Arthur Needs Space

Arthur’s chances at dating an old high school classmate are jeopardized by The Tick; Captain Liberty struggles to stop some nude photographs of her from being published. Watch hundreds of free full-length streaming movies and TV shows on TAGS The Tick Ben Edlund Patrick Warburton Arthur Larry Charles Nestor Carbonell Batmanuel Liz Vassey Captain Liberty supervillain super villian superhero hero

Music video by The Hives performing Tick Tick Boom. (C) 2007 No Fun AB Under exclusive license to Universal Music Operations / Polydor Ltd.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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He’s so Alpha!

datalore108-300x229In Star Trek: The Next Generation popular character Data, an ostensibly emotionless automaton, had an "evil twin" named Lore. While Data was (again, ostensibly) logical and methodical, Lore was jealous, emotional, and self-serving.

I always found the selection of Lore’s name rather clever — especially for The Next Generation — a show that spent a lot of time dancing on the edge of greatness without ever managing to really fall in. (Many of the novels are better.) The difference between the brothers is very much like the difference between data and lore in real life.

data: a body of facts; information

lore: the body of knowledge, especially of a traditional, anecdotal, or popular nature, on a particular subject: the lore of herbs.

Data is raw knowledge. Lore gives us some color and context but may not always be entirely factual.

The field of dog training is, of course, full of both. Data is, as far as we know, the things that are provably true. (Because of the nature of science data can change or be completely disproven, but for the most part when we refer to data we refer to the current state of our knowledge as we know it.) Meanwhile lore is what we refer to as “common sense” or “common knowledge”. It may be true and it may not.

Lore can be useful, because it can give facts context. But unfortunately a lot of dog training lore is not true. For example let’s examine the colloquial definition of "alpha."

“Alpha” is often used to describe a dog that displays aggressive or "pushy" behaviors. The dog that steals toys from others. The dog that guards toys, food, or furniture. The dog that puts on an aggressive display when encountering other dogs. And so forth.

This seems like a good place to dig up an actual definition for the term alpha. Right off the bat, the definition in Wikipedia is already tagged for not having enough citations. A Google search for “define alpha male” yields hits for obviously unscientific Yahoo answers and an article in about dating.

So part of me wants to stop right here and simply assert that the term has too broad a definition to be useful at all — it’s all lore and no data. The list of behaviors attributed to so-called alpha dogs is best addressed with the ABCs anyway.

But there is a scientific definition for “alpha”. The term wasn’t created in pop culture, just diluted and overloaded. Let’s use the definition at free, which is very close to the definition used in most of the scientific literature (and easier to link to than papers that requires money to buy.)

alpha: being the highest ranked or most dominant individual of one’s sex. Used of social animals (sic): the alpha female of the wolf pack.

(In order to completely understand that definition, we need a definition for dominance: "priority access to desired resources." Start here with a recent blog post by Marc Bekoff for more on dominance.)

This very concise definition for "alpha" establishes a couple of important concepts. Alpha is a position in a relationship. Alpha is a position relative to other members of the same sex in a group.

The proper definition of "alpha" has nothing to do with personality traits. You’re either the alpha in a group or you’re not. You might not be the alpha and want to be, and this might make you display aggressive or pushy behaviors, but if you think about it that’s the opposite of alpha!

When I hear someone describing a dog as alpha here’s what I expect to really see (in no particular order):

  • A dog with very poor impulse control and/or excess energy.
  • A dog in the throes of adolescence (often the same as the previous.)
  • A dog that is prone to resource guarding.
  • A dog that is fearful or at least ambivalent around other dogs.

In other words, a dog that resembles most of the dogs I see for training. Nothing special. Just a dog and a human that need helps.

Are you enjoying my posts? Hating them? Leave a comment below. And while you’re at it, why not sign up for my newsletter using the form on the right? You’ll get weekly updates from this blog right away and some extra special content I am cooking up for the Spring!

