way that a lay audience finds not only comprehensible – dayanu – but intriguing, which she did to great effect in her book “Inside of a Dog: What dogs see, smell and know,” and more recently in “On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes.”

Listen now

News: Editors
Companions for Eternity
Humans and Pets can be buried together, in NY state

Good news for dog-lovers in New York state, pet cemeteries will be allowed to accept the cremated remains of humans and bury them alongside those of their pets. This change resolves a two-year-old dispute that began when the state refused to allow the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery—the oldest pet cemetery in the nation—to accept the ashes of a former NYPD officer, Thomas Ryan, who requested that he be buried with his three deceased Maltese pups. The officer’s niece, Taylor York, an attorney petitioned the state to change the rule that had forbidden this. 

“People do get a sense of comfort from knowing they can lie for eternity with their beloved pet, that they can be loved and protected in the afterlife just as faithfully as when they were alive,” York said. The 117-year-old Hartsdale Pet cemetery, had been interring cremated human remains since the 1920s and had already buried the remains of Ryan’s wife, Bunny, beside the couples three Maltese dogs, DJ 1, DJ 2 and DJ 3.

“They didn’t have any children,” York said. “Each (Maltese), was their pride and joy.”

And even though his wife’s remains were already buried there, the state balked when it came to complying with Ryan’s wishes.

“I am not sure what prompted it,” said Hartsdale owner Ed Martin. “The whole thing, as far as I was concerned was a silly matter.”

Martin said the pet cemetery gets about five or six requests a year from pet owners to have their ashes buried with their dogs, cats, birds or other companions.

He estimates the ashes of about 700 people were already under the soil in the cemetery when the state stepped in.

Luckily now with this new ruling, people in, at least that state, will be allowed to spend all of eternity alongside their beloved pets.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/pets-pet-owners-allowed-buried-article-1.1455809#ixzz2esUpe63b

 

 

 

 

News: Editors
Hero Dog Better Than Nanny Cam

While a nanny cam might be a good idea to keep track of both a child and a caregiver, even better idea might to trust in your dog’s instincts. A couple in Charleston, S.C., learned about this the hard way. It was their dog Killian who alerted them to an abusive nanny they had hired for their young son, Finn.

Benjamin and Hope Jordan did a background check before they hired the babysitter for their 7-month-old son, Finn, last year. So they hired 22-year-old Alexis Khan, who seemed to be an attentive and loving sitter in her first five months at work. But the Jordans were concerned when their trusted calm, family dog, Killian, started acting strangely toward Khan.

“…we started to notice that our dog was very defensive of our son when she would come in the door,” Benjamin Jordan told the local TV WCSC TV’s Live 5. “He was very aggressive towards her and a few times we actually had to physically restrain our dog from going towards her.” Their dog had never reacted this way towards anyone before.

The parents were concerned and suspicious and decided to put an iPhone under the couch to record what was happening while they were at work.

“It started with cussing,” Jordan said. “Then you hear slap noises and his crying changes from a distress cry to a pain cry. I just wanted to reach through the audio tape, go back in time and just grab him up.

“To know that five months I had handed my child to a monster, not knowing what was going on in my house for that day…”

The Jordans called the police and Khan was taken into custody. Last Monday, she pleaded guilty for assault and battery in Charleston County Circuit Court. Khan will spend one to three years in prison and will be placed on a child abuse registry.

“That is fantastic news to us. To know that maybe Finn’s ordeal has possibly saved another child’s life in the future,” Mr. Jordan told Live 5. “Had our dog not alerted us to the trouble, had my wife’s instincts not said we need to make something happen, it could have been Finn that was killed by the babysitter. You never know.”

Don’t you think that this shows that every family with a babysitter also needs a doggy cam? Good work Killian!

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Dogs Learning to Fly
Airport movie set doubles as a training ground for jet setting pups

Flying isn't a fun activity for most people, so you can only imagine how an animal feels who has no idea what's going on. After seeing a stressed dog go through airport security, Talaat Captan, owner of Air Hollywood, decided to use his aviation themed movie studio to help dogs become comfortable flying. In addition to film work, Air Hollywood also offers training for people with a fear of flying. Helping dogs seemed like a natural next step.

