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DogTipper

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Southwest Airlines Steps Up to Help Animals Caught in Hurricane

After the horrible news published earlier, I had to post this feel-good story from the Twitter feed of Southwest: Thanks to @HWAC for helping these animals!⚡️ “Southwest Flies Shelter Pets Affected By Harvey to New Home”https://t.co/UVr6cJRsXN — Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) September 6, 2017 If you click on the photo, you’ll get to see all the […]


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Hero Dogs of 9/11 Documentary

Here’s the trailer. You can catch the whole movie on YouTube. Worth the 1.5 hours it takes to see the whole thing. #NeverForget Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Canadian Dog Finds Missing Cat

Ghost and Cash from Canada

Many people have experienced their dog suddenly stopping on a walk, fascinated by something and unwilling to move. Thankfully when Shelly Colette’s dog did that on a walk this summer, the alert owner paid attention to what had caught her dog’s notice.

According to The Star, Cash is a black border collie who belongs to Shelly Colette in Sackville, New Brunswick. Early this summer, the two were on a walk when Cash suddenly stopped and wouldn’t budge. Shelly saw that Cash was stopped by a manhole in the ground, so she looked down. Shockingly, she saw an orange cat on the other side of the manhole’s grate. According to Shelly, “Cash was very intrigued and refused to leave. He wanted to save this cat.”

A four-year-old orange cat named Ghost had gone missing six weeks earlier. Shelly told reporters, “I had never met Ghost, but I had seen the missing cat signs around town and I thought, ‘That’s Ghost,’” about the cat in the hole. As one pet parent to another, Shelly called Izzy Francolini, Ghost’s owner, to tell her that she had spotted Ghost.

Read the complete story of Ghose and Cash.

Halo Pets

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A Fun “Interview” For Your Little Ones

Last Thursday was Essley’s first day of preschool. She’s in the same school as last year, but this year she’s in the “threes” class, where they go for an hour longer, the class size is larger, and there is more learning incorporated into the play. Tomorrow is her second day (she goes twice a week), and let me tell you – she can’t wait to get out the door and get to school, like, immediately. She loved going last year too, but you can clearly see a marked increase in her desire to be even more independent now. The fact that she’s grown so much mentally and emotionally in just the three months since she ended the “twos” class got me thinking about ways I could somehow record these changes. We just have a simple chalkboard that we use for the first day of school (as seen above), but I love the signs that people use where they write down their child’s favorite color, future career choice, etc. So I decided to put together a little “interview” for Essley, where I can ask her some fun questions about her life right now, and revisit at the end of the school year next May to see how her answers have evolved. Some of her responses were so funny, and others were really endearing. And I thought I’d share the questions (and her answers, because hey, she’s my kid and I think she’s amazing) here, in case any of you wanted to interview your preschoolers or grade schoolers as well. (I’d love to hear some of their replies if you do ask them!)

1. What is your name? Essley.
2. What grade are you in? Threes Preschool.
3. How old are you? 3. No 3 and half! I’ll be 4 in December. That’s so old.
4. What is your favorite color? Pink.
5. What is your favorite thing to do at school? Play with play dough and in the kitchen.
6. What is your favorite activity outside of school? Ballet, gymnastics, soccer, all the things.
7. What do you want to be when you grow up? A ballerina.
8. What is your favorite food? Pizza.
9. How old is your mommy? 4
10. What is her job? A blog post.
11. What is mommy’s favorite food? Olives. Salad. Beer.
12. How old is your daddy? 4
13. What is his job? At concerts, he sings the songs. (He’s a Stage Manager.)
14. What is daddy’s favorite food? That’s a big list. Pizza.
15. What do mommy and daddy like to do? Go on a date, but they came home because I threw up.
16. If you have brothers or sisters, what are their names? Emmett. I call him partner.
17. How old is your brother(s) (and/or sisters)? 4. No 1. He wears diapers.
18. What is your brother(s) (and/or sisters) favorite food? Little pieces of pizza.
19. What is your favorite toy? Only. (A pink stuffed owl.)
20. Where do you live? Here.
21. What is your favorite place you’ve ever been? School, and also California and the grocery store.
22. What is your favorite thing to do? Go to the park and IKEA.
23. Who is your best friend? Madison and Livy and my brother but he’s cranky when he needs a nap.
24. What is your favorite animal? Owls, dogs, monkeys, dogs, all the animals.
25. If you could have anything you wished for, what would it be? To go to work again with daddy. No wait an ice cream cone. And a crystal. In my eyes so everything looks crystal-y.

