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Archive for March, 2010

The Doberman pictured above chews compulsively on his flank.  Now scientists seem to have isolated a “compulsive” gene in dogs.  Here’s the article.  I’ve always thought that I’m a bit compulsive, but I assumed all dogs were (though so far they can’t test for a little only a lot).

March 20th, 2010
3:46 am

I was considering a post on yet another Chihuahua encounter with  a large snake here in Australia, but instead I’ve opted for this article on the origin of dogs.  The preliminary conclusion?  Despite the above photo from the article showing dingo, the idea is that dogs were domesticated from wolves in the middle east 20,000 years ago.  Here is the article.

March 17th, 2010
9:21 pm

That’s the Puggle Cruiser using his highly accurate nose on the beds of New York.

Let’s hope that Harry doesn’t get wind of this article and decide that the best way for me to earn his daily bread for him will be as a trained bedbug sniffer in New York.  At $350 per residential inspection this is a genuine concern.  Then again, at $350 per residential inspection soon every dog and his owner will be in the bed sniffing business.  For more information on the trend, here is the link and the first few paragraphs of a New York Times article by the estimable Penelope Green on the subject:

Dogs That Detect Bedbugs

By PENELOPE GREEN

CRUISER made four house calls on a recent rain-soaked Tuesday. There were two happy endings and two unhappy ones, a fairly typical outcome for a typical day in the life of a bedbug-sniffing puggle.

“Except that there’s nothing typical about this business,” said his handler, Jeremy Ecker, 35, whose six-month-old company, the Bed Bug Inspectors, has vetted hotels, college dorms and Midtown office buildings, suburban homes, bare-bones Brooklyn rentals and tony Manhattan co-ops. (Mr. Ecker, who charges $350 for a residential inspection, is an independent inspector, meaning he has no affiliation with an exterminator, though many hire him to check a property they have treated.)

Increasingly, real estate lawyers are urging buyers in contract to inspect apartments before they close, and in their advertising, many pest control companies exhort would-be tenants to “inspect before you rent.” And dogs like Cruiser can inspect a room in minutes, whereas lesser mammals like human beings need hours to conduct a visual inspection.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs, adorable yet stunningly accurate — entomology researchers at the University of Florida report that well-trained dogs can detect a single live bug or egg with 96 percent accuracy — are the new and furry front line in an escalating and confounding domestic war.

While experts cite a host of reasons for the upsurge, they agree on one thing: the bugs, which were mostly eradicated in this country at midcentury by now-banned pesticides like DDT but remained a constant scourge overseas, are finding their way back to the United States through an increase in global travel…

March 11th, 2010
1:05 am

Yours Truly’s eyes were opened by this article on dog makeup as it relates to the Cruft’s dog show in Britain (the Afghan above was apparently makeup free).  I had no idea of the prevalent use (outside of competitions) of “nose paint, dyes for a dog’s coat, hairspray, make-up,” and “lipstick and eye-liner.”   Please consider this a public service announcement for your dog’s well-being and take action accordingly to protect your dog against this threat.

March 9th, 2010
1:40 am

This story speaks for itself. My only question (mindful of how friends can have quarrels) is how strong are a cheetah’s jaws relative to a dog’s?

Also, for those of you interested in hypnagogia and the many odd things that can happen to our perception between waking and sleep, this essay in The New York Times is well worth a look.

March 5th, 2010
2:18 am

Yours Truly apologizes for his brief disappearance from these pages.  To be frank, I have been a bit downtrodden after a devoted fan brought to my attention that my website had been hacked and was displaying undesired (and undesirable) banner advertisements.  Fortunately, I managed to chase the hackers away with my bark (which though infrequently used still retains a formidable Labrador heartiness).  After that encounter, I retired to my cozy corner to regain my strength (again, thank you, our devoted fan for alerting us to this menace!).

Without further ado, this story out of England regarding walking a dog from a car.  Needless to say it is probably not a good idea to walk your dog from your car (although I do know of some happy dogs out West who get plenty of exercise chasing their human’s vehicles –so my thought is that an owner’s discretion and local custom need to be considered rather than some blanket rule always forbidding it … though if you want some exercise, why not join your dog?):

LONDON (AP) — An English dog-owner has been fined after taking his pet for a stroll while driving next to him in his car. Prosecutors said Paul Railton was spotted driving at low speed along a country lane in December, holding his dog’s leash through the car window as the animal trotted alongside.

Railton pleaded guilty Monday to not being in proper control of a vehicle. His lawyer, Paul Donoghue, said 23-year-old Railton acknowledged ”it was a silly thing to do and there was an element of laziness” while exercising his lurcher, a type of crossbred sighthound.

Railton was ordered by magistrates in Consett, northeast England, to pay a 66 pound ($100) fine, plus costs.

He also received three more penalty points on his license and is now barred from driving for six months.

March 2nd, 2010
6:22 pm