Current Facebook Group is shutting down

Due to my more liberal moderating of my Facebook group, I have had a severe infestation of trolls, coming from a group appropriately called “The Dog Snob Rejects.”

Because I cannot ferret out who is doing screen shots to that harpie-filled den of soulless fockin’ eejits, and drama queens I am deleting the current Facebook page for this blog on Saturday, and I will revive it with a more selective group.

I’m sorry for any convenience this might cause.

Also, Facebook needs a better system to report harassment and bullying.


Natural History

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Golden Retriever Saves His Lost Canine Sister

Dog Golden Retriever Saves Lost Canine Sister

Photo Credit: News on 6

Knox, a Golden Retriever in Grand Lake, Oklahoma, deserves a hero’s cape and reward after finding his canine sister who had been lost, alone and hungry, for days. According to News On 6, although rewards, boats, and drones were unsuccessful and finding Tara Vreeland’s missing dog, Knox came to the rescue.

Tara has three dogs, Knox and two German Shepherds – Scarlett and Ruger. These days the three dogs hang around their neighborhood enjoying the usual doggie delights of fetch and walks, alongside rides in golf carts. In the past, when Tara was an anchor and reporter for Channel 6, Knox used to go to work with her. She said that back then Knox “used to run the roost there, used to run around on the floor.”

On a walk in early September, Scarlett “just darted through the trees,” according to Tara, “she was gone.” Tara searched for hours, but had no luck finding her beloved dog. Tara then offered a reward, went on a boat on the lake to scan the cliffs for her dog, and asked a friend to use a drone to search for Scarlett. Nothing worked. After four days of searching, Tara began “really just trying to think outside the box,” as she told News On 6.

She walked Knox to a spot near the bluffs. She noted that Knox has not been trained as a search and rescue dog, but she wanted to see what he might find. Suddenly, Knox “put his nose to the ground like Scooby Doo, and just starts sniffing around, sniffing around, sniffing around,” Tara said. She added, that she “was scared for the worst.” Then, she heard a dog’s whimper and a collar’s clink, and felt like her “heart stopped.”

Scarlett had been found, trapped on a small ledge, 20 feet down from the top of the bluffs. Despite days without food or water, Scarlett was somehow okay. A neighbor climbed the 20 feet down and brought Scarlett back to Tara and hero dog Knox.

Tara tried to describe how she felt about her superhero, “I can’t put into words how incredible I think he is. He’s pretty cute, he’s really funny, he’s feisty, he can be a little bit of a brat, but he’s also a hero.”

Reporter and friend of Tara, Tess Maune, said, “I believe any pet owner knows that undeniable bond that you have with your dog, your cat, your rabbit, whatever it might be. When you have a pet there is a deep connection.” We here at Halo understand that connection and are so glad that Tara’s connection with Knox helped her find Scarlett. As Tara told Tess, “It’s a happy ending when everyone was scared there wouldn’t be.”

Halo Pets

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Happy Halloween!

Family Halloween Costume Ideas

Happy Halloween! We spent the weekend on our annual trip to Indianapolis to hang with my sister (who is genuinely the biggest Halloween fan I’ve ever known), but now we’re back for our first ever Halloween at home.  Pre-kids, I always joined Robbie wherever the band was playing, and since having kids, we’ve always spent the actual holiday at my sister’s. (Top photo is from this weekend, and the photo below that is from last year.) This year though, Robbie is actually off the road today. Woohoo! We’re attending Essley’s school Halloween parade this morning, and taking the kids trick or treating in our neighborhood this evening. It’s amazing how much you appreciate the simplest family holiday plans when you don’t always get to spend holidays together. The best.

Emmett’s first Halloween was last year and he was still a baby, so I can’t wait to see how he reacts now that he actually gets it. And Essley has been talking about this day since early summer. Essley is going to be an excessively glittery mermaid (her current obsession), and Emmett is going to be a dinosaur (his current obsession). I’ll be sharing lots of costume photos on my Instagram Stories, so come on over and join us.