The sets at Air Hollywood have been used in movies and television shows such as Bridesmaids, Kill Bill, and NCIS. For the K9 Flight School, the scenes are transformed to train dogs. Famous actors are replaced with extras hired to simulate a crowded, chaotic terminal complete with TSA security checkpoints, rolling luggage carts, and loud departure announcements.  

After navigating the terminal, dogs board an airplane set that simulates takeoff, turbulence, and landing motions and noises. Every detail is recreated down to the shutting of overhead luggage bins and the dimming of cabin lights. The class focuses on small pups or service dogs that are allowed in the cabin. Unfortunately for the big dogs, the course doesn't address traveling in cargo.

The curriculum, created by a dog trainer, was tested on 60 puppies from Guide Dogs for the Blind. Rick Wilcox, who oversees puppy-training in Southern California, said the simulations were so realistic that some of the handlers who don't like to fly became nervous.

The only way I know about acclimating animals to planes is by training dogs to jump in a kennel resting on inflatable exercise discs (to simulate movement) while playing an airplane sounds CD. Air Hollywood's K9 Flight School is an amazing way to introduce a dog to flying. Los Angeles is lucky to have an aviation themed movie set that can be used for this purpose. I don't think I'll be seeing this kind of class in New York any time soon!

News: Guest Posts
Dog Drinking: An Acrobatic Tongue Act

If you live with a dog, then you are familiar with this sound.

Unlike barks, growls and howls — dog sounds that easily take center stage — a dog lapping up water is background, white noise. Dog drinking attracts little attention until you unexpectedly step in a puddle of slopped-over water while wearing socks.

A closer look reveals there is nothing commonplace about how dogs drink. Instead, to ingest liquids, the tongue seems to perform almost acrobatic feats. Slow-motion footage of dogs lapping up water shows that the tongue curls backward to create a spoon shape. The below video from of The Secret Life of Dogs, a Nat Geo WILD special that premiered Sunday, August 25, hints at the intricacies of how dogs drink.

 

From the above clip, it could appear that by curling the tongue backward and filling the spoon-shaped tongue with water, dogs drink by scooping, or spooning, liquids into their mouths. But a paper published by Crompton and Musinsky in Biology Letters in 2011, finds there is more to the story.

While dog tongues do assume a spoon-shaped position while drinking, much of that liquid falls out. Using high-speed and x-ray video recordings of a dog lapping up a colored liquid, instead of clear water, the researchers could see that the tip of the dog’s tongue was actually drawing a column of water up into the mouth, and this column of water is what dogs are drinking. This observation is difficult to make from slow-motion videos of dogs drinking clear liquids like water. By taking x-ray video of a dog drinking a dark liquid, in this case a mixture of milk and barium, Crompton and Musinsky could see that dogs draw up liquid by the tip of the tongue, and the tongue then traps previously lapped water onto the roof of the mouth so the dog can bring more water in without losing what it already has.

Ultimately, the researchers found that dogs use the same drinking technique as cats. This might be surprising because dogs make such a mess while drinking, and cats seem to emulate the daintiness of royalty, but dog tongues dive deeper into liquids thereby giving off more spray.

The researchers concluded that dogs and cats share the same basic mechanism for drinking: “adhesion of liquid to the tongue rather than ‘scooping’ by the tongue.” I’ll drink to that.

 

Additional Reading and References

Crompton and Musinsky. 2011. How Dogs Lap: Ingestion and Intraoral Transport in Canis familiaris. Biology Letters 7, 882–884.
Reis et al. 2010. How Cats Lap: Water Uptake by Felis catus. Science 330 1231–1234.
Young. Dogs Do Drink Like Cats After All. Not Exactly Rocket Science. May 24, 2011.

About the Author

Julie Hecht, MSc, is a canine behavioral researcher and science writer in New York City. She writes a behavior column for The Bark. She would really like to meet your dog. Follow on Dog Spies at Facebook and Twitter @DogSpies | DogSpies.com

This story was originally published by Scientific American. Reprinted with permission.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Seeing Previous Guardians
Love in the past and present

Many years ago, I acquired a 2½-year old Lab mix from a family who was rehoming him. The conflicts with their other dog had become alarming and had compromised the quality of life for the entire household. My bond with my new dog formed quickly and was strong until he died and beyond.

