Monday, August 25, 2014

National Dog Day is August 26, 2014

The National Dog Day Foundation explains, "No one can win hearts like man's best friend and in honor of this bond between [humankind] and canine, Dog Day is celebrated.  Take time to appreciate the love and value that dogs bring to our daily lives, and to do your bit for homeless and abused dogs the world over. Recommendations for ways to celebrate Dog Day range from adopting a dog from a rescue home to giving your dog a holistic spa treatment or even buying yourself and your dog matching t-shirts.  The National Dog Day Foundation supports all breeds and varieties of dogs and discourages purchasing from unethical backyard breeders and puppy mills; instead, support reputable breeders or adopt from rescue homes."

Read more about twenty ways to celebrate.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Africa's Wild Dogs

Africa's Wild Dogs aren't really dogs.  They split off from wolves millions of years ago. Like coyotes, domestic dogs, jackals and grey wolves, they have 78 chromosomes so they are indeed canids, but they are so distinctly different from their lupus relatives, taxonomists place them all alone in their own genus- lycoan.
An unusual pooch. The ears are big to disperse heat.

A few years ago I went to South Africa to hang out with biologists studying the painted dogs, a mid sized carnivore (60-70 pounds) whose dwindling population has made them Africa's most endangered mammal. When I was there in 2007, there were only about 5000 dogs left.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Prostrate Cancer Sniffing Dogs

That's what Dr. Barkman calls a real LAB report.
Canines have around 220 million olfactory cells in the nose (humans have about 6 million) enabling some dogs to smell chemicals released by cancerous tumors.  In a study presented at the 2014 American Urological Association's annual meeting, researchers reported that two dogs trained to identify these chemicals smelled the urine of more the 650 patients, and demonstrated a 98% accuracy in detecting prostate cancer.  Currently, blood tests are used to diagnose the disease, and have an accuracy rate of about 80%.

Read the pros and cons of using dogs in cancer detection in this issue of Slate magazine.

Monday, August 4, 2014

English Setter Neon Sign

I saw this sign in Los Angeles several years ago. The tail wags when the neon is turned on.  Unfortunately the location is now a Starbucks.