Off to the Flamenco!

This may look a rather strange way of walking the dog but in fact it’s sensible. This lady is waiting to get into the Flamenco Festival in Gorbio village – naturally pooch comes too – and with her own little carrying bag she has somewhere to sit comfortably – and feels secure -  whilst the performance is on.

If you want to see photos of the flamenco dancing please click on Menton Daily Photo.


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Retired Policemen Has Service Dog Taken Away

The Stupid, It Burns!I generally try to avoid the constant drumbeat of doom and gloom on the Internet. If you take much of what you see on Facebook and blogs at face value you wouldn’t think that in the past 10 years or so dog training, rescue, and animal welfare had come as far as it had. Fact is, most activists aren’t up to the task of winning hearts and minds without truthiness and drama.

But I digress.

In BraindeathAurelia, Iowa a retired policeman and war veteran has had to surrender his service dog because he (the dog) is a pit bull.

Here are the money quotes:

Aurelia is “simply exercising its authority to protect and preserve the rights and property of its residents — whether or not that’s trumped by” federal law. said George Wittgraf, an attorney representing BraindeathAurelia.

Well, it is trumped by federal law. This genius of an attorney didn’t just watch his client open itself to incredibly expensive legal and civil consequences, he’s bragging about it to the press.

Second, breed specific legislation does not protect communities. It is the refuge of lazy cowards that lack the knowledge and/or willpower to do what it takes to actually protect people from dangerous dogs.

“They had several people come forward saying they were concerned about the pit bull because of the nature of the breed. They just feel it’s unsafe. They’re aggressive and could hurt somebody. If the service animal was anything but a pit bull, it would have been fine,” said City Clerk Barb Messerole.

Yes, that’s right. Based on the complaints of several of the “friendly citizens of Aurelia” these Mensa candidates have decided to defy federal law and take away a disabled veteran’s service animal.

What more can I say? Brent Toellner has written volumes on the stupidity and ineffectiveness of BSL, and on the beautifully coined term panic policy making.” This appears to be a result of this kind of policy making: Aurelia’s breed ban apparently dates back to, get this, a single bite.

A miserable Christmas to you too, Auerlia, Iowa. Here’s hoping for coal in your stocking.

And a very, very, very, costly loss in court. The kind that ends careers.

Retired Policemen Has Service Dog Taken Away is a post from: Dog Spelled Forward

Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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ASPCA Assists in Finding Homes for Cats Rescued from Caboodle Ranch

ASPCA Assists in Finding Homes for Cats Rescued from Caboodle Ranch
Additional groups that provided assistance for the adoption events include: PetSmart Charities, Inc. (providing grants to all of the host communities, as well as wire cages and shelter supplies); Subaru of America, Inc. (ID tags); FidoPharm® (PetArmor
Read more on WCTV

Tia's Tex-Mex To Aid PAWS Pet Charity Fundraiser With Patio Tips
and transport animals, metal shelving, a large shed for housing supplies and kennels, a used ultrasound machine, a freezer, dryer and flea heartworm preventatives including Trifexis, Comfortis, Frontline, Pet Armor, Pednisone, Advantage and Revolution.

Mega Adoption Events Set for Hundreds of Caboodle Ranch Cats Rescued by
Additional groups providing assistance for the adoption events include: PetSmart Charities, Inc. (providing grants to all of the host communities, as well as wire cages and shelter supplies); Subaru of America, Inc. (ID tags); FidoPharm(®) (PetArmor
Read more on RedOrbit

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Jackal is a meaningless term

A side-striped jackal (Canis adustus), the jackal no one talks about.

We’ve always called the smaller wild dogs in the genus Canis jackals.

Historically, there were four species of jackal:  the golden (Canis aureus), the black-backed (Canis mesomelas), the side-striped (Canis adustus), and the Simien (Canis simensis).

Some authorities considered they coyote (Canis latrans) to be a jackal, usually called “the American jackal.”

At one time, they were all placed in the genus Thous.

This, of course, assumed that these animals were all closely related to each other.

However, as we’ve looked at DNA analysis, the relationship between jackals shows that the term “jackal” is actually quite meaningless.

