Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dogs to get their iPaws as scientists build computers for animals

It would certainly have made life easier for Lassie. Scientists are designing computers that can be used by dogs so they can play, operate household appliances and even communicate with their owners.

 Scientists are designing computers that can be used by dogs so they can play, operate household appliances and even communicate with their owners.

The researchers hope the technology can help make daily tasks quicker and easier for the animals in the same way it has transformed the lives of humans.

The project is aimed at developing devices that can be controlled using touch screens and objects that can shaken like an iPhone by dogs to control computers. MORE>>

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blind sled dog Gonzo gets help from his brother Poncho

JEFFERSON, N.H. - When Gonzo started tripping over his food dish three years ago, no one could explain or stop the Alaskan husky's quickly advancing blindness. But a veterinarian offered some simple advice: "Run this dog."
Gonzo, one of 120 dogs at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, was happy to comply. With help from his brother, Poncho, he soon resumed his place pulling a sled all over New Hampshire's North Country to the delight of tourists and his caretakers, who quickly realized that if Gonzo didn't treat his blindness like an obstacle, neither would they. Given the dog's obvious eagerness, he was allowed to continue on as usual.
"Even though he's blind, he still knows when hook-ups are happening. He's still very aware," said kennel manager Ben Morehouse. "When you have a dog such as Gonzo, with such a want and a drive and a desire ... you try it, you hook up, you see what happens." MORE>>

Saturday, December 22, 2012

K-9 Comfort Dogs Help Grieving Newtown Families


Something about petting a dog can say more than a human who may not be able to find the words to consul someone who is grieving.
Dispatched to Newtown, Conn., the dogs have gone from funerals and hospitals, interacting with friends and families of the victims. One child, who hadn’t spoken since the shooting, began talking to one of the dogs.
Another child who witnessed the shootings hadn’t told anyone what he saw, but upon petting one of the dogs, he told the dog the story of what he saw. More.....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our dogs often are reflections of who we are Read

My professional sources inside the dog world tell me it’s no joke that people often resemble their dogs – and vice versa. That includes more than simple appearance, as I noticed the other day.

 A woman came walking down the sidewalk connected by a leash to a border collie. Border collies are frequently listed at No. 1 on lists of the smartest dogs.

They are to the canine world what geniuses like Einstein, Newt Gingrich and Martha Stewart are to the human world. True, Einstein is dead, but so are a lot of border collies.

In fairness, we mustn’t forget that they used to be smart before they became doggie dust. There’s more to similarities between border collies and their humans than brains.

Those dogs have an almost human personality, They are civilized and sane. That woman walking down the sidewalk the other more>>

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Service Dogs Pick Up Scent of Diabetes Danger

About two times a night, Shana Eppler wakes up to an alarm and slips into her daughter Abbie's room to test the 8-year-old's blood sugar.

 Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 4, Abbie experiences low blood-sugar levels, a potentially dangerous condition known as hypoglycemia that can cause the loss of consciousness.

 The alarm Ms. Eppler uses to avoid a health emergency is a furry one named Gracie, an 70-pound, 3-year-old British Labrador retriever trained to sniff out high and low blood-sugar levels.

When Abbie's sugar level rises or falls below a certain target at night, Gracie rings a bell and Ms. Eppler gets up. "The scenting part comes naturally," says Ms. Eppler, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

"They are hunting blood sugars instead of ducks." Diabetic, or hypoglycemic, "alert dogs" are a growing class of service dogs best known for guiding the visually impaired, sniffing out drugs and bombs, or providing mobility assistance for people with severe disabilities.

Most recently, they have been trained to sniff out cancer and oncoming seizures. Toni Eames, president of International Association of Assistance Dog Partners, estimates there are over 30,000 assistance dogs working in the U.S., including dogs that have been trained by individuals.  MORE>>

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Life as a White House pet

Author Jennifer Boswell Pickens' new book, "Pets at the White House," gives readers a glimpse of what life is like at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for pets, and what those pets have meant to their famous owners.