Have you noticed big changes in your kids from the end of the last school year to now?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Horsing Around With Your Dog!

Playing with your dog

One of the topics on this week’s Dog Talk® was a lively conversation I had with Marc Bekoff, the dog expert and educator, who has written too many impressive animal-oriented books to list! Marc is a fun and modest gentleman – despite his Phd and many accomplishments – and he likes to encourage us to have common-sense fun and play freely with our dogs. In addition to tug-of-war, there are adaptable human games like Hide-and-Seek, “Tag you’re it,” and just rolling around on the grass together, that allow us to get down on our dog’s level and enjoy each other (safely).

Is Hugging Your Dog Okay?
Marc and I had THIS conversation last year on Dog Talk® about whether it’s okay to hug a dog. In that interview we discussed some guidelines about how to hug thoughtfully – with your own dog’s personality in mind. Marc has written about hugging dogs, noting that it’s just fine to hug your dog as long as it’s on her terms (in “Hugging a Dog Is Just Fine When Done With Great Care“). His rule of thumb before hugging a dog is to pay very close attention to the dog’s body language, your relationship with the dog, and previous experiences.

Is Tug-of-War Okay?
Marc has also written about playing tug-of-war with dogs, which he explains is not necessarily about dominance when played with people. As long as tug-of-war is on the dog’s terms it can be fun for both of you. It can also be important in bonding and maintaining a positive and friendly relationship and training experience with your dog.  Dr. Bekoff’s article “What’s Happening When Dogs Play Tug-of-War? Dog Park Chatter” discusses that.

Positive Reinforcement Can Go Beyond the Games

If you have a dog who handles herself really well when playing games or “putting up with” human behavior (like hugging!) don’t be afraid to give her a reward for being such a good sport. Keep some high value treats nearby (Halo’s Liv-a-Little freeze dried protein treats do just the trick!) and every so often during your play if you like the way she’s controlling her energy or displaying her “sense of humor”you can slip her a yummy healthy bite.

NOTE:  It’s okay to play in these ways as long as the individual dog shows you he is okay with it. Pay close attention to who each dog is as a unique individual. Playing has to be done on the dog’s terms, not ours.

Halo Pets

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Human Health Irritations Due to Pets

Some people are unfortunate because they have allergies to dogs and will never be able to enjoy the love, devotion, and companionship a human receives from a pet dog.

The symptoms of dog allergies are very similar to the symptoms of other types of allergies or the symptoms of a cold. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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New species of black-backed jackal indicated through mitochondrial DNA analysis

cape vs east african

Cape jackal  (L) and East African black-backed jackal (R)

The molecular revolution in biology has caused a great deal of turmoil in the taxonomy of Canids. Long-time readers know that full-genome comparisons have recently found that the red wolf and Eastern wolf are hybrid between coyotes and wolves, and one implication of the recent origins of the coyote is that the coyote itself might be better classified as a subspecies of wolf. 

Mitochondrial DNA comparisons, though potentially erroneous in determining the exact time of divergence between species or subspecies, have also revealed that the “golden jackals” of Africa are much more closely related to wolves than Eurasian golden jackals.  Classifying African golden jackals is going to take more analysis of their genome, but they are either a species on their own or a subspecies of wolf. They have evolved in parallel with both the Eurasian golden jackal and the coyote.

