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New Dogs in Dallas

There’s something new at the Dallas Zoo: African painted dogs.

According to the Dallas ZooHoo! newsletter, this marks the first time in 57 years the strange-looking “dogs” have been in Dallas. Now, the zoo has three: an 8-year-old female named Ola from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and two 2-year-old brothers, Jata and Mzingo, from Columbus Zoo’s The Wilds. They apparently are the only African painted dogs in North Texas.

African painted dogs are known for their large, round ears, and mottled pattern of black, yellow, brown, and white fur. Their scientific name, Lycaon pictus, means “painted wolf,” but they are neither wolf nor dog but a unique species and the only member of their genus. They are among the most social mammals on earth, with a very structured, organized hierarchy.

“African painted dogs are an incredibly intelligent, fascinating species,” said Harrison Edell, Dallas Zoo’s executive vice president of animal care and conservation. “As Africa’s most successful hunters, they’re also very nurturing — they work together for the welfare of the whole pack and care for the young and the ill, so no member is left behind.”

African painted dogs are one of the most endangered carnivores, with fewer than 6,000 dogs remaining in parts of southern and eastern Africa. Their numbers continue to decline due to habitat loss, shooting by ranchers to protect livestock, disease, and more. There are currently 136 individuals living in U.S. zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. African dog by


Those Eyes

Centuries of domestication have unintentionally yet radically reshaped dogs’ eyebrow anatomy, making their faces and emotions more easily readable to people, National Geographic recently reported.

A new study reached such a conclusion, according to study leader Juliane Kaminski, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. She had learned in 2013 that when dogs met a human gaze and raised their inner eyebrow muscle, the action made their eyes look larger and more appealing. Some eyebrow raising helped pups get adopted more quickly.

For the new study, published in June in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Kaminski and colleagues dissected and analyzed the facial muscles of six dogs and four wild gray wolves. The team discovered the levator anguli oculi medialis in all the dog specimens but it was hardly noticeable in wolves.

This muscle, which runs along the eye’s outer edge, exposes more of the white of the eye — making the dogs appear human-like.

Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University, noted that dogs and wolves are very similar anatomically, except for these eye muscles. “This new study shows that these morphological changes evolved as dogs and humans have interacted over the past 20,000 years. … They almost certainly did not evolve due to intentional selection, but instead gave dogs an advantage in their interactions with humans.”


Chernobyl Dogs

While more than a dozen Chernobyl puppies have been deemed safe from the 1986 radioactive disaster and adopted in the United States, the health of some descendants is still under question, according to Business Insider.

Many dogs were killed to prevent the spread of radiation, but survivors reproduced in the wild, and hundreds of their offspring live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Workers have started to adopt them, though nuclear experts remain concerned about possible radiation that can remain in their fur.

These Chernobyl dogs, often large, sturdy breeds perhaps mingled with wolves, typically don’t live past age 6 because of predators and extreme winters.

“They’re very friendly, but you want to avoid petting them,” said Claire Corkhill, a nuclear-waste-disposal researcher at the University of Sheffield who’s been assisting with the Chernobyl cleanup.

Many of the youngest dogs — those under a year old — have been determined to have safe levels of radiation, and are being put up for adoption. Last year, the Clean Futures Fund flew more than a dozen puppies to New York City, where they were handed over to their adopted families. The puppies represent the first animals to ever be allowed outside the exclusion zone. The organization is now working to make more puppies available in the future.


Licking Dogs

Ken White of The Daily Journal in San Mateo was curious about why dogs lick. While his father suggested canines do this because they need salt, experts called that theory hogwash.

Most experts believe licking simply brings a dog pleasure, allows them to show affection, and can be a stress release for uptight pups. Licking releases pleasure-causing endorphins resulting in a sense of comfort or self-soothing. Since pleasure is not only pleasurable but can become addictive, dogs can become compulsive lickers, looking for the high that results from that hormone release. Such addicted dogs can lick themselves raw, creating those red, inflamed “hot spots” on their own skin.


Dog Stories

Has your dog impacted your life? Netflix wants to know how and is searching for pups to appear in Dogs, its docuseries that shares dogs’ specials stories, according to Fox 8 TV in Cleveland.

Netflix announced recently it’s renewing the show for a second season and wants canine owners to submit their dog stories by tagging @NetflixDogs with #netflixdogstory on Instagram or Twitter. Amy Berg and Glen Zipper, the executive producers of the show, said they intend for season two to be as compelling and heartwarming as the first season.

Dogs depicts many different kinds of human-canine relationships, such as a young girl and her service dog and an adoption advocate who drives dogs across the country from shelters to new homes.


Dog Tag Buddies

Veterans in Billings and Helena, Montana, are grateful for Dog Tag Buddies and its assistance in bring veterans and dogs together. In three years, the program has saved 40 dogs and helped 50 veterans, KTVQ reported.

In June a fundraiser, The Pints for Patriots and Paws Pub Crawl, had wrapped up with a tidy contribution for Dog Tag Buddies, which takes in stray dogs and trains them to help veterans as companions or therapy dogs.

Five Billings craft breweries participated in the three-day event: Canyon Creek, Last Chance Cider Mill, Montana Brewing Company, Thirsty Street, and Uberbrew. Three from Helena also served as one of the stops for the pub crawl.

