Archive for May, 2020

Angel Fund Helps Keep Miss Kallie Healthy

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Tim Genoway, who had not worked in four years, was concerned about his dog, Miss Kallie, earlier this year.

“I went to two or three veterinarians’ offices and I could see she wasn’t getting any better,” he said.  Then I went to a practice in Orange.  I was practically out of money and they wouldn’t start treating her condition without any kind of money.

“I was like, my dog’s dying here.  I know she is.  and they would say, ‘Yeah, I know she is. This is serious but we’ve got to have some kind of deposit.’

“I was at my wit’s end. I didn’t know what to do.  I made a sign that said I needed help with vet care.  somebody came along and mentioned one or two organizations and I called them.  They didn’t call me back.  One called me back a couple of days later and said they would be willing to help with $200 to $400.  So that was a good start.”

Then he took Kallie to Anaheim Hills Animal Hospital.  The doctors there examined the dog – a small animal who is part miniature Pinscher and part Chihuahua and weighs about six and a half pounds.  “They thought they knew what the problem was [Pyometra],” Tim said, but they were concerned about whether Kallie could be ready to face the needed surgery.

It was late in the day and the veterinarian told Tim that the hospital closed in 20 minutes and suggested that he and Miss Kallie say goodbye to each other.  Fearing the worst, Tim was thinking: “This is my best friend. I can’t let her go like this. She’s my partner in life. There’s got to be something they can do.  Please, let’s not give up!”

The doctor told him: “We’ll give it 24 hours and, if she recovers, we’ll go ahead with the surgery.  But we can’t promise anything.”  The dog was put on an IV about 11 p.m.

The next morning, Tim got a call from the hospital.  The message was positive and he was ecstatic. “She was doing really good and they said they expected to do the surgery sometime that day, if not the next day.  And they said she would likely make it! They said they would check her throughout the day and when they thought she was ready, they would go ahead with the surgery.”

The surgery was performed about 3 p.m. that day.  “They spayed her and cleaned out all the bad stuff, stitched her up and did a beautiful job. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

The hospital steered him to Angel Fund, which approved his application and granted him $500, an amount matched by the practice.

Kallie, he said, weighed barely six pounds when she had the surgery and weighs about have a pound more now.  Tim said that she was ready to play the day he brought her home from the hospital.

“She’s definitely a very special dog,” he said.  “There’s something about her.  I lost my Pitbull in April last year.  If she had left this year, that would have been both of my best friends gone.  Basically, Kallie’s the only family I’ve got left.  I’ve got some cousins but don’t really talk to them too much.”

He is estranged from his sister and has not spoken to his mother in more than two years.

“You guys [Angel Fund] are angels.  You really, truly are.  You are awesome.”

When it was time to pay his bill at Anaheim Hills Hospital, Tim said, “I took all the money I could put together.  But they said, you just need to sign.  It’s all taken care of.  Talk about the Lord blessing me!”

He said that he once had a good job and owned a house, then fell on hard times and had not worked for several years. He recently started a job as a security officer at a shopping center in Orange – and what he hopes will be a fresh start in life with a healthy and happy best friend.

Angel Fund Supplies Clarity for Dog With Terminal Cancer

Saturday, May 9th, 2020

In the fall of 2017, a young Laguna Niguel family had a sick dog on its hands.  Rikku, a shepard mix, had been in the family for some 13 years and was loved by mom and dad and two young children.

“She had been sick for a few months,” Lindsay, the mother, said in an interview.  (She asked that her last name not be used.)  “We were unsure of the cause.  At first we thought it might be behavioral. But then . . . she started having potty accidents in the house, which was so unusual for her.

“We took her to the vet [Dr. Rachel Tuz at Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital].  After a few visits and really no conclusive idea what the diagnosis was, we shrugged our shoulders and decided, ‘Well, she’s 13 years old and pushing 14, should we even pursue this any further?’

“The doctor had suggested a couple of other tests,” Lindsay said. “At that point, we had run dry on money.”  But Dr. Tuz called and said that Angel Fund might be able to help.  Lindsay successfully submitted an application with the hospital’s help. “They did the tests and found that she had a massive tumor in her bladder.  And it was basically inoperable.  There was nothing we could do about it.