He’s so Alpha! is a post from: Dog Spelled Forward

Dog Spelled Forward Website and Blog

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Feeding Pets a Variety of Food Ingredients Help Them Stay Healthy

In Dog Dish Diet, I help pet owners understand that it is the allergens, carbohydrates, and the nature of dry food and especially treats that causes dry itchy skin, infected ears, obesity, urinary problems, and even seizures. Changing to hypoallergenic food (salmon/potato, rabbit/potato, chicken rice) and stopping treats and chews loaded with wheat gluten may really help some dogs. Adding eggs, sardines, raw meat, meaty bones, olive, and canola oils to a commercial diet may really increase the quality of proteins and healthy oils. These changes may be enough to help cure some ear, skin, and bowel problems. Feeding a moister hypoallergenic food with more oils (canned food, home cooked, and raw food) may help pets with more severe issues and urinary problems. I think that the better ingredients in raw and home cooked food may be best for organ health and preventing chronic medical problems and cancer.Instead of biscuits, feed turkey or chicken hotdogs, carrots, sardines, boiled eggs, or pieces of meat as “treats”.

Try a better commercial food, add some healthy food, feed some raw meat, or home cook a bit. Mixing hypoallergenic healthier commercial food with better proteins and oils will definitely prevent some medical issues. Raw food, home cooked, and canned  food are better choices for others. I think that home cooked and/or raw food are the best choices.

I have been receiving more and more letters like this.

Hi Dr. Greg.

I have switched over my dogs cooking for several years now and she is very healthy. People are surprised she is already 8 yrs old. My recipe is also using a crock pot and very similar to yours. Adding veggies, meats, gizzards, etc and sometimes oats and quinoa.

I have had numerous people in my apartment complex asking me to make it and have gladly given me money. I have researched the AAFCO guidelines which is a requirement for selling dog food. Crude protein content -a minimum of 12 percent, Crude fat content -a minimum of 5 percent, Crude fiber content -a maximum of 5 percent, Moisture content -a maximum of 65 percent. The food I make has enough protein and fat content to reach the minimums. The problem is the moisture content can not exceed 65 percent and fiber content cannot exceed maximum 5 percent. This is difficult considering how moist the food I make is and also has a lot of fiber content from the oats. Does that mean that I need to make it more “dry”, does it mean that I need to remove the “oats”?
It has been a frustrating road because I know that the meals that I make for my neighbors and my dogs are very healthy and much more nutritious than the kibbles and wet food that AAFCO considers complete and nutritious!
Anyway sorry for the long comment here but I was curious if you looked into this since you have a cookbook for dogs! Thanks again and I love your dogs so much! Take care!


My Reply:

Great job in cooking for your dogs! NRC and AAFCO guidelines are based on keeping animals from getting sick from deficiencies and help commercial companies sell food. If we consider what their ancestors ate, then carbohydrates may actually not be needed at all. Protein, fat, and moisture would be the diet! An all meat diet would contain much more protein and fat and a bit less moisture. Dogs are carnivores with an omnivore slant to help in times that prey are scarce.

I personally think that they can stay perfectly happy and healthy in a wide range of moisture, protein, and fat percentages above the minimum.Nutritionists argue about the right mix of ingredients in human nutrition and the NRC and AAFCO are certainly not the last word on animal nutrition. Commercial foods following their guidelines have created diets that cause allergies, seizures, bladder stones, urinary crystals, bowel problems, obesity, and diabetes in pets(30% of pets may have medical problems related to diet!) . Genetics and inbreeding share some of the blame.

My mixtures mirror prey, just as yours do. I use more eggs and sardines these days and feed raw meat several times weekly. I use veggies, even though some authors promote only raw food and think that dogs do not digest the complex carbohydrates in veggies well. I think veggies provide important nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins that may not be present in the processed, high grain, animal feed. (chicken,turkey,cow,pig,and sheep). If you vary meat and veggie ingredients and use 50%-80% meat and organs in the mix, your pets will be healthy!

