The Loyalty of Dogs

This week saw the unspeakable horror of yet another senseless shooting, this time a terrorist attack at Canada’s National War Memorial on Parliament Hill. Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed. A single father and animal lover, he is dearly missed.

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(mail online)

His dogs still faithfully wait at home for a master who will never return:
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1414099987317_Image_galleryImage_Dogs_peek_out_from_under_
(mail online)

These pictures are heartbreaking. They capture the sense of loss and grief over this tragedy. Dogs have been called man’s best friend for a reason, their love and loyalty is without bounds. I hope these dogs will be treated well and taken care of now.

Our thoughts and prayers are with this family and Canada,
– Fizz

You can see more pictures from the horrific incident at The Daily Mail.

Can Your Pets Catch Ebola?

Have you heard enough about Ebola recently?

There is a lot of press coverage out there, but it is important to keep up to date on new findings and information. And while Ebola is very dangerous to people, there is not much information about how much danger our pets are in. The CDC states that while the virus can affect certain animals (it only mentions African fruit bats and monkeys here specifically), pets in the US are not at significant risk. The CDC is continuing to research how Ebola affects domestic animals and release guidelines in response.

Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transferred from animals to people. It is possible that Ebola outbreaks in Africa were, or sometimes are, caused by a spillover event where a human comes into contact with an infected animal like a fruit bat or primate. This is only a theory. It is currently unknown if there is one specific natural host animal, but scientists lean towards infected fruit bats consumed as food by humans as a likely candidate. Primates in Ebola stricken areas have also shown signs and symptoms of Ebola, and should be avoided when symptomatic. None of this information means that domesticated pets will be affected the same way.

Studies have found that domestic goats, horses, and guinea pigs infected with Ebola remain asymptomatic or develop only a mild infection. There has however never been Ebola found in wild populations of these animals. I am guessing the above animals were infected on purpose for the study of the disease rather than this information coming from a natural encounter with them.

At this point, there have been no reports of dogs or cats infected with Ebola or of such animals spreading the disease to humans and other animals. Limited studies show dogs may be able to become infected and produce antibodies, but there is no evidence of them passing it on. This has however resulted in a lack of standards for dealing with animals in the homes of those who catch the disease.

In Spain, a nurse caring for an Ebola patient came down with the disease and her dog Excalibur was taken from her home and put down even though people were protesting the decision.

Excalibur:
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(inquisitor)

Here are some protesters:
excaliburprotest
(dailymail)

This is an easy way for the government to “reduce risk,” but it is unfair to the family, the dog, and from a scientific standpoint. These few cases are a chance to really see what the risk to pets are in a controlled way. Keeping Excalibur alive would have been an invaluable contribution to the study of Ebola’s risks to domestic dogs. Did he have the disease? If he did, could he pass it on? How long would he have remained infectious to others? These are the questions that we need to answers to. And if he never came down with the disease he could have gone back to his home and lived a full life.

In the US, of the three Ebola infections I only know of one who had a dog. Luckily, people here are willing to take a wait and see approach and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley is in quarantine.

Bentley:
bently
(nypost)

Recently he began undergoing tests to see if he has the disease or not, all while being safely kept away from other people and animals by the City of Dallas Animal Services and Texas A&M University emergency veterinary team at an undisclosed location. All workers caring for he dog wear layers of personal protective equipment.

Playing with his caretakers:
download
(US News)

Now that Bentley is in the testing phase it will be known soon whether or not he has Ebola. If not, his quarantine period will end at the beginning of November.

Hopefully cases like Bentley’s will make it possible to answer the necessary questions so pets can be handled correctly at a scary time when we want to do everything possible to make sure no one else catches a deadly disease. The more information the better, and hopefully further research will prevent tragedies like the loss of Excalibur.

– Fizz

Sources:
NBC News – Ebola Patient Nina Pham’s Dog, Bentley, Enters Testing Phase
CDC – Questions and Answers about Ebola and Pets
Forbes – Can Dogs Transmit Ebola?

Historic Scottish Vote

Will the people of Scotland vote to become an independent country? Only time will tell as the polls are closed!

Even animals are getting in on it!

Scottish Terrier wearing a Yes bandana:
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(Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

Llama by a Yes sign in a field:
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(Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

More dogs, one wearing a Union Flag and the other the Scottish Saltire:
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(Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

Good luck to Scotland no matter the outcome, it is amazing to see a people mobilize to vote for what matters to them.