I hope your Halloween is spooky and fun and a great memory maker.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Thanks for the kind comments. A sobering reality c…

Thanks for the kind comments. A sobering reality check though: With the exception of these pups, we're not able to help much with this case. With nearly zero rescue resources available to semi-feral adult dogs,100 or more will be facing euthanasia in order for this high volume breeding operation to cease. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear when I wrote this. Trying to offer a realistic account without inciting panic can be a tricky balance.
BAD RAP Blog

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Video: French president’s dog is very much a dog

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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What I’m Wearing Now: October

Fall Wardrobe Staples
1. Loveland Wrap in Cargo Green, prAna  //  2. Tassel Hoop Earrings, Madewell   //  3. Silver Hoop Earrings Set, H&M  //  4.  Classic Date Black Watch, Lord Timepieces (take 10% off with code BEAN)  //  5. Bell Sleeve Shift Dress, Nordstrom  //   6. Skinny Low Jeans in Black, H&M  //  7. Lily Tore Diaper Bag, Newlie  //  8Splash Gabi Sneakers, Minnetonka  //  9. Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops, Converse  //  10. Beaded Chain Bracelet, Madewell  //  11. Madison Boots, Trask  //  12. Linen V-neck Top, H&M 

Despite a wonderfully warm fall season so far, my summertime wardrobe has officially finally gone into hibernation. And I’m cool with this, because, to be fair, I’ve gotten to wear my beloved summer dresses and cut offs and kimonos far beyond the time I normally do. Besides, even summer girls can appreciate layers for a while. (Give me a month or two though and I’ll be crying my eyes out for a good sundress and some flip flops.)

I’ve been living in black jeans, sweaters, and Converse this month, but I’ve actually ventured outside of my casual boho-WAHM-hybrid comfort zone too. I got this dress (#5 above) from Nordstrom for a wedding but have already worn it three times this month. You’ll won’t believe how inexpensive it was because it looks quite pricey in person. It’s so flattering and actually comfortable too. (The stilettos I paired it with for the wedding, not so much.)

All good things must come to an end, and I’ll put a solid bet on the fact that next month’s post will include a winter coat. Sigh. The sunshine was good while it lasted, Chicago.

(P.S. You can see other my other monthly post from the past couple of years right here.) 

ALSO FIND US HERE: INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // TWITTER // PINTEREST //  BLOGLOVIN’
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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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You stepped up and are doing your best. Com…

You stepped up and are doing your best. Commendable by any measure.
BAD RAP Blog

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Are Dogs Wolves?

Are dogs wolves?

The conversation has been going on for years about whether dogs are basically governed by the qualities of their distant ancestors, the wolf. There have been lively debates about whether the chihuahua under someone’s arm retains any of the instincts, abilities and natural tendencies of the wolf in his genetic background. Dog owners and professionals and scientists alike have been taking one side or other of this argument to prove whatever point they have in mind. But opinion and conjecture can only get you so far.

Are Wolves Dogs?
Then there’s the question of whether a wolf can be considered a wild version of a dog- or is it a distinct species? Recently there was a lovely article in the New York Times by journalist James Gorman that scientifically makes the point that a wolf is a wolf is a wolf, right down to the bone. I think this should put to rest the important fundamental differences between the two species.

Are Wolf-Dog Hybrids Safe as Pets?
This topic is one I’ve covered on the air with dog experts and authors and I’ve come down on the side of steering clear of such breeding practices. The wild inside a wolf will always be there, and eventually make life as a pet miserable for the animal- and potentially dangerous for the owners and the canine and human community in which she lives.

Would love to hear from people about their own experiences or understanding of this topic. Please write me to RadioPetLady@gmail.com or find me on Facebook or Twitter.