"I think they all would agree 100 percent that they got a lot of comfort from their pets," Pickens said.
The coffee-table book devotes a chapter to each administration's pets from Kennedy to Obama. And an introduction gives an overview of the animals that were part of first families before 1961, which Pickens notes includes the array of pets cared for by Calvin Coolidge and his family, including Rebecca the raccoon, who walked on a leash.
"They became such known pet lovers that if you no longer wanted your pet you could just ship it to the White House and they were known to keep it," Pickens said. MORE>>

Monday, October 29, 2012

Will Supreme Court turn up its nose at drug-sniffing dogs?

(Reuters) - Two dogs, a chocolate Labrador retriever named Franky and a German shepherd named Aldo, should have their day at the U.S. Supreme Court.

 The court is scheduled on Wednesday to hear Florida's appeal of two decisions by that state's highest court that found the detection of drugs by trained police dogs had violated the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

 These arguments involve distinctly different issues: whether a dog can sniff outside a home without a warrant, and how qualified a dog must be to do a legitimate sniff. They give the Supreme Court a chance to extend, or limit, prior decisions giving police a long leash to use dogs, including for suitcases at airports and cars stopped at checkpoints.

 "If the court vindicates the ability of police to use dogs without probable cause, and that a sniff outside a car justifies searching that car, it could enhance their ability to use dogs for law enforcement," said Richard Garnett, a University of Notre Dame law professor and clerk for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. 

Like others in law enforcement, Florida maintains that dog "alerts" are not searches because they uncover illegal activities that deserve no privacy protection.

This will be an interesting case... keep a watch out! MORE>>

British army dog joins list of animal war heroes

LONDON (AP) — British soldiers and military dogs gathered at a London army barracks Thursday to honor a fallen hero with selfless courage, nerves of steel — and four legs.

 Theo, a bomb-sniffing springer spaniel who died in Afghanistan on the day his soldier partner was killed, was posthumously honored with the Dickin Medal, Britain's highest award for bravery by animals.

Theo worked alongside Lance Cpl. Liam Tasker, searching for roadside bombs in Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold. Tasker, 26, died in a firefight with insurgents in March 2011, and Theo suffered a fatal seizure hours later. Tasker's mother, Jane Duffy, says the pair were inseparable.

She's convinced Theo died of a broken heart. "They'll be watching us, and they'll be so proud," she said. "I just wish they were here to get it themselves."  MORE>>

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mysterious dog poisonings on rise in Moscow

Moscow — Vera Lesovets held up photographs of her dog, Yasha, a spunky 5-year-old corgi, nipping playfully at the heels of a German shepherd twice her size.

But Yasha's life was cut short this week: After snacking on something in a Moscow park, she fell into a seizure at Lesovets' apartment and began foaming at the mouth. The family rushed her to a nearby animal clinic, where the veterinarian said this was the sixth case he had seen that week, and there was nothing he could do.
On Friday police opened a criminal investigation into what they suspect are poisonings by dog killers. Cruelty to animals is common in Russia and animal protection laws are rarely enforced, but reports of as many as 70 dead dogs this week have spurred the police to take action.

From The Detroit News: MORE>>

Saturday, July 14, 2012

$158,000 dog wedding sets record

Two dogs got married Thursday night at an extravaganza to benefit the Humane Society of New York in what is being billed as the most expensive pet wedding ever.
Bride Baby Hope Diamond, a white Coton de Tulear with black-gray markings, was led down the aisle, resplendent in her canine couture gown.
Her poodle groom, a dapper dude named Chilly Pasternak from Richmond, Va., didn't seem too excited about the whole affair but, nevertheless, went along with the ceremony. Seven-year itch, anyone?
After they got hitched, the cuddly couple were presented with a Guinness World Record in the category of most expensive pet wedding at $158,187.26. The luxury goods and services that went into the wedding were all donated. Guests bought tickets for the Manhattan fundraiser. MORE>>
Gosh... before I read the article, I thought someone was just too rich! Good fundraiser idea :)

Twitter helps find dog that took train

When Patch hopped aboard the train to Dublin, it took the power of Twitter to reunite the dog with his owner.
Irish Rail sent a "Lost dog!" tweet with a photo attachment after the Jack Russell terrier arrived with Wednesday morning commuters on a train from rural Kilcock, County Kildare, an hour's ride away.
After more than 500 retweets in just 32 minutes, the photo found Patch's owner, Deirdre Anglin, who tweeted the state railway: "That's my dog!"
The episode underscored the ubiquitous use of mobile-friendly social media sites in Ireland, a tech-savvy corner of Europe where cell phones were the norm long before they were in the United States.
Soon after Patch went missing Tuesday night in Kilcock, 30 kilometres west of Dublin, Anglin said she did "the usual social network thing," posting pictures of the dog on her Facebook account and appealing for followers to spot him.
It wasn't until after Patch waltzed on to the 6.49 am commuter train in Kilcock that the alarm was sounded.  MORE>>