In 1994, an mtDNA study revealed that the Simien jackal had certain mtDNA sequences that were more similar to wolves than other jackals. It was thought to be a relict population of primitive wolves that came into Africa during the Pleistocene.

And from that time forth, the English name of this species was change to “Ethiopian wolf.”  I don’t call it anything else.

However, as more work was performed on jackals, certain facts became evident.

Initial studies of black-backed, side-striped, and golden jackal mtDNA revealed that black-backs in East Africa had huge variances in their mtDNA. Golden jackals had mtDNA that was most similar to coyotes and wolves, while black backs and side-stripes were more similar to each other.

And then the phylogeny of the dog family was drawn from a high-quality sequencing of the dog genome revealed that golden jackals were much more closely related to coyotes and the wolf and domestic dog species than the Ethiopian wolf was. We still call them Ethiopian wolves, even though golden jackals are more closely related to actual wolves than those animals are.

The other issue revealed through this research was that Canis, as it is traditionally classified, is a paraphyletic genus. Modern taxonomy is generally concerned with classifying animals according clades. Clades are, by definition monophyletic. That is, they contain all the animals that descend from a particular lineage.

The dog genome research revealed that two species that are never traditionally classified as being part of Canis, the African wild (Lycaon pictus) and the dhole (Cuon alpinus), actually should be included there.  It turns out that black-backed and side-striped jackals are more distantly related to the rest of Canis than these two species are.

And if we classify Canis with all the jackals, the Ethiopian wolf, and  the wolf and dog species and leave out the dhole and African wild dog, we’ve created a paraphyletic genus that is not useful to modern taxonomy.

Some have suggested giving the two endemic African jackals their own genus.

And this would make Canis monophyletic without including the African wild dog and dhole.

However, the genus that would remain would include several species that are all chemically interfertile with each other (at least in theory). Species complexes exist throughout that part of the Canis, and delineating species is very difficult the species in this lineage.

Although Robert Wayne at UCLA has suggested that black-backed and side-striped jackals might be able to interbreed, no one has confirmed a hybrid between these two species. African wild dogs might be able to hybridize with dholes, but because they live on different continents and because they are both fairly endangered, no one has attempted to cross them. (There are persistent rumors that dholes can cross with domestic dogs. One dog breed, the Bangkaew dog from Thailand, is said to have derived from a dog/dhole cross. However, I don’t believe this claim has ever been tested through DNA analysis.)

All this research has revealed that how we have traditionally thought about the dog family is probably wrong.

The golden jackal is actually a primitive offshoot of the wolf lineage, just as the coyote in the New World is. The Ethiopian wolf is an even more primitive offshoot.

The two endemic African jackals are the two oldest living species in the Canis lineage. They are even more distinct from this lineage than dholes and African wild dogs are.

We do not have a good replacement word for jackal.

I’ve suggested that we call golden jackals “Old World coyotes” almost as a joke.

But I don’t have a good name for either of the two remaining jackal.

Because black-backed jackals are so scrappy, I’ve even suggested that we call them “wild Jack Russells.”

Whatever we call them, the term jackal, if it’s used to reflect close relationships between species, is utterly meaningless.

With the exception of the two found only Africa, it doesn’t refer to any animals that have a close relationship with each other.

It’s just a term we use for smaller wild dogs that are in some way related to wolves.

The Retriever, Dog, & Wildlife Blog

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Awww Nuts!

There have certainly been a lot of squirrel antics around here lately! I am not sure where there in a walnut tree near us, but it must be close because the squirrels are snatching them up and bringing them into the Dinosaur Farm to feast on.

This one particular squirrel sat in the tree right above me and dropped the pieces of walnut right on me. Careless little guys, but still kind of cute, considering they are basically rats with bushy tails ;)

Check out this gallery of a squirrel eating a walnut. There is a green layer of skin for it to bite off, then it has to crack the shell open and nibble the yummy insides. Click on the first image to view the full photos.