What Does this Say About a Dog’s Diet?
For years I’ve been opposed to the idea that canine nutrition should be driven by the (faulty) concept that dogs are wolves and should therefore be fed some sort of primal raw “throw bones on the ground” diet. Just as we are learning conclusively that wolves relate entirely differently to human beings – and are influenced by a different set of social behaviors – so should common sense tell us that as dogs have evolved into household pets, so have their physical abilities and needs changed. The ways that domestic dogs chew and digest their food has morphed from their wolf ancestors. High quality dog food has evolved to meet the needs of everything from a 5 lb little doggy [like the puppy Brussels Griffon my sister has] to a Great Dane the size of a pony. My sister’s dog gets Halo small breed kibble and canned Spots Stew – which is a similar dry and wet diet that could be followed by my friend Rhiannon for her rescued Greyhound, Maya. For maximum health and wellness, I use and recommend Halo’s non-GMO, all-meat foods[and leave the idea of foraging for berries and rabbits to the real wolves!]

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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The problem with using modern wolves in dog domestication studies

gordon buchanan wolf

Gordon Buchanan with a wild arctic wolf on Ellsmere. Photo by the BBC. 

For really long time, the mystery of human bipedalism vexed us. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees and the bonobos, are all knuckle-walking apes, and there was an assumption that the common ancestor of all three species was a knuckle-walker. At some point, the lineage that led to our species rose up on its hind legs, perhaps to make it easier to gaze over tall grass, and we became bipedal

The current thinking, though, is that humans never derived from any knuckle-walking ape. Instead, the common ancestor of humans, chimps, and bonobos was likely a brachiator.  The modern brachiators are the gibbons and siamangs, the so-called “lesser apes.” These animals are highly arboreal, and because they lack tails, they rely upon their long limbs to move swiftly through the trees. When on the ground, brachiators walk bipedally, swinging their long arms to the side for balance.

Humans evolved bipedalism from these brachiators, while the chimps and bonobos became knuckle-walkers. In this scenario, humans never were knuckle-walkers, and it is misleading to think that humans rose up on our hind-legs from creatures that moved like chimpanzees.

What does this have to do with dogs?

Well, there have been quite a few studies that have compared dogs and wolves that have been imprinted on humans from an early age in hopes that we might figure out the domestication process from studying how tamed wolves behave when compared to domestic dogs.

These are interesting studies, but I think they oversell what they can answer.

It should be of no secret that I am very much a skeptic of the Raymond Coppinger model of dog domestication. His model contends that dogs necessarily evolved from scavenging wolves that gradually evolved not to fear people and then became village dogs. Our specialized breeds are thus derived from village dogs that were later selectively bred.

Coppinger thought that wolves were just too hard to domestic without this scavenger-to-village dog step that lies between truly wild wolves and their evolution to domestic dogs.

Modern wolves are hard to tame. They must be bottle-raised from an insanely early age.  Coppinger thought that it would be impossible for people living during the Pleistocene to provide that kind of care for young wolf pups.

Like the people who assumed that humans evolved from knuckle-walkers, Coppinger assumed that wolves that exist today are good models for what wolves were like during the Pleistocene. These wolves are reactive and nervous to the point of being paranoid. It is well-known that many wolves won’t even attempt to den near human settlements, and if they catch wind of humans, they soon leave.

These animals would not be easily tamed by anyone, much less people living with Stone Age hunter-gatherer technology.

I generally accepted his arguments, and in the early days of this site, I largely parroted them.

A few years ago, I was watching a documentary about the tigers of the Sundarbans, a vast mangrove forest that straddles the border between India and Bangladesh. These tigers are notorious for their man-eating behavior, and there have been many theories posited about why these tigers so readily hunt man. Among these is the argument that the Sundarbans tigers drink so much salt in their water intake that it destroys their kidneys, which disables them and makes them more likely to hunt man.

But the documentary contended that the real reason these tigers are more likely to hunt man is that all other tigers descend from populations where humans have hunted them heavily. In British India, tiger hunting was a popular activity among the colonial administrators, and this intensive hunting cause tiger populations to drop.  This hunting left behind only tiger that had some genetic basis to fear man more, and thus, man-eating tigers are exceeding rare now.

The Sundarbans never received this hunting pressure, so the tigers left behind had the same innate tendencies to hunt humans that the ancestral tiger population possessed.

I found this argument utterly intriguing, and I began to weigh it against what I knew about wolves. Wolves across their range have experienced even more persecution than tigers have.  In North America, we have four hundred years of humans coming up with more and more creative ways to kill them. In Eurasia, this persecution has gone on for thousands of years.

