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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The Mainely Pets Foundation

It is rare to find individuals who genuinely enjoy their jobs. Those who wake up everyday with a sense of duty and with a keen, open eye for the next step in their pursuit of their passion. As rare as these individuals are, it is even more rare to find people who dare to take that passion further.

For a small group of Veterinary Doctors in Maine, providing outstanding care for every animal that came into their office, simply wasn’t enough. The sense that more could be done in helping animals and their owners, became a powerful driving force that did not go unheard.

DVM Oonagh Wack

 

DVM Brian Graves
DVM Douglas Andrews

 

So in August of 2017, DVMs Oonagh Wack, Brian Graves, Doug Andrews and a handful of other individuals, created a non-profit foundation.

This foundation brought together their passion, committment, and talent for veterinary medicine. With their collaborative minds they created a very unique organization.

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They recognized that more animals are in need of medical care than just the ones that come into their exam rooms. They also recognized that not every one is able to afford that medical care for their pets in need.

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Their process is incredibly simple. With approval of a submitted application, Mainely Pets Foundation will help pet owners and rescue groups, cover the cost of medical care.

If you have found yourself in a tough financial situation, and your animal needs immediate medical care; do not let your pet suffer and please reach out to this organization.

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Bubba

I’m sure most of you remember Bubba from my “Tips From Bubba” series.

Bubba had a tremendously painful gum disease which caused him to experience pain all day and night and especially when he ate. Bubba’s pain was so bad that he immediately would turn away when offered food. The cost of care to even begin correcting his Stomatitis was tremendous. That was where Mainely Pets Foundation stepped in.

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Bubba asks for fresh water from the tub faucet shortly after his mouth surgery

If you live in the state of Maine in the US, and are in need of financial aid for your pets medical care, you can submit an application request by clicking this link.

To donate to this amazing foundation and help them to continue helping pets like Bubba, click here.

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If your pet needs help, please reach out. There are other foundations similar to Mainely Pets in the U.S., that can help residents off all states. The Pet Fund is one example. There are also MANY foundations country-wide, that aim at covering spay/neuter costs. In fact, that number is so great, I would not be able to list them all in this post, so if you’re animal is in need of spay/neuter help, call a local veterinarian in your area or a local animal shelter who will be able to tell you more.

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Lakes Custom Creations

Lakes Custom Creations is a budding new business that combines lifelong passion and experience in woodworking and customizations, along with a love for pets.

Started by husband and wife, Jason and Kate Lake, Lakes Custom Creations makes unique products geared towards pets.

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Raised bowls with built-in food storage  

Each product is handmade in Maine and primarily uses Maine pine when building each product. Hardwoods can be used at a higher cost. 

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Standard templates can be used should a person want a more standardized look, however customization is an option as well. Customization can include specific sizing measurements and decorative painting or personalizations such as pet’s names.

Although pet products are not the only thing that they can make. Additional products include signage,

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kitchen racks, festive decor, and more!

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“We can make just about anything out of wood.,” says co-founder Kate Lake. “In fact, our motto is: Let your inspiration become our creation.”

More products can be found here in this Etsy link.

Shipping is not included in the price of the product and is paid for by the purchaser. It is for that reason that products can be shipped anywhere across the globe so long as the purchaser is willing to pay for shipping costs.

Please be aware that if being shipped outside of the U.S., it is common for arrival delay due to the Customs process when entering/exiting countries.

Click this link for Lakes Custom Creations Facebook page. Also, orders can be placed directly via email at lakescustomcreations@gmail.com. To receive a 10% discount on pricing, mention that you saw it here and give the code FFF10 when placing your order.

Animal Abuse In America

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I have anxiously awaited the writing of this post. Although many statistics, information, and ideas come about with this subject, I’ve postponed writing until the right words could shine through.