“It’s a competition and a fundraiser for Dog Tag Buddies between Helena and Billings,” said Alyssa Hertel, event coordinator for the pub crawl. “We rescue dogs and we train them to be service dogs for veterans. It’s amazing; the veterans with these dogs, they’re more sociable. They’re working in groups, so they’re connecting with people that are veterans like them and they can form new groups and new friendships, and they really just open up way more than they started. It’s all because of the dogs, so that’s really cool.”


Puppy Pageant

The first ever Miss Dog Mom USA has been crowned in New York City, following a lighthearted competition in which women proudly promenaded, posed, and danced alongside their furry companions, Women in the World reported recently.

Maria Ducasse, a 34-year-old professional dog walker, and Bella, her Shih Tzu-greyhound mix, ultimately took home the night’s top honor. They won a $1,000 price, a sash, and a contract to appear in parades and other events for a year. After an opening dance number, contestants moved on to a costume competition and an eveningwear segment in which dogs and their people dressed to impress.

A dog lover and former Miss Teen USA contestant, Desh Valcin, dreamed up the event. Rachel Syme of The New York Times who covered the contest dubbed it “a live-action mash-up of Best in Show and Drop Dead Gorgeous, with a dollop of Dance Moms.”


Stressed Out

You could be stressing your dog out.

According to a new study from Sweden’s Linköping University, researchers found dogs’ stress levels were influenced by their owners and may in fact mirror their owners’ stress levels, Healthline reported.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, included 58 dogs, 25 border collies, 33 Shetland sheepdogs, and their female owners. Owners answered personality trait questions about themselves and their dogs. Researchers measured stress by studying hair concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in the dogs and their humans, collecting samples in summer and winter. In both samples, the cortisol levels from the dogs were “synchronized” with their owners. The authors say this is the first study to identify long-term synchronization in stress levels between members of two different species.

“It almost seems intuitively obvious that there is an association between human stress and emotions and that of their pets. I believe many of us have suspected that relationship. Clearly, by measuring cortisol levels, the researchers were able to demonstrate this using scientific data,” said Greg Nelson, D.V.M., a veterinarian at Central Veterinary Associates in Valley Stream, New York.


Dog-Friendly Workplaces

The benefits of having your pupper by your side at work are good for you and your co-workers, Mental Floss recently reported.

In an online preview of June 21’s Take Your Dog to Work Day, Mental Floss cited these statistics from a survey by Wellness Natural Pet Food: 65 percent of pet parents believe having a dog in the workplace boosts company morale; 75 percent of respondents said pets can help defuse stressful work situations; nearly half surveyed view “pet perks” important when considering a new job offer.

Wellness crunched numbers to determine the 10 most pet-friendly companies in America: 1. Amazon, Seattle 2. Harpoon Brewery, Boston 3. Trupanion, Seattle 4. Ben & Jerry’s, Burlington, Vermont 5. Contently, New York City 6. Procore, Carpinteria 7. Ticketmaster, Los Angeles 8. PetSafe, Knoxville, Tennessee 9. TripAdvisor, Needham, Massachusetts 10. Purely Elizabeth, Boulder, Colorado.


On the Other Paw also released its Best Dog-Friendly Companies list, just in time for Take Your Dog to Work Day. The yearly list ranks the top 100 workplaces across the U.S. for dog lovers to work. Companies were scored against data Rover collected from dog owners on what they value most, such as total number of dogs allowed in the office, pet parent perks, and office amenities geared toward dogs. Top perks included dog parks on campus, pet adoption fee stipends, pet bereavement, and “pawternity” leave. This year, Amazon topped the list, followed by Airbnb, Petco, Salesforce and

Here are the top 15 companies: 1. Amazon, Seattle 2. Procore Technologies, Carpinteria 3. Trupanion, Seattle 4. Petsmart, Phoenix 5. Airbnb, San Francisco 6. Nestle Purina Petcare, St. Louis, Missouri 7. Petco Animal Supplies Inc., San Diego 8. Zogics, Lenox, Massachusetts 9. Ceros, New York City 10. Uber, San Francisco 11. Salesforce, San Francisco 12., Dania Beach, Florida, and Boston 13. Sittercity, Chicago 14. Ookla, Seattle 15. Splendid Spoon, Brooklyn, New York.


Amazing Puzzles

Puzzle feeders are on the rise to stave off boredom and aid in the fight against obesity. New York Magazine recruited a few experts to share their favorites, and here’s what they came up with for dogs.

Best easy food puzzles for dogs: Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl, $9 at Chewy; Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl, $12 at Chewy; PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Dog Feeding Mat, $40 at Amazon.

Best intermediate food puzzles for dogs: KONG Wobbler Interactive Treat-Dispensing Dog Toy, $19 at Amazon, $20 at Chewy; Nina Ottosson Dog Smart Beginner Dog Puzzle Toy, $12 at Chewy; Kathson Dog Interactive Game Puzzle, $14 at Amazon.

Best advanced food puzzles for dogs: Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Tornado Interactive Dog Toy, $13 at Chewy; Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Casino Plastic Interactive Dog Game, $19 at Chewy; Trixie Mini Mover Interactive Dog Toy, $10 at Chewy.


Be Prepared

Climate change may putting more pets at risk for diseases their owners have never had to deal with before, according to USA Today.

Experts said Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a bacterial disease that can cause fever, joint pain and vomiting, is moving into California and Texas. Heartworm disease, which can damage the cardiovascular system and clog the heart, is spreading beyond its traditional home in the South and Southeast. And Lyme disease, which can cause joint swelling and lameness, affects dogs as far north as Canada.

Many of these diseases also affect humans. But dogs are especially at risk because they spend a lot of time outdoors and in vegetation.

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