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Snippets and Bits

Are kisses from your small dog good for you?The jury is still out on doggy kisses
Studies vary in their conclusions as to whether kisses from your dog are beneficial or detrimental. Our take on it? If you're healthy, your dog is healthy and your dog hasn't licked anything disgusting lately, you should be good!

Dogs love reggae and soft rock!
Music soothes dogs!The BBC reports that a recent study by the Scottish PCA and the University of Glasgow shows that dogs prefer reggae and soft rock over other genre of music, showing the highest positive changes in behavior. Like people, though, dogs have individual tastes in music. But perhaps you'll want to play soft rock during the next thunderstorm!

Dogs can go prematurely gray too!
Dogs can go prematurely gray too!According to a study conducted at Northern Illinois University, dogs, as well as people, can go prematurely gray when stressed. The study included 400 dogs at 4 years or younger, with non-white hair. Photos were studied of dogs' muzzles at different periods, and owners were surveyed about various stress factors. So I'm going to have to do something about stress in Tango's (left, at about 4 years old) life!

Jagermeister saved!
Life Jacket saves dog lives!(5/16) Jagermeister, a Jack Russell Terrier, was lost at sea for three long hours in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa, FL. His owners were heartbroken. They returned to port, not knowing what happened to their best friend. A group of boaters noticed what they thought was a buoy but as they came closer they realized it was a dog! They picked up Jagermeister and notified the Coast Guard. A happy reunion was held soon after they returned to shore. Thank goodness for Jagermeister's life vest! (

We always knew they were smart!
Pop-up London barAccording to the New York Post, a pop-up bar in London will feature specially-trained German Shepherd Dogs serving draft beer for one night only! (Photo credit Splash News.)

Dogs de-stressing at some airports
Some major airports are "hiring" dogs to help relax stressed-out pasengers, according to USA Today. Apparently both the people and the dogs are loving it!

Alaskan Maltese Finds Lost Wallet
Lady Bunny, a tiny Maltese in Juneau, Alaska, found a garbage truck driver's wallet June 18, 2014. The driver couldn't believe such a small dog found his wallet! (reported by the Juneau Empire,

New Jersey Pet Seatbelt Law
A proposed law in New Jersey is being debated that would make the driver of the car pictured to the left engaging in an illegal act! If the law passes, motorists would be required to restrain animals in seat belt-like harness if they're not being transported in a crate. Fines could range from $20 to $1,000! (Huffington Post, 9/21/12)

Maggie's Little Library
In Madison Wisconsin, a former librarian who lost her beloved Bernese Mountain Dog to cancer at age 5 1/2 found a unique and wonderful way to memorialize her best friend - she established a little lending library in a local dog park! (Reported by Isthmus the Daily Page, 9/6/12)

Shaun White joins the small dog club!
Seen recently at an outdoor cafe in New York City, Shaun White, better known for winning Olympic snowboarding gold, had a new friend on his lap. The adorable pup did not seem interested in Shaun's beverage. What a good dog! (Reported by 6/12)

Dogs have been man's best friend for a really long time
Carbon-dating of a dog's skull found in Siberia indicates that dogs have been man's best friend for more than 30,000 years -- over twice as long as previously thought, the Arizona Republic reports. The newspaper points to a pair of research papers, one most recently by a team that includes the University of Arizona, that significantly push back the timeline for domestication of dogs from about 14,000 years ago to more than 30,000 years ago. Slightly older dog remains were identified in Belgium a few years ago by a separate research team. The two findings indicate the process of domestication was occurring in separate regions at a time when early humans, including Neanderthals, in Europe and Siberia were small-group hunter-gatherers. (1/12)

All Small Dogs may have Middle Eastern origins
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have discovered that a gene found in all small dogs is closely related to one found in wolves in the Middle East. The team took samples from grey wolf populations around the world and compared their genetic markers to those in small and large dogs to find the link. One of the study's leaders, Dr Melissa Gray, says there was a striking similarity between the gene variant found in small dogs and the variant found in the Middle Eastern grey wolf. The study has been published online in the journal BMC Biology (2/2010).

Dog or Cat Person?
CNN reports 1/13/10 on a study led by psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas at Austin. About 4,500 participants answered questions that measured their personality inclinations in five areas: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. "These five dimensions have been shown in previous research to encompass most personality traits. They also indicated whether they considered themselves cat people, dog people, both or neither. It turns out that the "dog people" -- based on how people identified themselves, not on what animals they actually own -- tend to be more social and outgoing, whereas "cat people" tend to be more neurotic but "open," which means creative, philosophical, or nontraditional in this context. Dog people scored significantly higher on extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness measures, and lower on neuroticism and openness than cat people, the survey found. The effect persisted regardless of gender of the respondent."