The persecution of wolves surely has had some affect in how wolves behave, including their innate tendency to accept humans and other novel stimuli in their environment.

Wolves are often so fearful that they won’t cross roads.  They just avoid people at all costs, and it just seems that this is an animal that we couldn’t possible.

This has led some people to suggest that dogs aren’t derived from wolves, but some Canis x creature that is related to dogs and wolves, but it is ancestral to the former but not the latter.

Genome comparisons have shown that such claims really don’t work. Dogs are derived from an archaic wolf population, and in this way, they are sort of genetic living fossils, holding the genomes of a Pleistocene wolves that no longer exist. But these wolves that became dogs were still part of Canis lupus, and thus, we have to maintain dogs as part of Canis lupus as well in order to retain the monophyly of the species.

Except for dogs that have modern wolf ancestry, no dog is actually derived from a wolf population that exists today.

And the wolf populations that exist today just seem so hard to tame and work with that it makes sense then to consider the need for Coppinger’s scavenging wolf-to-village dog stage between wild wolves and modern dogs.

The thing is, these studies using modern wolves are only using wolves that are derived from these heavily persecuted populations, and it is very unlikely that these animals are representative of the wolves that lived during the Pleistocene.

We know that when wild dogs have never experienced human hunting, they are intensely curious about us. Timothy Treadwell had a pack of tame red foxes that followed him around like dogs while he was off communing with the brown bears. Darwin killed the fox that was named after him by sneaking up on one and hitting it with a geological hammer.

Lewis and Clark came onto the American prairies where there were vast hordes of wolves lying about.  The wolves had no fear of people, and one wolf was actually killed when it was enticed in with meat and speared in the head with an spontoon.

After these wolves experienced the persecution of Western man, the only wolves left in the populations were those that were extremely wary and nervous.

In fact, the only wolves that exist now that have never experienced widespread persecution by man are the white wolves that live in the Canadian High Arctic.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching two documentaries about these wolves. The first was by Jim Brandenburg.  Brandenburg and L. David Mech spent a summer living with and filming wolves on Ellesmere.  These wolves showed no fear of them, and they allowed them to observe their natural behavior in the wild, including allowing them near their den sites.

Virtually the same documentary was recently made by Gordon Buchanan of the BBC. Buchanan came to Ellesmere and became accepted by a wolf pack, which eventually trusted him enough to allow him to babysit their pups while the adults hunted.

These wolves hunt arctic hare and muskox. They live hard lives, but because they have no real history with man, they are oddly curious and trusting of people.

It seems to me that these wolves are much more like those described by Lewis and Clark, and they are likely to have behaved much like the ancient Pleistocene wolves did. They had never undergone extensive persecution by man, and thus, they were probably quite curious about man.

If these ancient wolves were more like the Ellesmere wolves, then it seems domestication would have been a pretty easy process. In fact, it appears to me that it is so easy to have happened that the struggle would have been preventing it from happening in the first place.

So if these High Arctic wolves are a better model for the ancient wolves that led to dogs, why aren’t they included in the studies?

Well, these wolves are hard to access, and what is more, because they represent such a special population, it might not be wise to remove any of these wolves from the wild.

So the socialized and imprinted wolf pup studies really can’t be performed on them.

But we could still get DNA samples from them and compare their behavior-linked genes to those of dogs and wolves from persecuted populations.

All these other studies are ever going to do is tell you the difference between dogs and certain wolves from persecuted populations. They aren’t really going to tell you the full story of why dogs came to behave differently from wolves.

So for the sake of science, we need to understand that evolution through artificial selection has affected wolves as well as dogs. Dogs have been bred to be close to man. Wolves have been selected through our persecution to be extremely fearful and reactive.

So as interesting as these studies are, they have a big limitation, and the assumption that these wolves represent what ancient wolves were like is major methodological problem.

 


Natural History

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I would also suggest getting the services of an an…

I would also suggest getting the services of an animal communicator to help with behavior and issues with trust.
BAD RAP Blog

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