Archive for the ‘Pet-Related Stories’ Category

Subway Dogs

Russian-Subway-Dogs1It’s truly is amazing how adaptable our canine counterparts can be. These Russian dogs have been studied and found to be uniquely clever when figuring out the best methods of securing their survival while living as homeless dogs in a human environment.

“The elite of Moscow’s 35,000 stray dogs are about 500 Russian dogs constantly living in the Moscow subway (Metro). About 50 of subway dogs have learned to ride the trains, commuting from quiet suburbs stations where they spend the night to downtown where it’s easier to get some food.

Each morning, like clockwork, they board the subway, off to begin their daily routine amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. But these aren’t just any daily commuters. These are stray dogs who live in the outskirts of Moscow Russia and commute on the underground trains to and from the city centre in search of food scraps.

Then after a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

Living in the subway is just a survival tactic the Moscow stray dogs have come up with. The subway dogs have figured out how to use the city’s huge and complicated subway system, getting on and off
at the stops they need. They recognize the desired station by smell, by recorded announcer’s voice, and by time intervals basing on their biological clocks. Usually they ride first or last car to keep away from crushes.

Experts studying the dogs, who usually choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train, say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop – after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train.

In Soviet times stray dogs were barred from subway. Today Moscow Metro’s passengers are so accustomed to dogs on subway – sleeping on empty seats and hanging around stations – that they do not pay any attention.

For these strays the Moscow Metro is their home. The subway dogs get outside to do all their deeds and behave friendly to the passengers. They have very good instincts about people, greeting happily kind passengers and avoiding contacts with intolerant. And they always find somebody who will share food with them.

With children the dogs “play cute” by putting their heads on youngsters’ knees and staring pleadingly into their eyes to win sympathy – and scraps.

Dogs are opportunistic and intelligent, and when they figured out they were no longer chased away from the subway stations, they began hopping trains for a lift into the city. The Moscow subway system is a maze that can be confusing for people, but the dogs appear to have learned the system.

Once in the city, the dogs have their own special ways of getting food. Some position themselves outside butcher shops and wait for dog lovers coming out of the shop to toss them a bone. Others
have refined a technique of sneaking up behind people who are eating food and surprising them with a loud bark which hopefully scares the person into dropping whatever they’re eating. If the dog is successful in getting the person to drop their food, he grabs his prize and runs.

Packs of stray dogs are led not by the strongest or most dominant member, but by the most intelligent dog in the pack. The dogs understand living among people in a large city requires brains and
not muscle to survive. Researchers have observed dog packs selecting pack members that are smaller and cuter than the other ones who are then sent out to beg for food.

The dogs also don’t leave messes laying around where someone can step in them, and they relieve themselves in out of the way spots away from the main traffic areas. The subway riding stray dogs of Moscow have essentially learned how to interact with people and move among them in order to survive.” ~

^..^ Asia Moore
Author & Dog Whisperer
85+ dog breed books & counting!

The Windows to Your Soul

IMG_1150I’m sure you’ve heard the expression that someone’s eyes are the windows to their soul. Well, it seems that, according to a new study carried out at the University of Japan, that this is also true of our canine counterparts who communicate far more through eye contact than we may have previously realized.

“…A new study in Science led by Takefumi Kikusui, an animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Japan, carried out a series of experiments that examined the impact of the gaze in the dogs and their owners and found that those puppy dog eyes are even more meaningful than we thought. 

“Our data suggest that owner-dog bonding is comparable to human parent-infant bonding, that is, oxytocin-mediated eye-gaze bonding,” Kikusui said. “And this is surprising to us because there is not a reproductive relationship between human and dogs, but both of them have acquired similar skills.

Oxytocin is a hormone associated with trust and maternal bonding – it increases when you’re close to someone you love and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.
The researchers found that when owner’s and their canine charges gazed into one another’s eyes during a 30-minute period, levels of oxytocin (measured in their urine) increased in both the humans and the dogs. And when oxytocin was administered to dogs, it increased the amount of time that female dogs – but not males – gazed at their owner.

Kikusui said he believed the gaze was acquired by dogs as part of their efforts to communicate and form social bonds with humans.

“Eye gaze from human to animals is usually threatening, not affiliative,” he said. “We speculated that some small population of ancestor of dogs show an affiliative eye gaze toward humans, due to the change in the temperament. In this process, we agree that there is a possibility that dogs cleverly and unknowingly utilize a natural system meant for bonding a parent with his or her child.”

Duke University’s Evan MacLean and Brian Hare, in an article accompanying the Science study, said “dogs have proven much more adept at reading human social cues than even chimpanzees or great apes.


Inspired by developmental psychologists studying human infants, comparative psychologists began studying family dogs. It quickly became apparent that dogs have much more to tell us about cognition, and ourselves than they might have imagined,” they wrote. “This is particularly true when it comes to how dogs understand the social world. Even as puppies, dogs spontaneously respond to cooperative human gestures, such as pointing cues, to find hidden food or toy rewards.”

In a bid to bond with their new neighbors, MacLean said dogs might have come to recognize the importance of the gaze between parents and their children and then saw how that helped them build a similar relationship.


One fun evolutionary scenario might be dogs find a way to basically hijack these parenting type responses,” MacLean said in a Science podcast. “Over time, dogs may have taken more and more sort of childlike and juvenile characteristics to further and further embed themselves into this parent-child kind of framework.”