I’ve seen quite a few urinary problems this winter!

Urinary crystals and stones are a common problem. They are found in dogs and cats that are peeing small amounts more often and straining to do so. Some dry commercial diets in some breeds can lead to urinary problems. Dogs and cats prone to urinary issues should be fed a moister, lower carbohydrate diet. In fact that same diet is healthier for all pets!

Dr. Greg’s Dog Dish Diet

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How long does it usually take to cure Scabies?

by tsaiid

Question by michelle: How long does it usually take to cure Scabies?
Even after the scabies are cured, do the marks still remain on the skin?

Best answer:

Answer by curator
If it is just red it should fade in weeks to months. If you scratched hard enough to scar the skin, it may be permanent. If you are talking about scabs, 1-2 weeks if the scabies are adequately treated.

What do you think? Answer below!

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The Killing Fields pt 2

I left off in part I of The Killing Fields with what you can do.  Here are a few such things.  
1. The only study that’s been conducted about the effects of irradiated food fed to animals was done so by NASA.  Contact them and request, under the Freedom of Information Act, the disclosure of that study.  After all, you paid for the research and it should be made available to all of us.  
2.  Stop sending petitions to politicians.  And money.  They no more care about you and your companion animals than Bill Clinton did Monica Lewinsky.
Proof in point.  Did you know that budget cuts from the Obama administration to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) have been so severe that funding levels are at an all time low?  He’s been very busy spending trillions even in the midst of the World Health Organization’s 2010 report that cancer is, for the first time, the greatest scourge we’ve ever seen.  
According to their annual report, NCI gave only 5 billion dollars in grants last year.  This isn’t a political or party rant since I affiliate myself with neither.  But did you know that during the last presidential election, 2.6 billion dollars, half of what was set aside for cancer research, was put into the pockets of political consultants, lobbyists, corporations, unions, and whatever else it takes to win a presidential race?  
Let me restate that.  The U.S. government spent only $ 5 billion on cancer research last year.  Over half of that was spent on electing a president.  So while your loved ones are dying from the world’s deadliest disease, the fat cats keep enriching their lives at your expense.  
3.  Stop trying to get celebrities to join the cause.  I personally know of many celebrities who have lost companion animals to cancer.  So why don’t they step up?  
This has always been somewhat of a mystery to me but I think I have a pretty good handle on it now.  The only thing that celebrities give a shit about is image, brand and franchise and they’re afraid if they say, ‘Hey, my little Dachshund has cancer’ then the rest of the non-Dachshund and even non-animal loving community will strafe them with so much criticism and they crawfish.  
I suspect there are a few actors out there who really do care but their agents and the producers of their projects shut them down.  Think about it, if I’m, say, Jeff Bridges…  No, I need someone a little younger even though I love that man.  The Dude abides.  
If I’m Justin Timberlake, another man I have a bro-mance with but only because he’s a fairly decent golfer and one of the game’s biggest advocates, plus, he did one of the funniest skits on SNL. 
If I came out and said I lost a dog to lymphoma, the shitstorm that would ensue from all of the people (that’s most of you, by the way) who lost ‘human’ companions to the same disease would potentially devastate my career and all of the hanger-ons would shut me down.     
It’s a public stigma I’ve been branded with more times than I care to remember.  ’Oh, you’re the dog cancer guy’, I’ve been introduced as.  Or the the more insinuating, less kind, characterization that made me sound like a circus carny, the ‘Dog cancer boy’.     
I harbor no ill will towards celebrities and still hope we could one day host a ‘Celebrity Coming Out Party’ for those who lost a dog to cancer.  But that’d entail you to tell your agents and representatives to fuck off, have the courage of your convictions and damn the consequences.  
Next time.  Part 3. Keep the Pol Pot in Your Pants.   