Boston Terrier to the Rescue!
In Pompano, Florida a Boston Terrier saved her owner from an attack. A man posing as a repairman entered the victim's home and attempted to rape her. The victim tried to fight back but her little dog, a Boston Terrier, bit the man on the shoulder and chased him away!

What's Your Little Dog's Name?
After years of tracking the most popular names for pets, Veterinary Pet Insurance set out to find the most unusual cat and dog names from among its insured. Check out these most unusual dog names:
Rush Limbark (who enjoys listening to the conservative radio talk show host)
Sirius Lee Handsome
Low Jack (a corgi mix with very short legs)
Peanut Wigglebutt (a dachshund who shakes her tail so hard she falls over)
Scuddles Unterfuss

Americans Elect Poodle as Obama's Family Pet

The American Kennel Club reports August 28, 2008, that in its poll to find the Obamas their perfect family pet, the Poodle came in as top dog over the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the Bichon Frise, the Miniature Schnauzer and the Chinese Crested. These breeds were nominated for their characteristics of hypoallergenic coat, child friendly, moderate energy level, and stable and social temperament. Poodles come in three sizes, are smart and athletic. The Poodle is currently the eighth most popular breed in the US.


Russian Monument to Space Dog

The Chicago Tribune reported April 12, 2008, "Russian officials on Friday unveiled a monument to Laika, a dog whose flight to space more than 50 years ago paved the way for human space mission." The monument is near the military research facility in Moscow that prepared Laika's flight to space on Nov. 3, 1957. It features a dog standing on top of a rocket.

Company-sponsored Pet Sitting

According to the Chicago Tribune, October 15, 2007, the latest benefit offered by some employers is professional pet-sitting and dog-walking services. Great idea! Something to mention at your next review!

New Zealand Hero Honored

A statue of George, the heroic Jack Russell Terrier who saved a small boy from an attack by 2 pit bulls and died of his injuries in April 2007, was unveiled in his hometown in New Zealand. George has been nominated for an award for bravery. George's owner is pictured with the statue, to the left.

Daisy found a bone!

The U.K. Telegraph reports that Daisy, a miniature wire-haired dachshund, found part of a fossilized leg bone from a giant woolly mammoth during her daily walk on the beach in Suffolk. The 13in bone is believed to have been uncovered by heavy seas that battered the Suffolk coast and washed away sand that may have covered it for centuries. Daisy's owner, who has contacted the British Museum about Daisy's find, said, "Daisy looked quite pleased with herself, even though it was far too heavy for her to pick up."

A real-life Chihuahua hero!

In Masonville, Colorado this July, Zoey the Chihuahua proved to be a hero when she saved her owner's grandson from a rattlesnake bite. Zoey was bitten, and it was touch and go for a while, but she's going to be OK! Credit Zoey for an unbelievable act of bravery!

Imitation is not just for humans!
A fascinating study recently confirmed what we dog owners have known for a long time - our little friends are more intelligent than many people give them credit for. The May 15 issue of Current Biology described an experiment that indicated that dogs decide how to imitate a behavior based on the specific circumstances in which the action takes place.

"The fact that the dogs imitate selectively, depending on the situation - that has not been shown before," said Friederike Range, of the University of Vienna, who led the study.

Range trained Guiness, a female border collie, to push a wooden rod with her paw to get a treat. Most dogs prefer to use their mouths to perform a task, but when a group of 21 dogs watched Guinness perform the task with a ball in her mouth, and then were asked to do it themselves, about 80 percent used their mouths to push the rod and get the treat. That suggested the dogs decided Guinness had no choice but to use her paw to get the treat. However, when another group of dogs watched Guinness press the rod with her paw without holding a ball in her mouth and then performed the task, about 83 percent imitated Guinness' behavior! That suggested they concluded there must be a good reason to act against their instincts!

Doggie Vending Machine
In Dallas, the White Rock Lake Dog Park now offers all the essentials - chew toys, balls, pick-up bags, collars, leashes and treats from a vending machine right in the Dog Park! Prices run from $1 to $5 with 10% of the proceeds going to the Park. The vending machine is the brainchild of Carlotta Lennox, a fashion model and inventor, dreamed up after one too many nights of running to the store for dog food.

Dogs and Thier Owners Stretch Yoga's Limits
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune described a recent yoga class in Bellevue, WA offered by the local Humane Society. The yoga instructor, Brenda Bryan (who also teaches regular human classes), says the dogs react to the gentle energy in the room. In Bryan's class the humans do traditional yoga poses while staying in contact physically with their pets, using them mainly as props. For example, in "downward facing dog" the person rests his or her head on the dog which is lying at the head of the mat.

Mixed Breed Test
Ever wonder what breeds combined to create your little wonder? Mars Veterinary will launch a DNA-based test that will analyze your pup's DNA against more than 19 million DNA markers acrosss more than 13,000 dogs and 100 breeds. Mars will provide a report 2-3 weeks after sample submission that includes the dog's breed analysis and information on the appearance and behavioral characteristics of the detected breeds.

