Dogs! In the News!

Cloning Dogs

Superstar Barbra Streisand dogs made news recently when she told Variety that two of her pets are clones of her Coton du Tulear, Samantha, who died last year at the age of 14. Their names are Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett. Her third dog, Miss Fanny, is a cousin of Samantha’s.

Barbra StreisandStreisand told Variety: “They have different personalities. I’m waiting for them to get older so I can see if they have her [Samantha’s] brown eyes and seriousness.”

Barbra Streisand

A lot of people consigned this story to the “News of the Weird” file, but it’s a bit more serious than that. Bioethicist Jessica Pierce writes in the New York Times: 

In the recent buzz over pet cloning, the issue has largely been framed as a personal decision, albeit a quirky one. But the decision to clone is not merely personal. There are broader ramifications for dogs, not only for the large group of dogs we call pets but also for a whole canine underclass that remains largely invisible to us but whose bodies serve as a biological substrate for cloning research and industry. Clones like Ms. Streisand’s dogs Miss Violet and Miss Scarlett don’t materialize out of thin air but require the help of a whole team of female dogs. The cloning process begins with a group of dogs that will “donate” their eggs, a process that involves pharmaceutical manipulation of hormone levels and a surgical egg-harvesting procedure. Once removed from the donor dogs’ ovaries, the eggs will be enucleated — the unwanted DNA from the egg donor is wiped clean and the desired DNA from the pet is inserted. If all goes well and the eggs fertilize, they will be surgically implanted into one or more canine surrogate mothers that will carry a litter of cloned puppies to term. After performing their tasks of producing a dog, the worker dogs will be used for another purpose.

Pierce concludes her essay:

[Biotech companies] are selling a dream of never having to say goodbye. But this is an unhealthy dream, both for the dreamer and for those animals whose work it is to produce these clones. The prospect of losing a pet can be unthinkable, but it is inevitable. Why spread the suffering to the underclass of dogs that are forced to do the reproductive work, and to all of us, by making our relationship to dogs all about ourselves?

Dogs Comfort Students at High School

Students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — the site of the latest mass shooting in the United States — were greeted by friendly faces and wagging tails when they returned to school. The Humane Society of Broward County sent a team of canine goodwill ambassadors to bring smiles to people’s faces.

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For the full story check out this report from ABC News, and if you want to help the Humane Society in its mission check out their website here.

Science!

You all know I LOVE to report on science dog news! Scientific studies are the best! Largely because they all seem so… obvious. Usually my reaction is “Hunh. They paid a scientist to figure that out? Any dog owner could’ve told them that.” Here are the results of three recent ones.

Dog Speak

Researchers in England have confirmed that dogs respond better to high-pitched “baby talk.” From the BBC:

During a series of tests, dogs were spoken to in a high-pitched voice and again in a normal adult voice. Researchers then monitored which speaker the dogs responded to and wanted to interact with. PhD student Alex Benjamin said it seemed dogs were more likely to favour the speaker who used a high pitch.

Seriously. How many times do they have to study this? I KNOW I’ve posted the results of similar studies! (Like here, for instance!)

Read more from the BBC here. And here’s a link to the study.

Dog Smell

Researchers in Germany are looking into whether dogs can visualize what they smell. They did a series of tests that indicate that dogs can anticipate what an unseen object is based on its smell. The researchers concluded that “… dogs don’t simply think about the reward they associate with a target smell, they produce a visualization, or mental image, of the target itself.”

I’ve definitely seen this with Bohdi and tennis balls.

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Bodhi Can Smell the Difference

You can read more about this from UPI here.

Dog Danger

Researchers have published the results of their study of the most dangerous animals in the United States.

While snakes, spiders, and scorpions are pretty nasty, you are much more like to be killed by a bee… or a horse… or a dog.

Wilderness & Environmental Medicine reports that over a seven year period 48 people in the US died from snake bites while 272 people died from dog attacks!

Some other info? Seventy-two people were killed by “other animals,” that includes horses, cows, and pigs; four hundred and seventy-eight people were killed by hornets, wasps and bees; no one was killed by a rat.

Here’s more from the New York Times.

Olympian Gus Kenworthy Saves a Dog

We have all read about dog meat farms in South Korea. Lots of rescue organizations stage airlifts to bring meat farm dogs here to the United States.

Add one more good samaritan to that effort…

Olympic athlete Gus Kenworthy recently adopted a puppy from a shuttered meat farm in South Korea after the recent Winter Games there. It’s not the first time he’s helped dogs in the host country of an Olympics. Kenworthy made news at the Sochi Games four years ago when he helped rescue a family of stray dogs there. You can read more about his efforts in his Instagram message below and in People Magazine.

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The Tail: Sled Dog!

This is NOT an Iditarod Sled Dog.

It’s a dog… sledding!

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