-Cola

You can see more photos relating to the vote on The Telegraph.

Lassie and Luna at Strut Your Mutt

Sorry for the lack of posts recently! The human took a break due to the loss of a friend, and we didn’t think it pertinent to write without her. But, we are back with an exciting picture!

Lassie, the Collie of tv and movie fame, and Luna, a Boston Terrier star in the new movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness,” appeared at the Best Friends Animal Society’s fundraising walk Strut Your Mutt in California.

Here are the two dog stars together!
lassieluna

Luna is making appearances to help promote “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” The movie is about a psychiatrist, Simon Pegg, who is searching for the true meaning and formula for happiness everywhere he can look. Luna is the dog star of the movie. Other human actors are Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, Jean Reno, and Christopher Plummer. “Hector and the Search for Happiness” opens September 19. You can find out even more from the movie’s Facebook page.

Lassie is out and about making appears to reestablish her name and prominence in the public eye. The human is dictating another post all about Lassie’s return which will be on FT in the near future.

Strut your Mutt is a fundraising event that happens all over the country to raise money for local shelters and rescues to help homeless dogs and cats. It was awesome to have two famous dog stars make an appearance for a good cause!

– Cola and Fizz

Goodbye Robin Williams

robinwilliams

He brought so much laughter to the world, and he is missed by so many. Depression is a heavy burden. Even those who seem to have it all together, making others laugh, can really be hurting on the inside. May his sad passing help others who are depressed know that even though they may feel alone, they are not. There are so many people who want to help – family, friends, and even medical professionals. If you are in the US, and feel you have no one to talk to, the National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Goodbye Robin Williams, may you rest in peace.

SDCC 2014 My Little Pony Funko Exclusives

Good news to everyone who couldn’t get a ticket to SDCC and is interested in getting the Funko My Little Pony exclusives, there is a chance you can buy them online!

DJ Pon-3
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Spitfire
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Gemini Collectibles, a large Funko seller, has the two listed on their website for $25.99 each: DJ here and Spitfire here.

Last year Amazon had the two SDCC exclusive ponies for sale, but I don’t know if that will happen this year as they are not available there yet. If you are really interested in these two check out Gemini!

– Cola and Fizz

No Triple Crown This Year

Did you watch the disappointing Belmont Stakes race? For another year there is no Triple Crown winner.

Tonalist won:
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(BostInno)

It was clear that California Chrome just didn’t have what it took to make it to the end. He finished a very disappointing 4th. Was it the injury he sustained to his foot? Did he really just not have the power? And more, what of his owner’s attitude on the loss? The first and second place horses were both fresh to the competition and had placed the same way at the last race they both ran on the same course. Sure, it would be quite a different race if no new horses competed for these three races. It is much different to push a horse so much in so few weeks while having them compete with fresh animals who have experienced no such stress. And while that might be a way to see more Triple Crown winners, the sport has never been that way. If a horse can manage with all the stress and competition they are truly worthy of their title but if they only raced only the same horses it would be less of an accomplishment. I think the words of Chrome’s owner have overshadowed Chrome’s actual accomplishments and place a negative light on the whole thing. We must lose with grace and dignity, and it isn’t like Chrome is done earning them money. They are probably set, and Chrome will never be anything less than a champion.

– Fizz

Animal Friendships: Mr. G and Jellybean

Have you seen the news story about the goat Mr. G and the burro Jellybean?

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(Animal Place)

Mr. G and Jellybean were rescued from a neglectful owner in Southern California who kept them in a tiny pen without shade and with little water and food. However, the rescue did not make them happier. The animals were separated and taken to different rescue centers. Mr. G was healthy but perplexed staff when he lied down in a corner of his enclosure and refused to move or eat for six days.

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(Animal Place)

The staff at Animal Place quickly realized that he was grieving the loss of his female friend Jellybean and decided to do something about it. One of their volunteers drove for hours to retrieve Jellybean from the rescue center she was at and brought her to Mr. G. The goat instantly brightened up, acted excited, and soon began to eat again. Watch the video below to see how excited the friends were to be reunited. Mr. G and Jellybean will never be separated again!


