Bites From Emotional Support Dogs Are On The Rise

 

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For people suffering from severe Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Fears/Phobias, and more, simple everyday tasks prove a daunting challenge. Such activities as shopping, driving, and simple socializing are ones that people suffering from these disorders tend to avoid. In an attempt to recover and live a balanced, normal life, those with severe mental impairments who are working with licensed mental health professionals are sometimes given a letter of authorization for an Emotional Support Animal.

With the help of an Emotional Support Animal, (and for this post an Emotional Support Dog) a human being in suffering is able to perform these basic daily tasks in addition to or in lieu of medications (for example, Xanax for Panic Disorders) which is why many health professionals encourage their use.

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However amazing our canine friends can be, not all are suited to be placed in situations Emotional Support Animals find themselves in. As a result, more and more cases involving dog bites from Emotional Support Animals are developing.

In a recent case, an Envoy Air flight attendant was bitten by such an animal and required 5 stitches as a result.

In 2018, an Alabama man was “mauled” by an emotional support animal on a Delta airlines flight. The man’s injuries were so extensive that he was immediately taken to the emergency room, and required surgery. In the man’s own testament, he had just taken his seat in the plane when the dog began growling at him. Within minutes, before the man had time to even fasten his seat belt, the 50 lb dog lunged at him and began attacking the man’s face. Even after being pulled off of the man, the dog freed himself and attacked again. Having been seated in the window seat position, the man had no choice but to withstand this traumatizing torment.

Dog bite wounds. (Photo courtesy Alexander Shunnarah & Associates)

Dog bites should be taken very seriously. In minor incidents, infection and psychological trauma can occur. In extreme cases, the bite of a dog can end the life of a full grown man given the strength, size, and breed of the dog and location of the bite.

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Teeth of a Great Dane

The Canine jaw is a massively dangerous structure. Everything about it has been developed over the centuries to ensure fatality of prey.  The strong, precise “fang” teeth are curved in such a way that no victim be able to pull themselves away during a bite. The sharpness of a dog’s teeth combined with bite force (such as in Rottweilers, who have a bite force of 328 lbs of pressure) are enough to snap bones and tear flesh.

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The reason I am being so detailed is because it is imperative that people understand the science and biology of the canine, the problem that is occurring, how true of a societal dilemma this issue really is, and how to potentially prevent dog bites from happening in the future.

 

 

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8 month old German Shepherd jaw

 

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As a result of Emotional Support Dog bite cases, many companies around the world are being forced to change their policies on service/support animals in order to maintain public health and safety.

However, the RESPONSIBILITY FALLS on the DOG’S OWNER and the LICENSED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL who authorized the release of the animal in the general public.

An Emotional Support Animal is not a Service Animal by definition. Therefore the animal is not legally required to go through the rigorous training and development that a typical Service Dog undergoes.

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As a result of this lack of development, an emotional support canine is not always able to comprehend and react accordingly in varying types of or stressful situations (like being on an airplane.)

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Service Dogs are highly socialized. Their strict training and socialization often begins at critically young stages in the dog’s life, making them accustomed to differing social cues of varying human beings and other animals thus allowing the dog to behave in an accordingly acceptable way in society. Without this intense, early socialization, a dog often becomes unfamiliar and afraid in stressful social situations that may lead to a bite. It is lame-brained to assume that a socially-challenged individual can create, train, and develop healthy social standards in their dog.

Although the benefits of having an Emotional Support Animal for an individual in suffering are monumentous; it cannot come at such a cost that another human being is put into a traumatic suffering as a result.

It would be logical that a Licensed Mental Health Professional review and meet with a dog before granting a letter of authorization for Support. It would further serve a great justice that the dog be evaluated by a Dog Behaviorist or Trainer before awarding such merit.

If for any reason, an owner of an Emotional Support Animal doubts the dog’s ability to maintain public safety, it is imperative that a Dog Trainer be sought out or a reevaluation of wellness goals be performed. A dog that has bitten is subject to euthenization in many states. Therefore for the best possible achievement of goals for all peoples, great care and consideration must be exercised when implementing an Emotional Support Animal.

The American Kennel Club provides guidelines to ensure Service Dogs remain upstanding citizens. One of these requirements is that the dog always be put first in a sense that it is always well-groomed, and in good health. Great example must be taken from the AKC guidelines, since an unhealthy or stressed Service Dog, may bite. (We are assuming the dog is unknowingly aggressive and simply experiencing stress as a result in these bite cases.) If you are not sure whether your dog is exhibiting signs of stress, click this link to identify signs of stress in your dog.

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If the owner of an Emotional Support Animal wishes to be honored, respected, and treated as an equal to a Service Animal, it is obligatory that they adhere to some measure of equal standards.