“”We didn’t know what to do next, other than wait it out,” Lindsay said. “The next few months the dog got worse quickly and was losing weight, two pounds or more a month.  And we finally reached the point where Dr. Tuz said that this wasn’t fair to Rikku. She was not able to be in the house because she was having so many accidents.  So we had to choose to put her down.  That was in November.”

The experience was wrenching for all the family.  “My husband, Ryan, and I had owned her since we were kids,” Lindsay said.  “It was very hard.  “My son, Finnegan, was very sad.  He still is.  He still talks about her.”  He is five years old.  She and her husband also have a two-year-old daughter, Molly, is two.

The family got a new dog – a puppy – in January.  “We were going to wait but Finnegan kept saying he missed not having a dog,” Lindsay said.  “It’s different, though.  The new dog doesn’t replace the dog you had.  They’re just totally different personalities.”

Angel Fund was “fantastic,” Lindsay said, and she wrote a thank you letter to the fund after receiving the grant.  “They helped us in a serious time of need.  It’s hard when your pet is sick and you feel like you can’t do anything else about it.”

Lindsay had opted to be a stay-at-home mom after her first child was born.  And she and Ryan felt financially overburdened, she said, with a mortgage, two young children and hefty student loans for two college educations.

Study: Dogs Understand Spoken Words Better Than We Thought

Friday, May 1st, 2020

From Healthy Pets

Mercola

By Dr. Karen Becker

https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2020/05/01/dogs-understand-spoken-words.aspx?cid_source=petsnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1HL&cid=20200501Z1&et_cid=DM521245&et_rid=862360194

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • New study results suggest that dogs understand spoken words even better than we thought
  • Researchers concluded that dogs recognize spoken words regardless of the speaker, and they do it instinctively
  • The study proves that despite previous assumptions, this spontaneous ability is not uniquely human and that dogs share this linguistic talent
  • Earlier research indicates that dogs hear not only what we say, but how we say it
  • Similar to us, our dogs use the left hemisphere of their brains to process meaningful words, and the right hemisphere to process vocal tones

The ability to recognize specific word sounds (e.g., vowels) in human speech is assumed to be a uniquely human trait. After all, small differences in sound frequencies can completely change the meaning of a word, for example, “had”, “hid” and “who’d,” or “mat”, “mitt”, and “met.” The sound changes between these groups of words are so minor that word recognition software often misinterprets them.

In addition, the sound of words changes depending on the speaker — his or her age, body size, mouth shape, and other factors. For all these reasons, many researchers have held the opinion that instinctive recognition of word sounds is uniquely human, and that animals such as dogs would need training, at a minimum, to develop the skill.

However, if you’re a dog parent or spend time around dogs, you’ve probably seen for yourself that dogs can and do learn words from one person and recognize those words when they’re spoken by someone else. I’d venture to guess the vast majority of family dogs recognize the word “treat” no matter who says it!

Study: Dogs Understand Spoken Words Better Than We Thought

Recently, a team of U.K. researchers decided to see if dogs are able to recognize the same little sounds (called phonemes) that make up words, when the words are spoken by different people with varying accents and pronunciation.1

The researchers chose words that began with an “h” and ended with a “d” but had different vowels —such as “had”, “head”, “hid” and “hood” — and that would also have no meaning to the dogs. The words were recorded by 14 female and 13 male speakers of varying ages and different accents, none of whom were familiar to the dogs in the study.

Each dog sat with his or her owner near an audio speaker while a sequence of six recorded words played with six seconds of silence between each word. The dog’s responses were videotaped.

Psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren, Ph.D., author of the best-selling book “The Intelligence of Dogs,” in an article for Psychology Today, describes a likely testing scenario:

“One experimental trial might have run this way. The dog to be tested is presented with a string of repetitions of the word ‘had’ through the speaker. Suppose that in this instance the word was spoken by a woman.

Typically, when the dog first hears this new word spoken by this female voice he would point his ears forward, or move toward the speaker, or flick his eyes in the direction that the sound was coming from, all of which are signs of attention and engagement.