We also know now that the red fox of the Old World is quite divergent from that of North America, enough that some authorities are reviving the old Vulpes fulva for the North American species.  Red foxes in the Eastern and Midwestern US are actually part of this endemic North American species and are not, as the folklore claimed, to be derived from seventeenth and eighteenth century introductions from England.

Recent mitochondrial DNA analysis also revealed that Eastern and Western gray foxes are perhaps separated by 500,000 years of evolution. 

So we’ve likely lost two wolf species in North America. The coyote’s validity is questionable. But we’ve gained either a wolf species or subspecies in Africa.  We have also potentially gained two species of fox in North America.

With all of these new findings in DNA studies, scientists are looking more and more closely at other long-established species.

Last week,  a study of the cytochrome b gene of black-backed and side-striped jackals revealed that these jackals, too, have some secrets.  Cytochrome b genes are part of the mitochondrial genome.

At one time these animals were considered part of Canis, but the current trend is to classify them in their own genus (Lupulella).* They are quite divergent from the rest of the wolf-like canids, much more so than dholes and African wild dogs are. If dholes and African wild dogs are in their own genera, then it makes sense that these two jackals should have their own genus name.

But if they are that divergent from the rest of Canis, then it’s very possible that there are other secrets, and this limited mtDNA study certainly raises some important questions.

The researchers found that the Cape subspecies and East African subspecies of the black-backed jackal (Lupulella mesomelas) actually diverged 2.5 million years ago.

I’ve always thought that there was a possibility of these two jackals being distinct species. The East African black-backed jackal has a shorter muzzle, comparatively larger ears, and usually lack the dense coat of the Cape jackal. The Cape jackal reminds me very much of Southwestern forms of coyote, with longer muzzle and thicker fur. What’s more is that the Cape jackal comes in a white and a golden phase that are not seen in the East African black-back.

If this deep divergence is confirmed in the full-genome or simple nuclear DNA studies that are very likely to be performed, then we likely have two species of what are called black-backed jackals now.

The researchers also found through this same analysis that the West African side-striped jackal diverged from the other two populations 1.4 million years ago, which certainly would raise some questions about its species status as well.

Again, we’re going to have to wait until full-genome analyses are performed, but I’ve always suspected that there are more than two species of endemic African jackal possessed some cryptic species.  I also have suspected that both side-striped jackals and black-backed jackals have hybridized a bit. This speculation could be revealed through the same full-genome or nuclear DNA studies that could examine the taxonomy within these supposed species.

Finally, the distribution of black-backed jackals is disjointed. The East African and Cape variants are separated by 800 miles. Several other small carnivorans have a similar distribution. The bat-eared fox and the aardwolf have disjointed distributions in which one population is in East Africa and the other in Southern Africa. It is very possible that similar deep genetic divergence exists within these species as well.

These potential cryptic species are worth investigating, and they certain put some of these “red wolf” controversies with in proper perspective.  If that 2.5 million-year divergence is upheld within the black-backed jackal populations, it really does become hard to justify the red wolf.  It is descended from two putative “species” that really aren’t that divergent at all by comparison.

 

 

 

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*A bit errata:  I initially called the new scientific name of the side-striped jackal Lupulela adustus, which is just a modification of Canis adustus.  Most of the literature I’m corrects the gender to Lupulella adusta.


Natural History

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A wall can’t stop this

irma

The most pernicious delusion of our species is that we are somehow above nature. Ever since we chipped away at flint to make spear points or domesticated fire to do our bidding, we’ve contriving hard against nature.

But for the past 10,000 years or so, we’ve been in the process of wall-building. Domesticating grain species is a wall built against hunger that could come from depleted game herds.

But grain grows best only in certain areas, and thus, we’ve become sedentary and possessive. We’ve become better fighters to defend our lands. We’ve built better tools of war. A gun is a finely crafted rock-chucker.  An ICBM with a hydrogen bomb is little more than a super rock-chucker that throws a very deadly rock.