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Nice Pet Itch photos

Check out these Pet Itch images:

Nal has an itch
Pet Itch

Image by Ian Beck
Every so often, Nal decides that she’s feeling itchy. To scratch said itch, she contorts her lower body (it looks like she’s dislocating her hips, they move so far away from where they normally live), reaches around with her back paw, and scratches. Thanks to the wonders of hedgehog flexibility, she can reach virtually her whole body, although when she tries while standing on hard wood she often ends up slipping and falling over.

Pet Itch

Image by dlns

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“Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet”: Slow Cooked Home Made Pet Food

My veterinary medical education was slanted towards diagnosis and treatment and not nutrition and prevention. That’s the way vets are trained. Don’t expect your vet to embrace home cooking. We were trained to advise owners to stick with “complete and balanced” commercial food. When I started re-learning nutrition 10 years ago, I had no idea that would lead me to home cooking for my dogs. In fact, I’ve been trying to entice my cats to eat some also!  I know there are already lots of cookbooks out there, filled with healthier alternatives to commercial pet foods. What makes my perspective and recipes different?

My recipes are different because they take minutes to prepare and cost less than better commercial pet foods. Many pet food recipes are more time consuming and use a variety of costlier ingredients. My perspective as a veterinarian helps people choose hypoallergenic ingredients to help with allergies. I use simple wholesome ingredients and a slow cooker to slowly cook the meat and veggies and soften the bones.  That way the veggies absorb the flavors of the meat and the bones are soft and safe to eat!

In fact in my new eBook, Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet, I have recipes for weight loss, skin and ear issues, and even diabetes, pancreatitis, and seizures. They are actually based on a few ingredients that you combine in different percentages to help with the medical problem. I even have a recipe for slow cooking pig’s feet, so that dogs can get all the goodness from eating bones, cartilage, and ligaments easily prepared and fed in small cubes ….just like treats! Did you know that Glucosamine and Chondroitin (pills often prescribed for arthritis) are just components of bones and joints? Why buy pills when you can make your own nutritious bony treats!

Feed Your Pet to Avoid the Vet is a great addition to my book Dog Dish Diet. Together, they tell you how to feed both your dog and cat to avoid common medical issues like skin and ear problems , urinary problems, obesity, and diabetes.

Reasons the recipes in my new eBook ,Feed Your  Pet to Avoid the Vet ,may help your pets:

Your cat is suffering from diabetes or urinary issues.

Your dog has chronic skin or ear problems

Your dog or cat is overweight

Seizures, diarrhea, arthritis, bladder stones and other medical issues are also helped by a hypoallergenic, moist, home cooked diet

My new eBook is available at

and at

You’ll never have to worry about the ingredients in your pet’s food when you buy and cook them yourself!

You’ll be part of your pet’s health care team. The slow cooking recipes help cure and prevent many health care problems!

I have been cooking for my dogs for years and I will never stop! I think that healthful, homemade, foods prevent so many chronic medical problems and may even help our pets avoid cancer!


Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet

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Pet Blog: All About Dogs – Cugno’s Canine Center

Blog Name: All About Dogs – Cugno’s Canine Center Complete Blog URL: General category (dog, cat, all, other): dog Blog description: Informational and sometimes…

[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]

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I Have a Rule

You may have noticed the blog has been quiet for a week or so.  I have a rule.  Never blog when you are in a bad mood.  (I have that rule for Facebook too but some times I break it, and then always regret it.)

I took Coulee to the vet again last week – more tests, more opinions and as usual, no results.  I realize that things could be worse, much worse. But every time I get my hopes up that we are going to figure it out and every time I come crashing back to earth and it takes me a while to pick up all the pieces, snap out of it and get on with things.  You think I would have learned by now to not get my hopes up.

So bear with me.  I have visitors that are coming this weekend that are sure to swing things in the right direction.

Crazy Coulee and Little Lacey

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Dr. Karen “Doc” Halligan Discusses Pet Armor and interview Dr. Karen “Doc” Halligan (often seen on Animal Planet) about the new Pet Armor flea preventative.

We tried the new PetArmor Plus. This video clip is part of a blog post about PetArmor, which can be seen at PetArmor contains the same active ingredient as Frontline, but is in an over-the-counter flea & tick preventative.
Video Rating: 3 / 5

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