We cannot rely on companies, corporations, and governments to solve this dilemma for us. The most likely result would an absolute ban on Emotional Support Animals. We are able to resolve this problem ourselves, with a little bit of foresight and consideration for all animals and peoples sharing our world today.

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The Miracle Aquarium

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Although the number one household pet in the world is the dog, which is then followed by the cat; Fish head up the number three spot.

Many research has been done in the past decade on the health benefits of household pets, and much information has surfaced in the world of the fish.

So much amazing information has been found in fact, that medical offices, dental offices, therapeutic service professionals, and more, are considering utilizing these benefits in their everyday practices.

A 2004 study revealed that emotions such as fear, anxiety, and depression in patients sitting in waiting rooms before their medical exams, were lowered by 12% when an aquarium was present in the waiting room.

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One study in the UK proved that watching an aquarium reduced people’s heart rates by 7% and their blood pressure by 4%.

Furthermore, the benefits of a fish tank are proving to be beneficial for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. In one scientific study, having an aquarium present increased the appetite of dementia patients by 25% and reduced behavioral outbursts, along with increasing attention span by up to 30 minutes.

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Just about every person in the world, regardless of age, medical condition, status, color, or creed, can benefit from owning an aquarium. Scientists have narrowed down the natural ability for water to calm and relax the human brain.

The sound of running water alone, provides a harmonious landscape for the mind to tune into.

Scientists have identified as well the various colors and the number of fish in each tank, are a factor in easing the human psyche. Is it the vibrant colors that take our attention away to such a degree that we no longer can focus on unpleasant thoughts? Or the fact that so many various types of fish can seemingly coexist with such ease that we, as human beings, can only wish to acheive in our daily lives?

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Is it the smooth, effortless movement that fish exhibit, that our brains identify and possibly hopes for, so that our own lives could be lived so effortlessly as well? Is it the lighting in the tank provides an ambiance of peace and tranquility that can fill a room? Is it that we can harness nature in our own homes?

Even the movement of artificial seaweed can be hypnotic. The colors and textures of the rocks display the sharp contrast of two different elements working together in true prosperity.

For whatever the reason, our human senses can tune into the magic of an aquarium with so many natural, overlooked, newly-discovered benefits that remain unique to each individual, and remind the human spirit to take time out of their day to enjoy the synchronicity and beauty in life.

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Arctic Animals Are Dying; Here’s What You Can Do About It

The Arctic Circle is home to 5,500 species of animals. Many of which cannot survive in other types of terrain and currently are barely surviving now, in their home terrain.

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A severely malnourished Polar Bear

Scientists have been warning us for decades about climate change and the effects of global warming. At this current date, little to no changes in human behavior have occurred.

As the human population grows and continues to turn a blind eye; more and more natural wildlife die.

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Baby Harp Seals like this one are getting crushed by melting ice and drowning in shifting waters according to National Geographic

The planet Mars is a perfect example of what will, not can but will, happen if climate change is not halted. Mars is believed to have once been a twin to the planet Earth. Although somewhat smaller in size, evidence shows that the once green, water filled planet’s atmosphere was stripped away and left vulnerable to the sun’s radioactive waves. If you’ve never seen Mars; here’s a picture:

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Mars. It has polar ice caps too, but all life has been stripped from the planet.

 

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Chances are the people reading this, are genuinely kind, caring, and animal-loving individuals. Therefore, you all most likely already get the point.

I know that it’s hard to change. I know there are some small fears that prevent us all from becoming something or someone different. Having a car is necessary, for many of us. Having electric light bulbs in our houses, again, is a necessity. However, small, painless changes can be made. And the result of every small, painless change, will mean another arctic animal gets to live.

Here is what we can do NOW, to break the cycle:

Carpool: I know it’s weird at first, but I stumbled on the majesty of the concept. My neighbor and I get along. We ride together almost everywhere, or we walk if we can. What began as a kind of awkward thing at first, eventually became a really good friendship.

Use Public Transit: It’s often cheaper than filling up your tank of petrol/gasoline anyway!

Ride A Bike: You don’t have to be Lance Armstrong about it. But on occasion and if the situation fits; why not? Your doctor would probably be happy to hear about it.

Walk if you can

Use Renewable Resources: Solar power, wind power, Hydropower, etc. All of these not only can provide fuel for your lightbulbs but heat as well. Where I’m from, we have ONE power company with one ring to rule us all, and honestly, just being able to stick it to them makes me want to buy some solar panels! Although incredibly expensive at first, they definitely pay off in the long run. (solar panels are becoming super affordable now)

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Plant a tree: check out the Arbor Day Foundation to find out more

Grandma’s Adage: Unplug your appliances, Turn off lights that aren’t in use, line dry your clothes if possible; all that stuff that Grandma would tell you to do

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“Turn off the lights and eat your vegetables!”                 Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There are so many more things you can do that I have not listed like, buying electric cars or hybrids and growing your own crops.