When diseases have developed as a result of our great concentrations of population, we’ve created sewage systems. We’ve developed medicines to defend ourselves against disease.

We have made it so our average lifespans are at least double what they were just centuries ago. The planet now teems with us.

And we all want walls to protect us.

We’ve spent so much time designing and contriving new ways of security, new ways of comfort, that in these wealthier countries, we live almost as aliens upon our own planet.

In the United States, we live in a sort of fairy tale fortress. The nuclear triad and our advanced airforce mean that no enemies are going to get us.  Most of us live in cities, where the only predators we’ll ever know are those belonging to our species. Air conditioning and mosquito control make the South livable, and insulation and fine furnaces make the North’s winters pass in comfort.

We have power, but that power is finite.

Very simply, there is isn’t a wall we can build of any kind that can stop a hurricane. We cannot nuke our way out of this threat. We are totally at its mercy.

Harvey, which dumped all that rain on Texas and Louisiana, ruined the best-laid plans of cotton farmers and urban planners.

The boiling seas off Africa are now sending us another.  This one is a vortex of water vapor and wind that no more cares that it is going to hit West Palm Beach than it would Winnipeg. It is mindless force of nature, and it is about to humble the sunny lands. It will cost billions of dollars.

And no presidential act, no bluster or official act, can stop what is coming. True, the warming planet makes these superstorms more likely, but the contribution our carbon-addicted economy did to create this storm was already cast into the atmosphere. Whether we elected the denialist or the one who didn’t deny it,  we were going to warm and warm anyway, and the storms will still come.

We are laid out vulnerable now. The millions of years of evolution and the thousands of years of civilization are but a veneer.  Before this coming storm, we are the Taung child, and the great eagle is stooping from the sky, talons poised.

We’ve spent much of our political energy over the past year or so engaged picayune squabbles. We’ve become obsessed with immigration, especially of how it relates to our so-called “national character.” We’ve elected a man who will keep us safe from the scary Mexicans and Muslims, as if those were the greatest threat we had to face.

We lost our minds about who gets to refuse service at the bakery and who gets to use what bathroom. We fought those wars of culture so long that they are so well-worn and threadbare that we no longer have a body politic. We have our factions now. That is the United States. States that are united in law but no longer in national purpose or understanding.

But while we were worrying about all these things, the planet warmed a bit more. We landed, then, one year on a bad roll of the dice, and the big storms are coming.

We could have spent this time working on building up a post-carbon economy, improving infrastructure, and developing innovative ways of flood control and evacuation procedures.

That’s what a rational people would have done with these past few years. The debate of the last presidential campaign would have largely been based upon those issues and not the worst sort of nationalist fear-mongering.

But we build the walls. We imprison more people in the world than any other, and yet we do not feel safe. We are armed to the teeth with more guns per capita than anywhere else, and yet we don’t sleep easy at night.

Income inequality and job insecurity eat away at our sound minds. We might have spent the last election fighting over those issues.  We chose differently.

Now the poor  are exposed to the drowning waters and the howling winds. It won’t be as bad as Katrina, we hope.

But no wall can stop what is coming.  It is coming. People will die.

No matter how advanced we are, the fortress cannot protect us.

We are vulnerable, exposed. And this is truly frightening for such a walled-off species.

 

 


Natural History

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Dog Runs Away To Find Missing Elderly Woman

Flash with the rescue team

It’s always scary when a pet runs away from home. However, the Ward family in Durham, England, had an extra joyful reunion with their dog, Flash, after he disappeared overnight. While away from home, Flash managed to find a woman who had been missing since the day before!

According to The Telegraph, an elderly woman disappeared on Saturday, July 22. Police began searching for the woman at the request of her family. The search involved a search and rescue team, members of the public, a police helicopter, and more than 20 officers. As one officer noted, “The whole community chipped in.” However, it was the ten-month-old Patterdale Terrier, Flash, who ended up the hero.

Read the complete story.

Halo Pets

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