It’s phenomenal how well dogs can form new attachments and love so many people throughout their lives. Humans can do that, too, though this is far from common in the animal world. I couldn’t help but notice the happiness my dog expressed when we ran into his original family around town, which happened a few times a year.

Whenever he saw them, he went, for lack of a better term, completely bonkers. He jumped straight into the air like he was on a pogo stick, with all four paws nearly five feet off the ground. His face showed pure joy as he greeted them, and they were much the same in their expressions. Though there was so much love on both sides, they chose to place him in a home where he was not at risk of being harmed by fights with their other, older dog. I’m so grateful for that because otherwise he would never have entered my life.

Though my dog was thrilled to see the people he lived with from 8 weeks to 2½ years of age, he never attempted to stay with them. After each reunion, he invariably returned his attention to me and did not hesitate as we walked away. There were no backward glances and he did not seem confused in any way. Though I can’t know exactly what he felt or thought, I can make guesses based on his behavior. I think he was happy to see the people he knew from the past because he loved them. He also loved me and I believe that he naturally felt more connected to me because we were currently spending time together, sharing a home and a life.

I always enjoyed his reaction to his first family because I liked seeing him happy for any reason. I would have been horrified to see him react to them with avoidance, fear or any other negative emotion. A show of indifference would not have been much better as that would have made me wonder if he would be capable of ceasing to care about me, too. It also made me happy because I could see how much it meant to the family to be honored with an over-the-top exuberant greeting from the dog they loved. It had been a heartbreaking decision for them to give him up for the safety of both dogs. They were overjoyed to see that he still loved them, too, and was excited to see them.

How does your dog react to seeing a previous guardian or a foster family? Or, if you were previously the guardian or foster family to a dog you’ve been able to see again, how does the dog act at the reunion?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Four Countries Seek to End Dog Smuggling
Alliance scrutinizes trafficking pets for food
Asian countries and their canine delicacies are often the target of many jokes. While I can't judge anyone for their dietary preferences (I still can't give up hamburgers despite the inhumane beef industry we have in our country), I was horrified to learn about the Trade of Shame, smugglers that steal pets in Thailand to supply a black market for dog meat in Vietnam.  

Pets are targeted because they are easy to catch since they are friendlier than your average stray dog. Many are taken in the middle of the night, straight from people's backyards. It's a cruel practice made worse by the fact smugglers believe instilling fear and stress in the dogs release hormones that flavor the meat.

The Soi Dog Foundation and the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have been fighting for years to get an animal welfare law through parliament. While not exactly what they were hoping for, an alliance formed last week between Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos is a big step in the right direction.  

The four countries pledged to stop the trafficking of pets for meat by establishing a five-year ban on importing dogs into Vietnam and planning incentives to motivate law enforcement to tackle smuggling.

The collaboration is a breakthrough even though the true motivation is to stop the spread of disease rather than organized crime or animal cruelty. Vietnam has one of Asia's worst rabies problems, which is exacerbated by canine trafficking.  

Trying to end a lucrative illegal market will certainly be an uphill battle. Each dog can fetch 5,000-7,000 baht ($155-215) and it's estimated that 5 million dogs are slaughtered annually. Some fear that managing the border between Thailand and other countries will just force smugglers to find new routes and tactics.  

This debate is not about whether it's right or wrong to eat dogs, but about ending a cruel and unethical practice.  Similar to preventing stolen pets from becoming research subjects or dog fighting bait, there is no magic solution to ending these criminal activities. However I'm glad that the four Asian countries are taking a step in the right direction, even if stopping trafficking isn't the main goal.

News: Editors
Recall: Chicken Jerky
Joey's Jerky Brand

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is announcing a voluntary recall of Joey’s Jerky brand Chicken Jerky due to possible Salmonella risk. A total of 21 people in Merrimack and Hillsborough Counties have been identified with the same strain of the illness, but no deaths have occurred. Joey’s Jerky is produced in New Hampshire and the manufacturer, Kritter’s Kitchen Kreations, LLC, has voluntarily recalled all of the product. Joey’s Jerky was sold at the following six stores: America’s Pet in Hudson, Blue Seal in Bow, K9 Kaos in Dover, Osborne’s Agway in Concord, Sandy’s Pet Food Center in Concord, and The Yellow Dogs Barn in Barrington. DHHS is asking people to check if they have any of these jerky treats at home and to discard them.