(Animal Place/First Spark Media)

This story demonstrates that animals do form friendships, or at least bonds strong enough to deserve to be called friendship. Mr. G was willing to go without food, possibly to starve to death, over losing Jellybean. I admire the animal sanctuary workers who took it upon themselves to make the situation right and reunite the pair.

Animal Place is a sanctuary in California that rescues farm animals from all types of farming situations (which they house and/or adopt out) and to educate the public about these animals and their needs. They have a 600 acre sanctuary in Grass Valley CA and a 60 acre animal shelter in Vacaville CA. The sanctuary in Grass Valley is a forever home for rescued animals and a great place to visit. You can go see the approximately 300 animal residents and learn about what happens to many animals in the farming industry (they do promote a vegan lifestyle, so be aware that they don’t support animal farming in any way for food). The animal shelter in Vacaville is called Rescue Ranch and there they rescue, rehabilitate and then re-home farm animals. They focus on chicken rescue by working with egg farmers to provide a life for chickens after they stop laying instead of slaughter for meat. This shelter is not open to the public. Animal Place fits into a unique place to help animals that previously had few supporters. Check out their website for more information or pay them a visit if you live in or will be near Grass Valley CA.

-Fizz

Dolphin Tale 2

Dolphin Tale 2, the sequel to the first movie about Winter the tail-less dolphin, will be in theaters September 19, 2014!

Dolphin_Tale_2_Movie_poster
(wikipedia)

Here is the preview:

Another Dolphin Tale movie?!? The first movie was very inspiring, and I expect the same of the second. The original featured the story of Winter the dolphin who lost her tail, the people who went to great lengths to save her, and those who were inspired by them all.

Dolphin Tale 2 will also have Winter in it, but will feature the story of another rescued baby dolphin named Hope. Both were rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and both can be visited there! It is also the principle filming location for the dolphins. Winter played herself in the first Dolphin Tale and will return for the sequel. Hope will also play herself in the upcoming movie. More amazing still, Hope came to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during the wrap up of the Dolphin Tale movie. She was injured and separated from her mother, found in same area where Winter was previously discovered.

Here is Winter without the prosthetic tail designed specifically for her:
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Here she is wearing the new tail:
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(Barcroft Media)

And here is Hope with Winter – Hope is the one with a full tail:
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(DEMASKE/Times)

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie!

If you live anywhere near Clearwater or are going their for vocation maybe consider visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to visit these two dolphins!

– Cola

Also, if you have not seen the first Dolphin Tale I highly suggest it. Inspiring and heartwarming.

Cloning Your Pet

If money were no object, would you clone your pet? While cost is the most limiting factor at the moment, and it seems only South Korea is providing the service now, as science and technology move forward it will become cheaper and maybe even common place.

We here at FT love pets, LOVE them. People do crazy things for their pets, spending so much money to get them, keep them happy, treat them when sick, and more. But cloning? That may be going too far.

There are so many unknowns. Will the pet act the same way as your old pet? Just because a clone is genetically the same as your old pet does not mean they have the same memories or experiences, will learn the same tricks, or even have the same personality. So much is dependent not on genetics, but on how a pet is treated and what they experience. Therefore, they may never be the “same” as your beloved pet in the way you expect and that could be much more off-putting (and potentially heartbreaking) than actually getting a different pet. Even with all that, would you take the chance to maybe get your pet back or keep the same pet forever?

The story which prompted this post is Britain’s first cloned dog.

Here is “mini Winnie” – the puppy which is a clone of the dachshund dog Winnie:
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Mini-Winnie-3390200

Mini Winnie is a clone of Winnie, a 12 year old dachshund created in a lab in South Korea. Sooam Biotech will clone a pet for 60,000 pounds, or about $100,000 us dollars. Winnie’s owner saw a contest where you could enter to win a clone of your dog, she sent in a video about she wanted Winnie to live on, and everything went from there. The process (very simplified) involved taking a skin sample from Winnie, which was stored in liquid nitrogen and flown to South Korea. Her cells were then transplanted into donor eggs from a different dachshund and electricity was run through them to make them embryos. The embryos were then placed into a surrogate dog womb. Mini Winnie’s owner flew to see her after she was born, but due to quarantine laws Mini Winnie must wait 6 months before flying to Britain. Only time will tell how much Mini Winnie is like Winnie.

The first Winnie:
The-original-Winnie-3390204

— Cola

These pictures are from the original story in the Mirror.

You can read why Winnie’s owner wanted her cloned here.