One of the greatest producers of carbon dioxide (the stuff that’s eroding our atmosphere) are actually cattle farms. Vast amounts of land is taken up by herds of cattle used for human consumption. Not only do the animals themselves generate large amounts of carbon dioxide, but the practice and process is borderline inhumane in it’s own right. So TRY to eat less meat. I can’t say go Vegan because I myself would never be able to do that BUT balance is key. Make sure you’re getting your proteins to keep your body healthy but have the awareness that there are other ways of getting protein as well.

Arctic Animals are not the only species at risk because of global warming. They are simply the precursors. The omen. A clear sign of what will happen to the earth if we don’t stop.

We can all do something about this. No matter how seemingly small, or “on occasion” it is.

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Horse 101: Hands

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In the equestrian world exists an odd yet very common term. It is a method of measurement used in determining a horses’ height. The term used to describe the height of a horse is called, “Hands.”

Much like feet, inches, and meters; “Hands” hold their own specific value. Many people know that 12 inches equals 1 foot.

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But what exactly is a Hand? Is there any common measurement that can be used to explain a “Hand”? Does it literally mean the actual length of a hand? And whose hand!? A child or adult sized hand??

1 Hand = 4 inches (10.16 cm)

This is the standard equation of explaining, in universal language, what a Hand equates to.

When written on paper, the measurement will look something like this:

15.2 hh

Which denotes a horse that measures 15.2 hands

Turning Hands to Feet:

A horse that measures 5 feet 2 inches, will be described as 15.2 hands.

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An Equine measuring stick

Historical Hands:

Historically, horses were a big deal in many cultures. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Celts, and more, all rode horses as a means of survival. Horses were used for hunting, transport, and much more.

The system of trade and marketplace was no different then than it is today. The trading and buying of goods have long been an essential part of almost every person’s life.

Many attempts were made to standardize a measurement of horses since they became one of the most traded and needed by many nations and cultures.

Although some methods of measurements varied from the width of four fingers by the Egyptians, to the length of a man’s fist by other cultures; it wasn’t until King Henry VIII of England, created the first world-wide standard. The standard that he created, is the standard unit of measurement we still use today.

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The Hand measurement system is only used in the equestrian world. In fact, to determine whether a pony is a horse or a horse a pony; the hand measurement is a definitive classifier in determining which is which.

A Pony will always be classified as a pony when it measures less than 14.2 hands (hh). Anything larger than that, is a horse.

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Gov’t Ends Wolf Protection Act

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The U.S. Congress has passed a bill which permanently strips Wolves from all federal protection laws, such as the Endangered Species Act and more.

“This final, pathetic stab at wolves exemplifies House Republicans’ longstanding cruelty and contempt for our nation’s wildlife,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Gray Wolves, Timber Wolves, Arctic Wolves, and more, are being cast aside for seemingly no reason. Without the help of the federal government’s protection laws, wolf populations are left susceptible to human beings. A population which had previously been driven to near extinction in the past, until laws such as the Endangered Species Act stepped in.

To sign a petition urging congress to reverse the bill, click here.

 

Scratch and Sniff

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

– Patrick Suskind

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The Wolf is the king of the canine world. Believed to be the grandfather of all of today’s dog breeds. The wolf is a finely tuned instrument for survival, that brings melody to the chorus of the earth. One of the reasons wolves are able to stay alive, maintain a community structure, and adapt to sudden changes in their environment, is their sharp sense of smell. A wolf is able to smell its prey from 1.75 miles away, and with such precision in their ability to smell; how could any domestic dog compare to it?

As brilliant as the wolf is in detecting scent, one breed of domestic dog may very well be superior; the Bloodhound.

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Bloodhound

The earliest record of Bloodhounds date back to the 3rd century a.d., making the Bloodhound breed just about as old as Christianity.

A large but docile breed, the Bloodhound’s ability to trail a scent is extremely reliable. So reliable in fact, that any evidence a trained hound presents, can be accepted into a court of law in the United States.

In the early 1900’s, one notable Bloodhound named Nick Carter, was once able to pick up a scent trail over 105 hours (approx. 4 days) old. Did the trail Nick picked up lead to the criminal? Yes it did. Another amazing Bloodhound was credited for over 600 criminal convictions. Not only can a Bloodhound find a scent that is older than tomorrow night’s dinner leftovers, they can also follow a scent trail for miles. Over 130 miles to be exact.