According to The Telegraph in Nashua, N.H.:

This jerky was made in Loudon, NH. Its website as part of New Hampshire Made, a consortium of local firms, identifies the owner only as Krista, “a mother of an adult son, and 6 furry friends.”

The company’s goal, it says, is “to provide fresh, locally made treats for your pet.”

Marks said that more local firms are making pet treats and pet foods these days as a reflection of the “local food” movement.

“More and more, people are doing that. They don’t want to be buying from China. They want to know where their food is, where it’s from,” she said.

Through investigation and interviewing the ill people, the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control determined that the jerky treats were implicated in spreading Salmonella. Confirmation through laboratory testing of the jerky is pending at the New Hampshire Public Health Labs.

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes the diarrheal illness Salmonellosis, which can be serious in some patients. Symptoms also include fever and abdominal cramps within 12-72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts from 4 to 7 days. Although most people recover without treatment, severe infections may occur that may move to other body sites and in rare cases can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

“While uncommon, pet food and treats can sometimes be contaminated with Salmonella, which is why it is so important for pet owners to wash their hands after handling pet food and treats,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “I want to commend the manufacturer of Joey’s Jerky for their cooperation in this investigation and the epidemiologists here at Public Health for their excellent work. Salmonella can be a serious illness and the sooner the source of an outbreak is identified the sooner it can be stopped.”

For more information on Salmonella, contact the DHHS Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 603-271-4496 or visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at www.cdc.gov/salmonella.

Source:  http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/media/pr/2013/09-sept/09102013recall.htm

 

 

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Facial Recognition of Dogs
Tagging on Facebook

I was super amused when Facebook asked me to tag “Colita” in a recent post. I did not know that dogs were fair game for tagging or that facial recognition software could be used with them on Facebook. I’m amazed how well the technology works for dogs, because show most people a litter puppies and they struggle to tell them apart.

Okay, they’re fine when it comes to breeds with distinct markings like border collies, Jack Russell terriers, or beagles. Show them 10-12 golden retrievers or bichon frises, though, and most people will rely on alternative methods rather than facial recognition to tell some of the more similar littermates apart. Perhaps I should get used to expecting more from technology. After all, I’m always impressed that Facebook can correctly distinguish between my husband and his identical twin brother when many people, even those who know them well, can’t.

In recent years, rescue groups have started to use facial recognition software to help find lost dogs. The app Finding Rover uses facial recognition software to help reunite guardians with lost dogs. And the Auckland SPCA in New Zealand is using facial recognition software to help match people with their doggleganger—the dog that looks the most like them.

Facial recognition software is being used in new ways for important purposes, but all I really want to know is whether you tag your dogs on Facebook. Do you?

News: Guest Posts
Finding Dr Right
What makes a good vet?

We want to know about the veterinarian of your dreams – whether you’ve found him or her, or not.

For an article in an upcoming issue of The Bark on how we choose a veterinarian, we’d like to know what – in your eyes -- are the most important factors.

If you’ve found the perfect vet, just what is it that makes him or her perfect? If you’re still seeking that person, just what exactly is it you’re looking for.?

As our dogs become more and more like family members, the choice of vet is a decision humans probably take more seriously than they did 50 years ago. Time was one’s choice of veterinarian was based in large part on proximity.

We’re guessing that has changed. Now we seek opinions from friends, question fellow denizens of the dog park, turn to online reviews, and perhaps even make some in-office visits, all in our quest for the perfect vet.

But what makes the perfect vet?

Is it where he or she went to school? Is it a friendly staff, reasonable rates? Is it how quickly you can make an appointment or how long you spend in the waiting room? Is it bedside manner, empathy, or compassion? Is it how clearly that vet can communicate? Whether they honor your pet insurance? Is it how the vet connects with you, how the vet connects with your dog, or both?

We want to know what is (or was) the single most important factor in your choice of veterinarian, and how you found the one (if you have) that you can’t imagine ever leaving.

Tell us about the veterinarian of your dreams by leaving a comment, preferably with your name attached, on The Bark’s blog, or on ohmidog!

 

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