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Uggie plants prints in Hollywood

Uggie, the lively Jack Russell terrier whose antics in Oscar-winning film The Artist stole audience members' hearts, became the first dog to leave his prints beside the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable in front of Hollywood's famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Dressed in a black bow tie and posing for photographers, Uggie sank his paws in cement in a ceremony that also marked his retirement from the movies. The 10-year-old canine, who hit the big time as French actor Jean Dujardin's cute sidekick in the silent movie, will appear at charity events, his trainer said.
"Everybody thinks I am great trainer. I don't think so. I think he is just a great dog," trainer Omar von Muller said at the paw print ceremony, thanking Uggie's fans and his thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.  MORE>>

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dogs may curb asthma in kids: Study

Dogs may cause some to cough and sneeze, however a new study says pets may actually help curb allergies and asthma.

 Researchers from the University of California - San Francisco and University of Michigan - Ann Arbor say children who grow up with dogs may be less likely to get respiratory infections and asthma later on. In an experiment, mice were divided into three groups.

The first group of mice were fed the dust from homes with pets and then infected with respiratory syncytial virus, a common childhood pathogen that can make kids more prone to asthma. The second group was infected with the virus, and the third group wasn't infected with the virus. MORE>>

Do Dogs Really Like to Surf?

Dog surfing trainers say the dogs are actually enjoying themselves as they take to the board.
"You only attempt surfing with dogs that really love the beach and water," explained Rob Kuty, the official animal trainer at the Helen Woodward Animal Center in San Diego. "Dogs who fear or dislike either are almost impossible to train to surf, so you won’t find those dogs at these types of competitions."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dog Yawn Study: Human Yawns 'Contagious' For Canines

Yawn next to your dog, and she may do the same. Though it seems simple, this contagious behavior is actually quite remarkable: Only a few animals do it, and only dogs cross the species barrier. Now a new study finds that dogs yawn even when they only hear the sound of us yawning, the strongest evidence yet that canines may be able to empathize with us.

 Besides people and dogs, contagious yawning has been observed in gelada baboons, stump-tail macaques, and chimpanzees. Humans tend to yawn more with friends and acquaintances, suggesting that "catching" someone's yawn may be tied to feelings of empathy. Similarly, some studies have found that dogs tend to yawn more after watching familiar people yawning.

But it is unclear whether the canine behavior is linked to empathy as it is in people. One clue might be if even the mere sound of a human yawn elicited yawning in dogs. To that end, scientists at the University of Porto in Portugal recruited 29 dogs, all of whom had lived for at least 6 months with their owners. To reduce anxiety, the study was performed in familiar rooms in the dogs' homes and in the presence of a known person but with no visual contact with their owners. MORE>>


Emory University’s Center for Neuropolicy in Atlanta has developed a new way of scanning the brains of alert dogs with the aim of getting a more accurate understanding of how they think.

According to the center’s director and lead researcher Gregory Berns:

 As far as we know, no one has been able to do this previously. We hope this opens up a whole new door for understanding canine cognition and inter-species communication. We want to understand the dog-human relationship, from the dog’s perspective. 

 The dog involved in the experiment was trained to walk up to the MRI machine and hold his head still while her brain was scanned. The research is further deepened by analyzing how the dog’s brain patterns change in response to hand signals and vocal cues. This will flesh out insights into canine cognition, social cognition of other species, interspecies communication, and provide a deeper understanding of the human-canine relationship. via PSFK: MORE>>

Pit Bull Rescues Unconscious Owner from Oncoming Train

Move over, Lassie. A Massachusetts pit bull named Lilly took on a freight train last week to save her owner, who collapsed unconscious onto the tracks during a late-night walk in Shirley.

 The 8-year-old dog used her teeth to pull Christine Spain, 54, off the tracks as the train approached. While Spain emerged unscathed, Lilly lost a leg.

