Friday, December 4, 2009

Service Dog

This video shows how service dogs are trained even as tiny puppies. This particular dog flunked as a traditional service dog, but found a different way to be of service.

(I found the music distracting.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pork chops

In a zoo in California, a mother tiger gave birth to a rare set of triplet tiger cubs. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, the cubs were born prematurely and due to their tiny size, they died shortly after birth.

The mother tiger, after recovering from the delivery, suddenly started to decline in health, although physically she was fine. The veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused the tigress to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.

After checking with many other zoos across the country, the depressing news was that there were no tiger cubs of the right age to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only "orphans" that could be found quickly were a litter of weanling pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger. Would they become cubs or pork chops?

Take a look:

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Kingsford the piglet goes swimming

The music is ignorable but the video is adorable.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Serves Him Right

Shot dog bites gunman

Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:17pm EDT

BERLIN (Reuters) - A dog in Germany shot by a drunken man with a gun took swift revenge by biting off the end of the man's nose, authorities said on Monday.

Police said the armed man was snooping at night in the yard of a house in Stadtlauringen in northern Bavaria when he shot the Bernese mountain dog from point-blank range.

Before collapsing, the dog leapt at the 39-year-old man and bit off the end of his nose, a local police spokesman said.

Bleeding profusely, the man called police and was taken for treatment in a nearby hospital. His motives for being in the yard were unclear, police said.

Doctors removed a bullet from the dog's shoulder and discharged it from a clinic after an operation lasting several hours.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Michael Roddy)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rupert, the One Pound Fawn

This tiny deer was delivered by C-section at a wildlife hospital after a car killed his mother. Little Rupert, who is so small he can fit in an adult's hand, was born after vets failed in their battle to save his mother. At just six inches tall and weighing just over a pound,he is now in an incubator in the intensive care unit at Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Buckinghamshire. He has only recently opened his eyes.

Les Stocker,founder of Tiggywinkles, said,"Rupert's mother had very severe injuries. We brought him out and got him breathing, and then he went into an incubator on oxygen. He is now being fed by a tube."

Staff members are optimistic that Rupert, now five days old, will make a full recovery. "Deer are very, very tricky, but this one has spirit. He's an extremely feisty little guy and quite pushy," Mr. Stocker said.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brutus, a Well-Named Puppy

The K9 above is Brutus, a military K9 at McChord Air Force Base.

He's huge - part Boxer and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture. Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he's slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn't stop, but he did. Brutus won the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq . His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by insurgents. Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant 'go away but come back and find me'. The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly tore the throat out of one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He's the first K9 to receive this honor. If he knows you're ok, he's a big old lug and wants to sit in your lap.

Enjoys the company of cats.

K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Winner

(Author unknown)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Training Dogs for War

Returning to Serve, Sniff
Sensitive Noses No. 1 Weapon Against Bombs

By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01

Rambo sounds the warning as soon as the kennel door at Bolling Air Force Base creaks open, a ferocious, thunderous bark as loud and persistent as a jackhammer. In the next stalls, Rocky goes berserk, spinning in tight circles like a top, and Jess, ears perked, bounces excitedly up and down.

Then there's Timi. He stays silent, his head bowed, ears bent. He stands motionless, averting his gaze.

Timi has always been the oddball of the kennel in Southwest Washington, "the quirky one," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Evans, his trainer. The dog is also an Iraq war veteran, and according to his medical file, he has nightmares "characterized by violent kicking." His veterinarian says he has had "readjustment issues" since coming home -- although not severe enough to prevent him from returning to the field.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't just forcing thousands of soldiers and Marines to deploy for two and three tours. The sacrifice is being shared by a key, and growing, part of the U.S. military: highly trained German shepherds and Belgian Malinois. In a war with no front lines, they have become valuable at sniffing out makeshift bombs, which cause most U.S. casualties.

The use of dogs in war, whether as scouts, sentries or trackers, goes back hundreds of years. But since Sept. 11, 2001, the Defense Department has increased the number of military dogs from 1,320 to 2,025, and many have served multiple tours.

Some service members say the dogs' ability to sniff out bombs and insurgents makes them as indispensable as a rifle or flak jacket. And they believe that the dogs' heroism should be rewarded.

The U.S. War Dogs Association is trying to persuade the Pentagon to create a medal for dogs. Another group is pushing for a military working dog memorial in the Washington area. And the Humane Society, which criticized the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, when many dogs were left behind or euthanized, has credited the military with working to find retirement homes for them.

Like new recruits, the dogs enter the military through boot camp, where they learn the canine version of soldiering: basic obedience and how to detect explosives, navigate obstacle courses and sneak up on a house without barking. They are exposed to the rat-tat-tat of rifles, loud noises and explosions so they can learn to stay cool under fire. Although they are taught to bite and hold the enemy, they are not trained to kill, officials said. By the time they are ready to hit the battlefield, the Pentagon has invested $15,000 in each dog.

It's impossible to estimate how many lives the dogs have 0saved, said Master Sgt. Robert Tremmel, manager of the Air Force's working dogs program at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where the dogs -- and dog trainers from different branches of the military -- are initially trained.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, "they're finding ammunition," he said. "They're finding weapons -- AK-47s and caches and a lot of unexploded ordnance. . . . They're invaluable."