Nicholas H. Dodman, director of the animal behavior clinical at Tufts University, questioned whether the gaze alone was the reason dogs and humans bonded thousands of years ago. He said it was more likely the juvenile characteristics exhibited by dogs won over mankind, noting that other interactions between human and dogs such as petting have also shown to result in elevated levels of oxytocin.
“The look is part of the package but it’s not the sole reason why we chose dogs,” he said.

But the bonding isn’t all the dogs’ doing.

MacLean said dog owners play their part, noting that one study found that participants responded very similarly when shown pictures of their dogs as they would their children. “Owners are famous for treating their dogs like members of the family, doting on them, talking to them in child-like voices and even dressing them in special doggy outfits.


There have been some fun studies showing that, indeed, we respond to our dogs quite a bit like human children,” MacLean said. “One of my favorite ones was a recent brain imaging study that looked at mothers who were being shown pictures either of their own child or somebody else’s child and their own dog or somebody else’s dog.

What the researchers found in this study is that there were brain networks in mothers who responded very similarly when they saw pictures of their own child or their own dog but didn’t have that response from looking at someone else’s child or somebody else’s dog.”

MacLean said he felt the Japanese study reinforces the idea that the human-dog relationship is like a parent-child relationship and could help explain the biological mechanisms that are involved in the use of dogs in therapy to treat everything from autism to post-traumatic stress.

“If it turns out there are benefits of administering oxytocin for some of these disabilities, using assistance dogs may actually be a fairly natural way to stimulate the system,” he said. “There may be some sort of medicinal properties of our interaction with dogs that we could use.”

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Read the entire article here: cbsnews

Certainly, all these canine studies are interesting, however, there is no question in my mind that our canine counterparts are indeed capable of far more that what the eye might see, in terms of both inner and outer health. For instance, there is no drug on the market that can take the place of the joy, companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love that our dogs bring to our lives.

^..^ Asia Moore
Author and Dog Whisperer
85+ dog breed books and counting!

A Tough Way to Find a New Home

dogbumper“A stray dog in China was hit by a car and managed to get stuck in the grill of the car at the moment of impact. The driver thought he had hit and killed the dog, but didn’t realize the dog was stuck in the car until the dog started making noises.

Unable to remove the dog, they had to drive 250 miles to the nearest town to get the dog out. After freeing the dog, they took it to a nearby veterinarian who checked the dog over and said other than some scratches and bruises, the dog was completely unharmed.

The driver of the car felt that it was fate that put the two together and decided to adopt the dog. The driver, known as only Mr. Zhang, describes the dog as his “best friend” – what a story!” ~ Three Million Dogs

Asia Moore
Author & Dog Whisperer
80+ dog breed books & counting!

Pothead Poodles?

Marijuana2-300x284What do you think about the following article that recently appeared in Reuters?

“A Nevada lawmaker proposed a bill in the state legislature on Tuesday that would grant ailing pets access to medical marijuana.

The measure, put forward by Democrat Tick Segerblom, would let owners obtain the drug for their animals if a veterinarian confirmed it ” may mitigate the symptoms or effects” of a chronic or debilitating medical condition.

The proposed bill also includes provisions related to medical marijuana use among humans, including new regulations for dispensaries and dropping penalties for motorists found driving with the drug in their system.

The proposal comes as a growing number of U.S. states have relaxed marijuana laws. Nevada is one of 23 states where medical marijuana is legal, and voters have approved the drug for recreational use in four states and Washington, D.C.

Public opinion has also shifted dramatically toward legalizing marijuana in recent years. Some 46 percent of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.” ~ (Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

How does the above jive with the animal poison hotline which states that Marijuana is poisonous to our dogs and cats? 

Our fur friends can be adversely affected just by the second hand smoke, let alone when curious pets eat products that irresponsible owners leave lying around. The poison hotline indicates that a pet suffering from THC poisoning should be taken for immediate medical treatment.

I would certainly not want to subject any fur friend in my care to the long list of adverse side effects associated with inhaling the smoke or eating any products laced with THC that could cause death, and which the Pet Poison Helpline says include:

•    Severe depression
•    Walking drunk
•    Lethargy
•    Coma
•    Low heart rate
•    Low blood pressure
•    Respiratory depression
•    Dilated pupils
•    Coma
•    Hyperactivity
•    Vocalization
•    Seizures

Perhaps this Nevada lawmaker is more concerned with soliciting votes of the Mary Jane public by appealing to those who also have pets in the home.

Asia Moore
, Author & Dog Whisperer
75+ dog breed book and counting!

Stray Dog Revenge!

straydogrevenge3-500x413“You don’t kick a dog and get away with it.

At least not a stray dog with several friends who’ve got his back!

When a man came home to his apartment in southwest China and found a stray dog sleeping in his parking spot, he kicked the dog, parked his car as usual, and went inside.

The dog, having had his sleeping spot taken and been kicked, walked away – or so it seemed to a neighbor who witnessed the exchange.

But, a short time later, the dog returned, with a couple of friends in tow, and took revenge on the man’s car.

And, it’s awesome. See? They even ripped off the windshield wipers!

In all, the dogs did hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in damage to the dog-kicker’s car.

We hope he learned a lesson.

Think twice before hurting an animal.

None of the dogs have returned to the scene since destroying the car.” ~ Dogington Post (photo by Rex)

^..^ Asia Moore
Author and Dog Whisperer
P.S. “Helping prevent many particular dog problems,
no matter what the particular breed”.

(75+ dog breed books & counting!)