2 Dogs 2,000 Miles

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Yikes! Neglected Dog Eats Her Own Tail to Survive

It started with a call to the Humane Society of North Iowa. A distressed landlord, after being forced to evict tenants, came upon a shocking scene: “eight emaciated, malnourished, and filthy dogs,” according to the Humane Society, who were left behind when the tenants fled. Fortunately, seven quickly went to adoptive homes after being cleaned up. 

The last, Goldie, was not so lucky. Goldie, an elderly Golden Retriever, had been imprisoned in an outdoor kennel for three weeks. She had no food and little water. Shockingly, Goldie, in order to survive, and begun eating her tail. When the landlord found her, the dog was in agony. Bone was exposed. Half her tail was gone.

According to Sybil Soukup, executive director of Humane Society of North Iowa in Mason City, Goldie lived with a “motley crew of individuals of varied ages and intellect living in filth.”

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The landlord tried to care for Goldie, but a vet recommend euthanasia. He was about to bring her in when he took an alternate track. He called the Humane Society. The shelter told him to come in right away, and he did.

What the shelter staff found surprised them, but in a good way: Goldie was in terrible shape, to be sure, but "excited, bloodied half-tail wagging, and seemingly anxious to make new friends." Goldie wanted to live, clearly. She was 20 pounds underweight, but game.

“Goldie’s story of survival shows us just how resilient this beautiful girl is,” said Soukup. “She endured three dismal weeks of neglect and abandonment, confirming that pets are not disposable or something you leave behind when your life moves on.”

The shelter had her tail amputated and put her on a high-protein diet, and Goldie thrived. She put on six pounds in two weeks. Her surgery is healing. She's ready to be a dog again. Once she's completely healed, she's ready to be adopted.

She won't have a problem.

After news agencies got wind of Goldie's story of survival, she's gone viral. Adoption offers are pouring in.

“When we came to work today, our answering machine was full, and every other call today has been about Goldie,” Soukup told the Globe Gazette.

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“I’ll bet we’ve had a hundred calls.” she said in another story. One came from a woman in Sydney, who lives on a five-acre farm. Money has been pouring in, too, on behalf of Goldie. “Monetary donations through PayPal have come in from Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and of course lots from throughout the state of Iowa and locally,” said Soukup.

The shelter is accepting applications through the end of this week, then "our shelter manager will have the daunting task of going through them to determine which one can provide the most appropriate home for Goldie,” she said.

In response to the tragedy, the president of the Humane Society of North Iowa's board of directors took the opportunity to make some comments on the shelter's Facebook page. It's worth a read: 

"Pets are not disposable. We simply don't get rid of one to get another. It's a lot of fun to have a new puppy, but what about the one that you already committed to? It is a life-long commitment.

"At the Humane Society of North Iowa, we deal with society's 'throwaways.' We deal with the issues created by previous owners and the sadness they feel after being abandoned. They are not garbage that we just throw away when we get tired of them or they get sick. Before you get a pet, make sure you have the time, money, and stable home to care for it for life."

Hear hear. Let's hope Goldie finally finds that stable home she deserves.

Who knows, perhaps it's with these kids, who attached this photo to their adoption application:

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Photos via the Humane Society of North Iowa's Facebook

The Scoop | The Scoop

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Dog person through and through

I’ve always been a dog person, unabashed, and proud of it. From the time my first Lhasa bit me at eight years old, then snuggled into my arm before pooping in my shoe, it was all over. I’m helpless.

Cats were a creature I had to work at liking. We never had one growing up; in fact, until veterinary school, I never lived with one. Now that I have Apollo and have come to appreciate their unique characteristics, I can’t imagine my life without one. I wouldn’t quite say I’m a cat lady, but I do like them quite a bit.

Kids, on the other hand, have always been an enigma to me. As a teenager, I babysat for lack of better alternatives for employment, my mother (correctly) assuming that there is no better deterrent to teenage motherhood than actually having to be around young children for extended periods of time. As I got older and my friends started having children, I was the one who sat frozen at showers, holding a newborn at arms’ length with my face frozen in a rictus, wondering what I was supposed to do with it and how long I had to hold it before I could give it back.