Chances are, the people reading this are not the ones abusing and neglecting animals. However, those reading this are still impacted by animal cruelty. The disgustingly horrific photos and videos that are seen on television, the internet, and in the news, often leave animal advocates and animal lovers disheartened. There is no harsher feeling than seeing an animal being tortured, knowing that animal abuse exists, and having no idea what to do about it or where to go.

Here are things that everyday people like you and me can do to help prevent and potentially stop animal abuse.

ANIMAL ABUSE IS:

The legal definition of animal abuse is the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death onto a tame animal, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous that the animal has suffered, died, or been put in imminent danger of death.

Animal abuse is commonly known as cruel acts and neglect. Psychological terror and torment is also a form of animal cruelty, for example: the constant creation of fear by the owner to the animal.

Physical abuse such as burning, cutting, using excessive force on an animal

Psychological torture such as routinely performing an act which knowingly creates fear for the animal with the intention of scaring the animal (for example: holding an animal out of the window of a moving vehicle.)

Neglect, such as withholding food, water, shelter, basic grooming needs, or medical care (often found in hoarding situations)

Are all forms of animal cruelty.  

 

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Below is a chart defining the frequency and types of REPORTED animal abuse cases in the United States in 2013.

 

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A quick mention on obesity in the US: A stagggering number of American pets are obese. Although this is not a direct form of abuse or neglect, obesity can and often does create many health challenges for the pet and can and often does, limit the animals life longevity, and health. Routine exercise is an essential need for many animals.

THE PROFILE OF AN ANIMAL ABUSER:

Animal abusers find all kinds of different and sick ways of harming an animal.  For whatever illogical reason, these types of people do not see anything wrong with their actions or behaviors. Common traits include:

  • May perform acts of cruelty or torture for religious, cultural, or artistic reasons.
  • Most likely have psychological/ personality/sexual disorders. Antisocial personality disorder in particular revels the highest incidents of intentional animal cruelty according to Psychology Today.
  • Likely to be impulsive, selfish, controlling, attempts to be intimidating, and shows great lack of remorse
  • May have been a victim of violence themselves or have been witness to violent/abusive acts
  • Highly likely to be domestic abusers as well. 71%- 88% of abusers were abusive towards spouse and/or children as well
  • Predominately men under 30 years old and women over 60 years old

 

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Example:

A woman you work with often comes to work bruised. She admits that she and her children are a victim to domestic violence by her husband. Given the woman’s testament, would you consider her dog to be safe in the household as well?

WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT:

Learn the signs of animal abuse.

Notice your surroundings and environment on a daily basis. Some signs of abuse and neglect are quite evident. However be careful in drawing assumptions.

Example: “Every time I drive home from work, I notice my neighbor’s dog outside. The dog is outside from the time I drive into work and from the time I drive home.”

The owner may have brought the animal indoors between these two times, however since you are at work, you are not able to see that fact. When presenting an accusation of animal cruelty, it is imperitive that your observations/facts be concrete enough to stand up in court.

Gather evidence if possible.

Create a record or log documenting what you see on a daily basis, the animal’s location,  health condition (skinny, dirty, mange-like, etc), living conditions (no shelter, living in feces, etc) Take photos if possible. In general, it is not wise to confront the animal abuser yourself. Law enforcement personnel are trained to deal with situations such as this, because remember; animal abusers may also be violent towards human beings as well.

Don’t be afraid to speak out against the abuse

Even if it means continuous phone calls to law enforcement or someone else of authority. Even if they don’t seem to care (they could be animal abusers as well) Keep placing complaints, making phone calls, and advocating for the animal.

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If your local authorities are not being responsive, call:

PETA at 757-622-7382 or,

the Animal Humane Society at 612-772-9999 email: investigations@animalhumanesociety.org

Call your local animal shelter

In some U.S. states such as New York and Texas, dialing code 311 will put you in direct contact with someone who can help with animal cruelty.

If you are witnessing animal cruelty as it is happening and the animal’s life is in imminent danger, call 911.