But there have also been numerous accounts of dogs being used to intimidate detainees during interrogations in Iraq and elsewhere. One of the most notorious photos from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal was of a dog handler holding a dog inches from a detainee's face. The handler was one of two soldiers convicted of using dogs to intimidate detainees.

And officials at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, began using dogs to intimidate detainees during interrogations in late 2002, after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved techniques that used "detainees' individual phobias [such as fear of dogs] to induce stress," according to a military memo Rumsfeld signed in December 2002.

At Andrews Air Force Base, which has the largest K-9 unit in the region, two dog teams recently deployed. In addition to military dogs, 38 contractor dog teams are in Afghanistan and about 140 dogs across Iraq. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, 11 military dogs have been killed in combat, Tremmel said.

Former Air Force Tech Sgt. Harvey Holt and his dog, Jackson, (officially it's "Jjackson," with the double "J" signifying that he was bred by the Defense Department) were pinned down by sniper fire in 2006 while on patrol outside Baquba, north of Baghdad. During a break in the fire, he took his dog, a Belgian Malinois, through the field to find the sniper. Jackson picked up a scent, sprinted toward a bale of hay, jumped in head first and pulled the sniper out by his calf, Holt said.

Like other handlers, Holt, who is now a police officer in Indiana, was often attached to many different units, depending on who needed a canine's special capabilities. As a result, Holt didn't form the "band of brothers" bonds with other soldiers, but rather with his dog. On cold nights, they shared a sleeping bag.

"We were two heads poking out of the bag," he said. "If it weren't for the dog, I probably wouldn't have made it emotionally there. The bond and trust I had in that dog was more than with any human being." After Holt handed Jackson off to the next handler, he came to miss him so much that he got a tattoo of Jackson on his left leg.

During his six-month tour in Iraq last year, Timi, a 5-year-old German shepherd, found about 100 pounds of explosive material, Evans said, including a 130mm shell full of homemade explosives.

Timi "is all business," he said. "A real foot soldier." Tough and no-nonsense, he has always been more reserved than the other dogs. He took his time eating. He seemed to look at people out of the corners of his eyes, Evans said, following them. "He's calculating."

But a few months into the deployment, Timi started thrashing about in his sleep, Evans said.

"It was almost like he was having a seizure in his sleep," Evans said. "This was not like he was chasing a little bunny rabbit. He was kicking the . . . kennel down. . . . When I got him out of it, he'd have that bewildered look, and it would take him a minute to know where he was. Then he'd fall back asleep, and it would happen again and again."

For two years, Walter Burghardt, chief of behavioral medicine at the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service, has been studying the effects of combat on dogs. Although he doesn't like to use the term post-traumatic stress disorder with dogs, war can affect them emotionally, he said. In some cases, antidepressants have worked, he said, as have more playtime and more time performing the tasks they were trained to do.

Timi's episodes did not affect his ability to work, which is when he seemed happiest, Evans said. Since coming home, Timi has shown great progress, although in the kennel he is more subdued than the others.

Still, Timi is one of the stars at Bolling, and his workload in the past several months has included trips to Camp David for the former president, to Paris for the former first lady and to New York in advance of an appearance by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on the "Late Show With David Letterman," Evans said.

Now he's on his way back to Iraq, the second of what could be several tours. Army Capt. Amos Peterson, his veterinarian, signed off on Timi's ability to deploy.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Brandon L. Gaines, his new handler, said there is no one he would rather deploy with.

"It's written all over him," he said of Timi. "He's ready to go back."

Staff writer Josh White contributed to this report.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Birthday to Cami

This gentle girl turned six today.

Love from your mama.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bad Ass

A friend emailed me this amazing story.

A couple from Montana were out riding on the range, he with his rifle and she (fortunately) with her camera. Their dogs always followed them, but on this occasion a Mountain Lion decided that he wanted to stalk the dogs (you'll see the dogs in the background watching). Very, very bad decision.

The hunter got off the mule with his rifle and decided to shoot in the air to scare away the lion, but before he could get off a shot the lion charged in and decided he wanted a piece of those dogs. With that, the mule took off and decided HE wanted a piece of that lion. That's when all hell broke loose for the lion.

As the lion approached the dogs, the mule snatched him up by the tail and started whirling him around. Banging its head on the ground on every pass. Then he dropped it, stomped on it and held it to the ground by the throat. The mule then got down on his knees and bit the thing all over a couple of dozen times to make sure it was dead, then whipped it into the air again, walked back over to the couple (they were stunned in silence) and stood there ready to continue his ride as if nothing had just happened.

Fortunately, even though the hunter didn't get off a shot, his wife got off these four pictures.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Welcome to Dog Breath

Welcome to Dog Breath, a "dog blog" if you will. It's an homage to all things canine, but occasionally I will feature other creatures -- even cats.

Today, March 9, is my birthday. I won't say how many it is in dog years, but let's just say it would add up to a mountain of Milk-Bones. This morning my beloved German shepherds, Jackson and Cami, presented me with the greeting card above.