Then I went ahead and had children. Oh, how much I’ve learned. With time and deeper understanding over eight years of being immersed in children, I can now say with confidence this: I still don’t get kids.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my children. They are amazing and I am glad every day that I have them. That being said, I’m not particularly good with them. I do what I can, and I think I’m doing OK until I look across the room at Mrs. Sunny McMommerton with her 5 layer organic bento and her cheery application of 5 various scented versions of hand sanitizer and I realize, wow, I’m flat out mediocre at this parenting thing. I’m no closer to understanding the inner workings of a Kid Person any more than, say, Mustang Guys, or Parrot People. I am standing in the circle and looking around and still not sure what it is I’m looking at.

I volunteered quite extensively in my daughter’s classroom in kindergarten, out of a sense of obligation more than the deep sense of satisfaction obtained from explaining to five year olds why paste ingestion is not a good idea. I took on the much-ballyhooed role of “Room Mom” in my son’s classroom last year, which was even worse because then I had to navigate not only the political manueverings of the PTA Halloween carnival booth assignments, but I had to keep track of who was gluten intolerant versus peanut intolerant versus matchstick intolerant for holiday parties.

Oh, yes, the Matchbox Incident, as we call it in this house. That was the last straw. This year, we’re in a very different and much improved school, but I’m not in the classroom much at all. While I regret not having more time to be immersed in the educational system, I can’t say I miss it, because then I would be a liar and I feel the need to be deeply honest with you all.

I had to go to Babies R Us yesterday to pick up a gift. While many friends of mine wax nostalgic at the big purple sign, sighing at the “Expectant Mommy” parking and wondering about just one more, I walk through the front door, see the rows of strollers and watermelon-bellied women wrestling carseats into minivans, and all I feel in my stomach is the gnawing lump of anxiety at the thought of going through that all over again. Sure, I smile at other people’s babies and I even know the right way to hold them now, but I look at them with the mildly interested civility one would normally show in mixed company. I’m not anti-child, I just don’t rush over to be first in line to tickle one or anything.

After that trip, I went to the hair salon. As we were finishing up, one of the stylists came in with a new puppy. I sensed it before I saw it, the certainty that something adorable and sweet has just entered the building. I stood up, knocking three people out of the way in the process, and levitated like one of those Twilight vampire things straight to the little furry moppet with a huge giant “SQUEEEEEEEE OMG I’M A VET LET ME HOLD HER AIEEEEE!”

A picture of me doing this with a random baby human does not exist.

As I unthinkingly commandeered the puppy for snorgles, my brain obligated by sheer instinct to place hands on fur, it hit me- Oh, so this is what it’s like for those baby feet squeezers. It all seems so clear when you see it from the outside. I guess you either have it or you don’t.

So I’m not going to worry about whatever little chips I may or may not be missing; for whatever reason my maternal chip was implanted with a dog face on it, and that’s OK.

So yes, that is it in a nutshell. I am a dog person. How about you?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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Variety is the Spice of Lice

What’s there to love about lice? In the course of studying evolution, Dr. Jason Weckstein has become fascinated by the diversity of these little insects, and what that diversity means for understanding the “coevolution” of parasites and their hosts.

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Aug 24, Free dog food for a year

Hey all, just wanted to let everyone know that is giving away free pet food for a year!

All you have to do is sign up, here is the link:

I received this tip from one of our readers. Thank you Marc!

All the best and paws up,
Dog Food Blog | Best Dog Food Guide

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Giada – the glamour of Italy

Pink leopardskin coat, pink hair slide – the glamour of winter – she has to be Italian!

And she is. This is 13 year old Giada, whose owners will be selling bric a brac at the Broc Troc in Menton this weekend.


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