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IN THE UK:

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If you have viewed animal cruelty on the internet, click here to report it. You can also click here. You may need the direct video link when reporting or in some cases, the IP address of the website. In order to assist law enforcement, this link allows for easy look-up of the website creator’s contact information.

Be active with your local animal shelter

This seems a very after-the-fact avenue and for the most part that is true however the local animal shelter is where many neglected and abused animals end up. Many of these shelters are non-profit and depend solely on contributions made by their community to care for their animals. Help the relief effort by volunteering with your local shelter or providing donations if possible.

Encourage tougher animal cruelty laws in your local legislation

Which could mean organizing a citizens’ initiative/petition or writing your local representative and advocating for tougher animal rights laws.

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Right now in Denver, CO, efforts are being made to legally prohibit convicted animal abusers from ever owing an animal again. Similar legislation exists in California.

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Although many US states have felony laws for animal abuse, SOUTH DAKOTA is one of the US states WITHOUT felony-level animal cruelty laws.

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Education

Educating youth on proper animal care can prevent animal abuse in the future.

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Not everyone understands that animal abuse is NOT okay. 

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The Alaskan Malamute

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Photo cuterstesy of nextdaypets.com

The Alaskan Malamute is a working dog which had been bred to perform specific dog sledding tasks. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the breed began. However, upon Russia’s discovery of Alaska in 1741, tales of the “Alaskan Arctic Sledge Dogs” arose.

Mushing (dog sledding) was and sometimes still is a necessary method of transportation in the arctic circle and frozen tundras of the world’s northern landscapes. Without roads, vehicles, access to gasoline, and intense ever-changing weather, sled dogs were the only opportunity for Alaskans to provide transport, gather resources (food and supplies), trade, haul heavy freight, and network with other Alaskans.

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The native Innuit, Mahlemut tribe (now Malamutes) of Alaska, were the first peoples to be seen “using dogs to haul sledges.” Their dogs were described as affectionate, beautiful, fine, powerful looking, enduring and tireless by the white people who came across them.

Photo curtesy of alaskanmalamute.org

The Alaskan Malamute became recognized as its own breed in 1935. Many dog sled racing records are held by Malamutes as opposed to similar breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed and Eskimo dog who would engage in racing tournaments as well.

The Malamute is typically wolfish grey with black or white, with white being seen on the underbelly, legs, feet, face and sometimes forehead. Although rare, an all white Malamute can be seen as well.

Malamutes are considerably denser than other sled dog breeds. Their coats are often heavier, and bodies are more hefty and heavier. They are deep-chested and have a smooth gait, with a large, fluffy curled tail.

Their average height is around 23- 25 inches and can weigh between 75 to 85 lbs. Malamutes typically have brown eyes and are not to be confused with their blue-eyed cousin the Husky. Their dense, heavy coats make them unsuitable for warm climates, and require a lot of up-keep since they will produce a tremendous amount of hair when shedding.

Overall, the Malamute is a highly intelligent, friendly and affectionate breed that is well-suited for colder climates. Due to their breed origin, they may require a moderate to high level of activity and exercise.

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Lassen County, CA

High Desert Wolves Rescue is a non-profit animal “sanctuary” in Northern California. However the owner of the organization was brought to trial for “puppy mill” charges earlier this year. According to lassennews.com, the dogs were kept in cages their entire lives and were not socialized. Furthermore, many of the dogs and puppies had parvo virus and distemper.

 

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Photo from High Desert Wolves Facebook page

A seemingly small breath of relief came when hearing that the dogs and pups were taken by authorities however that relief is short-lived. With the local government refusing to release the animals to any rescue groups for adoption, many of the dogs face euthanasia.

Change.org has published a petition for folks to sign, which would encourage the municipality to release the dogs into the care of rescue groups and prevent euthanasia. Click here to sign the petition.

There is also a gofundme account accepting donations to help with the cost of care and transportation of the animals for rescue attempts. To donate, click here.

Please help spread the news.