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What makes these dogs such amazing aroma warriors? The Bloodhound has 300 Million scent receptors, which is more than any other domestic dog breed.

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Dogs and Wolves have a greater ability to perceive scents than human beings

Canines are able to perceive scent so easily due to their greater capacity to detect and store scent information.

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Scents can paint an incredibly vivid picture for Wolves and Dogs. A quick sniff of a patch of grass can tell the animal very specific details of identity, if the scent is of a male or female, friend or foe, how long ago the animal was there, and even if the animal was sick or injured.

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Scent from mammals can be picked up via sweat, which can be excreted from an animals paws, body, and even ears. An animals anus, genitals, and mouth, are also areas that excrete personalized smells.

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Specific chemicals and molecules are released from an animal’s sweat, urine, blood, saliva, and even hair; which give personal identification to an exact individual identity. Canines are able track an animal even in the snow, due to an animals ability to release sweat through its paws.

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Not only are dogs and wolves able to perceive smells more descriptively than a human beings, but they also dedicate a larger portion of their minds to cataloguing and storing the information that these smells provide. The region of the brain that is committed to scent is 40 times larger in the Canine brain than in the Human’s.

Canines also posses an organ that humans do not. An organ called, the Jacobson’s Organ. Which is located at the bottom of the dogs nasal passages. This organ is used for detecting pheromones, which are another type of chemical particle that is designed specifically for communication between animals of the same species.

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The long, pointy muzzle of the Wolf helps to channel scent for a longer period of time as it makes its way to the animal’s receptors. The long, floppy ears and wrinkly skin of the Bloodhound help funnel and trap any scent that may escape the nose.

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But which canine earns the title of Scent Champion? Who has the better sniffer? The Wolf or the Bloodhound?

Although animals can be naturally amazing and continue to surprise us with behaviors and acts that wag their finger at nay-sayers; Science provides us with the fact that, Bloodhounds, having 300 Million scent receptors, are superior than a Wolf’s, who has only 280 Million receptors. However close these numbers are, the Bloodhound comes in for the win on who has the best Canine sniffer.

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Animals In Entertainment: The Roadrunner

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The Road Runner was introduced to T.V. screens in 1949 in a short film called “Fast and Furry-ous,” along with his long-time rival Wile E. Coyote. The duo continued to enjoy life on the silver screen from that point on until the 1980’s.

The creator of the Road Runner was a man by the name of Chuck Jones, who worked for Warner Bros Studios. Jones also created beloved characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Pepe Le’ Pew, Marvin The Martian, and more.

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The Road Runner and his foe Wile E. Coyote

Jones already had the Wile E. Coyote character in mind, based off of a Mark Twain description. “The coyote is a long, slim, sick, and sorry-looking skeleton.” “… He is always poor, out of luck …”

All Jones needed now was a partner. Every character he had previously created had one. Bugs Bunny (inspired by cigar smoking Groucho Marx) had Elmer Fudd, and Porky Pig had Daffy Duck. What better foe for a skinny, starving coyote than a native, flightless bird who he can never catch!

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Chuck Jones had a very specific set of rules that he kept himself to when writing each set of animated episodes. For example, “Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote’s greatest enemy,” and “The Road Runner must stay on the road, for no other reason than that he is a Roadrunner.”

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The Plymouth Road Runner car, built between the years 1968 and 1980 in the US, uses the Warner Bros. character as a notable emblem on their models. As the story goes, one Saturday morning while watching cartoons with his children, the Chrysler-Plymouth design planning analyst Gordon Cherry, realized that the Road Runner always manages to elude his nemesis Wile E. Coyote. Cherry then realized that this was the exact kind of image Plymouth had been hoping to cultivate when planning their next muscle car design.

Plymouth paid Warner Bros. Studios $50,000 to use the cartoon character. Warner Bros. earned $10,000 as well from Plymouth when they created a “beep beep” horn that resembles the iconic character’s soundbite.

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The Geococcyx californianus and G. velox species also known as Roadrunners, can be found in Mexico, Central America, and Southwestern U.S.

The cartoon Road Runner’s creator was not far from reality when depicting the character. One of Jones’ rules after all was that, “All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters- the American Southwest.”

Although in every cartoon episode and per Jones’ Rules, the Coyote would never be allowed to catch the Road Runner; According to wildlife experts, a coyote can actually run faster than a Roadrunner. Since coyotes can reach a speed up to 43 mph, the Roadrunner’s 20 mph limit would mean the end for the Roadrunner.

The Roadrunner has unusual X-shaped footprints which Native Americans believed could ward off evil spirits.

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The Greater Roadrunner is a monogamous species who keeps the same mate for life. Which can help to explain why after each escape from the Coyote’s grasp, he comes back for more.

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