article image

Nose for News, March 2016

Daisymae Snatched and Returned

A 2-year-old female dog, Daisymae, who entered the East Bay SPCA as a stray, was taken by a man while she was being exercised by a volunteer. Daisymae had masses that needed to surgically removed, so pleas went out for her return. The man who absconded with the dog from the Baldwin Street Adoption facility left a voice mail message with the organization saying he had left the dog on a street corner in an effort to return her and said he was sorry for causing such a ruckus. She wound up at the Rocket Dog Rescue Urban Sanctuary. The SPCA folks retrieved her, reporting she was in good health and has been scheduled for surgery.
“Thanks to an incredible community outpouring and this man’s good conscience, we were able to get Daisymae back to the shelter very quickly. We really appreciate all the people who helped us share this story,” said Allison Lindquist, East Bay SPCA president and CEO in a news release. “We are glad this story has a quick and happy ending and Daisymae is safe again in our shelter.”

Happy Ending for Buddy

Buddy, a North Oakland dog missing for 15 days, made his way back home and is recovering nicely from his big, stressful adventure. The dog was staying away from home while his owner was on a business trip and somehow got away. Scared, shy, and rocket-fast, the dog roved around a geographic area surrounding his home, darting across congested streets and barely escaping collision with vehicles and serious injury.

The community banded together through social media, a website (Buddy.Strikingly.com), and flyers, efforts that resulted in several reported sightings. His owner opened her door on a recent morning to find the beloved furry family member on her stoop. His vet examination determined Buddy had lost five pounds and suffered a few scratches but was otherwise healthy, and now everyone, especially Buddy, is happy.

Puppy Bowl Antics

San Francisco Animal Care & Control and the East Bay SPCA teamed up with Gott’s Roadside and the Animal Planet to showcase adorable, adoptable puppies “scrimmaging” at Puppy Bowl XII. On the four days before the Super Bowl, Super Bowl City hosted the Puppy Bowl Café, which was equipped with a 24-foot faux football field on which the cute, roly-poly, sometimes-yipping youngsters rolled, scampered, and crashed their way into, over, and on top of one another as they competed for toys, treats, and attention. The cutest thing ever.

Using Their Noses

Researchers at Arizona State University are teaching dogs how to detect ingredients that can be put together to make bombs and improvised explosive devices at the school’s Canine Science Lab. Professor Clive Wynne is directing a study, funded by the Office of Naval Research, that develops ways to train dogs to use their noses to identify ingredients and know whether those components can be combined into explosives. Bomb-detecting dogs used by Marines are having trouble finding roadside bombs and IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan, and researches are hopeful dogs can learn the concept of dangerous ingredient combination. They think, too, that the canine nose is better and cheaper than a technical replacement.

Using their Noses II

Dogs at the University of Washington Center for Conservation Biology—many rescued from shelters as ball-obsessed Energizer Bunnies—are using their noses to find scat from threatened and endangered species, including spotted owls, caribou, Iberian wolves, giant armadillos, and tigers. Experienced trackers as Conservation Canines can ID 13 separate species and can detect minute traces of scent under snow and on the water. Scientists analyze the specimens and fecal hormones to learn about the animal’s diet, genetic makeup, environmental toxins, stress hormones, and other physiological determinants.

Going to the Dogs

Dogs in Madrid can now ride the city’s metro subway system, and they don’t need a ticket. They do, however, need a muzzle, and they can’t be rush-hour passengers. Dogs on European city subways is not that unusual, especially in London. In Paris, the dogs must be small enough to be carried in a bag. Dogs can also ride the subway trains in Berlin, but they must have a child’s ticket if they are too big to be in carrier.

Dog Smarts Studied

Is your dog a genius or a dunce? Scientists have come up with a test to gauge IQ, according to the journal Intelligence, which published a study indicating that some dogs appear to be smarter than others. Some, in fact, were able to catch on, learn, and problem-solve more quickly than their peers. The test examined 68 working border collies from Wales farms and showed that dogs that did well on one test were likely to do better on another—just like humans The researchers linked, for the first time, human and canine intelligence similarities and noticed the faster a dog reacted to prompts, the more accurate the response was.

Don’t Drink the Water

Dogs may also be falling victim to Flint’s water woes. Two dogs in Genesee County, Michigan, tested positive for lead poisoning, prompting officials to recommend that pets not drink unfiltered tap water until it is found to be safe. Pet guardians should use filtered or bottled water for their pets to ensure their safety. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said there had been no reports of lead toxicity in pets until Flint’s water had been contaminated. The two dogs had high levels of heavy metal, which can result in symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal distress to seizures.

Down in the Dumps

Is global warming bringing your dog down? Turns out some top pet behaviorists in England have encountered a depression epidemic in Britain’s dogs, and they are blaming global warming. Wet winters, they say, could be the problem, because pet owners forego daily outings when it rains. Exercise provides mental stimulation, so a sedentary dog gets bored and depressed.
“I’ve been working with dogs for more than 20 years and I can’t remember a time when they’ve been this bored. I tend to see boredom in bursts, but I’m seeing it chronically this winter,” Carolyn Menteith, a dog behaviorist who was named Britain’s Instructor of the Year in 2015, said in an interview with the Independent. “They are just really, really, bored. People are quite happy to get their dogs out in frosty, hard weather, but not when it’s muddy and horrible.”

Tinder, for Dogs

In Boston, people who want a dog for the day or longer can use Bark’N’Borrow, a mobile app that lets users “borrow” dogs in their area. The app allows them talk to the owner and then set up a time to “borrow” the dog for a short time or “sit” the dog for a longer period. Borrowers do it for fun; sitters generally earn money for it. Dogs have profiles that list info like their size, breed, and training level.

Dancing With Their Dogs

Move over, Dancing With the Stars. A Philadelphia dance instructor, Darlene Chroniger, is teaching her dance students to get the moves on with their dogs. In canine freestyle, an actual sport, the two-legged and four-legged participants get creative with their dogs on the dance floor to music and can win titles and ribbons. It’s all in the name of celebrating the human-dog bond.

Berkley Saves Lives

Berkley, a dog who lives at the Shawnee Animal Hospital in Shawnee, Okla., has donated his blood to save the lives of hundreds of dogs. He has been a resident of the hospital since he was picked up off the streets as a pup, and the staff considers him a “godsend.” His job, which he apparently does uncomplainingly, is being a blood donor for other dogs in need. The staff never takes more than a pint of blood per month from Berkley.

“He’s a good dog. He just brings us joy,” Mike Stewart, a vet at the Shawnee clinic said. “He’s helping others by helping bring joy to humans by keeping their pets alive.”

Nominate A Hero Dog

The American Humane Association is accepting nominations for the 2016 Hero Awards through March 2 in eight categories for working dogs: law enforcement, military, therapy, service, emerging hero, arson, search and rescue, and guide/hearing dogs. The yearlong competition includes a public voting component and culminates with a Sept. 10 televised red-carpet awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles with one brave soul earning the title of American Hero Dog of 2016. This is the sixth year for the contest. To learn more, visit HeroDogAwards.org.