“However, as other women with different accents repeat the word ‘had’ the dog loses interest indicating that he knows that they are all saying the same thing. On the other hand, when a female speaker in the sequence says a new word, one with a different vowel, like ‘hid’, the dog now perks up again, indicating that he noticed the difference. But when the next woman’s voice returns to saying ‘had’ his attention will again flag.”2

After evaluating the videotaped sessions, the researchers concluded that dogs recognize spoken words regardless of the speaker, and they do it instinctively.

“These results are significant because they confirm two important aspects of speech recognition in dogs,” Coren writes. “First, they can distinguish between subtle changes in vowel sounds that identify particular words. Second, dogs isolate the important word sounds from all of the changes in sound quality associated with different speakers.”

Lead study author Dr. Holly Root-Gutteridge, a postdoctoral researcher with the Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition Research Group in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex made this observation in an interview with Sci-News:

“The ability to recognize words as the same when spoken by different people is critical to speech, as otherwise people wouldn’t be able to recognize words as the same when spoken by different people.

This research shows that, despite previous assumptions, this spontaneous ability is not uniquely human and that dogs share this linguistic talent, suggesting that speech perception may not be as special to humans as we previously thought.”3

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Dogs’ Brains Work Similar to Ours to Process What We Say

In 2016, researchers in Budapest published a study that looked at how dogs’ brains process human speech.4 They came to the conclusion that our canine friends listen not only to what we say, but how we say it.

The scientists discovered that when we praise our dogs, the reward centers in their brains perk up if the words we use match our tone of voice. These findings suggest the ability to process words evolved much earlier than was originally thought and may not be unique to humans.

According to Phys.org, the study shows “… that if an environment is rich in speech, as is the case of family dogs, word meaning representations can arise in the brain, even in a non-primate mammal that is not able to speak.”5

For the study, the researchers recruited 13 family dogs — primarily Border Collies and Golden Retrievers — who excelled at lying completely still in an fMRI scanner, facilitating analysis of their brain activity. The dogs were volunteer study participants, were never restrained inside the scanner and could leave at any time.

The researchers recorded a trainer’s voice saying certain phrases with varying types of intonation. In the recordings, the trainer praised the dogs using Hungarian words and phrases that in English translate to “good boy,” “super,” and “well done.”

The words were spoken in both an upbeat tone and a neutral tone. The trainer also used neutral words like “however,” and “nevertheless” that meant nothing to the dogs.

While the recording played, the researchers studied the scans for regions of the dogs’ brains that were differentiating between the praise and meaningless words, as well as praise and neutral tones of voice. They observed that the dogs used the left hemisphere to process meaningful (but not meaningless) words, and the right hemisphere to process vocal tones.

Per Phys.org, “This was the same auditory brain region that this group of researchers previously found in dogs for processing emotional non-speech sounds from both dogs and humans, suggesting that intonation processing mechanisms are not specific to speech.”

Lead researcher Attila Andics of Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest explains:

“During speech processing, there is a well-known distribution of labor in the human brain. It is mainly the left hemisphere’s job to process word meaning, and the right hemisphere’s job to process intonation.

The human brain not only separately analyzes what we say and how we say it, but also integrates the two types of information, to arrive at a unified meaning. Our findings suggest that dogs can also do all that, and they use very similar brain mechanisms.”6

Processing Words Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Understanding Them

“One important thing is that we don’t claim that dogs understand everything we say, of course,” Andics told HuffPost in an email.7

There can be a difference between a dog processing words for their familiarity and actually understanding the words as we intend. As study co-author Adam Miklosi, head of the Family Dog Project told Scientific American magazine:

“‘Understanding’ is a tricky word. Studies using brain imaging technology cannot firmly say that the activation of a specific brain area indicates ‘understanding.’

“For sure, dogs in this study reacted to the meaningful words, that is, to those words that their owners often use when they want to attract the dog’s attention or provide a positive feedback for the dog. So in this sense our dogs recognized these words as familiar and probably meaning something good.”8

An important result of the study is that it demonstrates the left hemisphere of dogs’ brains processes meaningful words separate from the vocal tone. This suggests your dog may understand that “good dog” is praise regardless of the tone of voice you use when you say it, because he recognizes those words as meaningful vs. meaningless.