 The train's engineer, who didn't want to give his name, said he spotted the woman and her dog on the tracks just after midnight on May 3, according to the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

 He said he tried to stop the train in time but feared he'd hit them both. When he got out, he found that Spain was unharmed, but the train's wheels had sliced through Lilly's front right leg, which was bleeding heavily.

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Dogs Left Caged For Nearly 4 Years

LACONIA, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Humane Society said a woman in Plymouth who was unable to care for her dogs left them caged nearly all day long for at least the last four years.

Police confiscated the dogs late last month but did not charge their owner, who police said is elderly and suffers from a medical condition. The nine dogs have made great strides since arriving at the New Hampshire Humane Society, but their medical problems are extensive. One dog spent so much time caged up over the last few years that he still has a hard time standing up.

 "He's the dog that really tears at my heartstrings the most," said Marylee Gorham, of the New Hampshire Humane Society. The 17-year-old Jack Russell terrier is named Napoleon.

 "Over time, he has just become very crouched up and arthritic, to the point now if you see him standing, which is very difficult for him, he can't stand straight. He's kind of all crouched up and obviously in pain," Gorham said.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

TV channel goes to the dogs

Filmmakers are calling DogTV a new breed of television - an eight-hour block of on-demand cable TV programming designed to keep your dog relaxed, stimulated and entertained while you are at work.

 To get the right footage, cameramen got on their knees and shot low and long. ''I shot from the point of view of the dog,'' said Gilad Neumann, chief executive officer of DogTV. In production, they had to mute colours, alter sound and add music specially written for dogs.

 There will be no commercials, no ratings and no reruns, although some might argue that watching a slug crawl is hardly exciting new programming. MORE>>

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Drug dog prompts lawsuit

Basically, the end of the story tells it all... it's about a road side stop with a husband and wife. Because they were stopped, the drug dogs were ALLOWED to search. The dog alerted (ya right!) to drugs, so it gave cops the right to search.  MORE>>

 Weir "rummaged" through the Millers' personal effects and physically searched Miller's person, but no drugs, weapons or other illicit materials were found, the lawsuit said.

 Weir allegedly attempted to allow the dog to sniff Miller's person, threatening the dog would bite Miller if he moved.

The dog allegedly was ordered to enter the Millers' vehicle while Miller's wife was still inside, the suit said. Weir handcuffed Miller when Miller declared he would sue Weir, apparently because Miller had "threatened" him with a lawsuit, according to court documents.

The Plymouth officer was not trained on methods to avoid or minimize the chance of false alerts by the dog, the suit said.

 In the suit, Miller alleges the Plymouth dog alerted to about 60 percent of the vehicles it sniffed, but non-trace amounts of substances the dog was trained to detect were found in only 25 percent of the vehicles on which the dog alerted.

 The state has an obligation to protect people from constitutional violations arising from the use of poorly trained or improperly certified drug-detection dogs, the suit said.

Because law enforcement officers may detain a vehicle for the slightest traffic violation and thereafter use drug-detection dogs to circumvent warrant requirements for a search, individuals are under the threat of unreasonable searches and extended roadside detention, the lawsuit said.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic Dogs Remembered In Museum Exhibit On Eve Of 100th Anniversary

The Titanic sank into the North Atlantic 100 years ago this Sunday, killing more than 1,500 people in what remains the most famous shipwreck in modern history. And after being recounted, researched and re-enacted for generations, a trove of information has emerged about the ship, the iceberg, the victims and the survivors.

Image of Titanic Dogs
But at least a dozen Titanic passengers have received far less attention over the past century. As a new centennial museum exhibit reveals, roughly 12 dogs were onboard the Titanic on April 15, 1912, all pets of first-class passengers.

"There is such a special bond between people and their pets. For many, they are considered to be family members," exhibit curator and Widener University historian J. Joseph Edgette said in a recent news release. "I don't think any Titanic exhibit has examined that relationship and recognized those loyal family pets that also lost their lives on the cruise."

At least nine dogs died when the Titanic went down, but the exhibit also highlights three that survived: two Pomeranians and a Pekingese. As Edgette told Yahoo News this week, they made it out alive due to their size — and probably not at the expense of any human passengers. "The dogs that survived were so small that it's doubtful anyone even realized they were being carried to the lifeboats," Edgette says.