“We think that intonation is important,” says Miklosi. “Owners should learn how to praise a dog, and then use the same expression in similar way. Consistency in praising and in general in communication with the dog is important.”

The researchers suspect they would have similar results in studies of other domestic animals like cats and horses, as long as the animals had lived among humans. They hope this study and subsequent research can be used to enhance communication and cooperation between dogs and humans.

Pariah, primitive and landrace dogs found around the world

Friday, May 1st, 2020

From Pet Connection  Pet Connection

https://www.uexpress.com/pet-connection/2020/4/27/first-dogs

By Kim Campbell Thornton

Andrews McMeel Syndication

One of the things I enjoy about travel is seeing different dogs around the world. Last year, I went to Ethiopia in search of wild dogs — rare and endangered Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis) — but I also saw many domestic dogs in forested villages and high-altitude plains, sometimes with flocks or humans, but more often trotting along on their own business.

No matter where you go in the world, you are likely to see some canine representative who looks much the same as the earliest-known dogs, based on rock art or remains of dogs discovered by archaeologists. Whether they are called aboriginal, landrace, pariah, primitive or village dogs, and whether they are found on islands or mountains or in dense forests, they tend to have a similar form: medium size, prick ears, wedge-shaped head, curved tail and short coat.

Color and coat vary. In the Seychelles, an archipelago off the east coast of Africa, and in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, I saw mostly tan or brown dogs. In Ethiopia, I saw many black-and-tan and black-and-white dogs as well as ones dressed in basic brown. Sometimes they have feathering — or furnishings — on legs, ears and tail, or longer fur, depending on where they evolved. Sometimes these dogs have maintained a particular look over centuries simply because geographic isolation ensured that they did not interbreed with dogs from other areas.

Pariah-type dogs who live on the streets and forage for themselves, as well as those who live in homes as companions, can be found from India to Taiwan to Thailand and everywhere in between. You may have a dog who looks like this in your own home, mixed or purebred.

Some purebreds who live in our homes and sleep on our beds still maintain primitive behavior characteristics, such as reproducing only once a year. The Federation Cynologique Internationale — Europe’s answer to the American Kennel Club — has a “primitive” category of dogs that includes the basenji, Canaan dog, cirneco dell’Etna, pharaoh hound, Xoloitzcuintli, Portuguese podengo and Thai ridgeback. In the same FCI group as primitive dogs are the spitz breeds, including the Akita, Alaskan malamute, chow chow, Finnish spitz, Icelandic sheepdog, Jindo, Karelian bear dog, Norwegian elkhound, shiba and Siberian husky. While in their current forms, most of these breeds are not much more than a century old (no matter what their breed standards say), the types of dogs that were their progenitors have been around for millennia.

The United Kennel Club describes pariah dogs as having short, smooth coats and large, erect ears, saying they are believed to be the ancestors of sighthounds — those tall, skinny, fast dogs such as Afghan hounds, Azawakhs, greyhounds, salukis and sloughis.

Some dogs are considered not purebreds but landraces: domestic dogs adapted to a particular locale or culture. Their characteristics developed more in response to survival in a particular environment than to human design. One such dog I saw on a visit to Mongolia in 2016 is the bankhar, kept by nomadic herders to guard flocks, and able to survive, thrive and work in harsh conditions. That’s more important to their human partners than whether they meet specific criteria regarding appearance or size. Bankhars have greater genetic diversity than their purebred cousins who come from a closed gene pool and are selectively bred by humans for specific physical or behavioral characteristics.

Landraces sometimes become breeds through human intervention. In the United States, for instance, the Carolina dog began as a landrace but is now considered to be a standardized breed, registered by the American Rare Breed Association and the UKC.

Some primitive dogs retain more wild behaviors than others, among them Australia’s dingo and New Guinea’s singing dog. A few live as companions, but more often they live a wild life, fending for themselves.