Tiny Dogs have Different Gene
According to National Geographic News, "Researchers have identified a variation in a single gene that plays a key role in making small dogs small. 'The best way to describe the role of the gene is, it's like the 'reduce' button on a Xerox machine,' said lead researcher Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute's Cancer Genetics Branch in Bethesda, Maryland." Results of a study performed by 20 scientists at 8 institutions will be presented in the journal Science, out April 6, 2007.

Children Reading to Dogs
From the Stamford, CT Times: "For youngsters who are a little shy about reading, Samantha may be the perfect teacher. She's non-judgmental, doesn't make corrections, and sits quietly until the story is finished. Samantha is a licensed therapy dog, who will visit the Ferguson Library with her handler Friday, April 20 to listen to children read. Samantha's visit is part of the Children Reading to Dogs program, conceived by Therapy Dogs International, Inc. [TDI], a volunteer organization dedicated to bringing trained therapy dogs into nursing homes, hospitals and even schools and libraries â€â€ where they can connect with people in a friendly, loving way. In the reading program, children and dogs bond together over a shared story. The children's confidence and reading skills grow in a relaxing environment. Kids also develop a positive appreciation for dogs. It's simple and sweet."

Yorkies No. 2 in AKC Ranking
The Yorkshire Terrier overtook both the Golden Retriever and the German Shepherd Dog to become the second most popular purebred dog in the US in 2006, according to the American Kennel Club registration figures. The Labrador Retriever is still the most popular, though. But in Oklahoma City the Yorkie reigns supreme! In Salt Lake City, the Shih Tzu remains in the top 3; in Atlanta the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Miniature Schnauzer are in the top 10; the Havanese is rising quickly in popularity in Manhattan at number 6; the Boston Terrier is at number 9 - cracking the top 10 for the first time; the Dachshund broke the top ten in San Jose; and the Chihuahua is number 2 in Phoenix.

Different Coat Color = Different Personality
A recent study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science determined that the color of dogs' coats reflects their personalities. As an example, golden-red English cocker spaniels exhibit the most dominant and aggressive behavior; black English cockers second most aggressive; and white dogs with patches were more mild-mannered. The connection is probably due to related genetic coding that occurs during the pup's earliest life stages, according to study's lead author Joaquin Perez-Guisado, a researcher in the Department of Medicine & Animal Surgery at Spain's University of Cordoba. Of course, while genes control coat color and appear to predispose behavior, how a dog is raised plays the biggest role in behavior.

Valentine Candy News
The New England Confectionery Company (NECCO®) has gone to the dogs (cats, goldfish and birds) this Valentineâ€â„¢s Day season! The 2007 edition of Sweethearts® Conversation Hearts, an iconic part of Valentineâ€â„¢s Day for more than 100 years, pays tribute to Americaâ€â„¢s pet-loving ways with 10 new animal-inspired sayings, including, "Cool Cat," "Puppy Love," "Take a Walk," "My Pet," "Bear Hug," "Top Dog," and "Purr Fect.""

What's in a Name?
The New York Sun December 28, 2006 reports: New statistics compiled by New York City's health department show that Max is the most popular dog name of 2005, followed by Lucky, Princess, and Rocky, and a mixed breed the most common canine variety.

Midge is Official!
December 20, 2006, WKYC-TV reports that Midge, the tiniest police dog, has passed her certification test and is now a full-fledged K-9 drug detecting dog in Ohio. Her boss and trainer, Geauga County Sheriff, Dan McClelland, is ready to take the small dog anywhere they need to go for the job. Midge has shown up in newspapers and magazine articles as far away as Switzerland and China. Some of her fans even send her gifts like a camoflauge vest, hand painted portraits, and scarves. The little crime fighting dog is so popular that she has her own trading cards. The Sheriff's Department has already handed out five thousand "Midge" cards. It's very clear that Midge is a star. Fan mail for Midge can be sent to:


Pampered Pets in Ancient Peru
National Geographic News reports that archeologists recently found a thousand-year-old Peruvian cemetery where more than 40 mummified dogs were buried alongside their owners. The dogs were in separate plots next to the owners, often with blankets and treats for the afterlife. People have always loved their dogs!

Bill sent to President to protect pets
(from Associated Press) In a bill sent to President Bush September 20, Congress called for emergency preparedness plans that include helping individuals and familes with pets. The bill calls for state and local emergency preparedness plans to make provisions for people and their pets. It grants the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the authority to help state and local governments with those plans. It also authorizes some federal financial help for states establishing emergency shelters for people and their pets.

Downtown L.A. becoming more dog-friendly
An article in the Chicago Tribune the other day chronicles the changing downtown Los Angeles neighborhoods. The demographics are changing to younger, childless residents who have dogs and disposable incomes. The buildings accept pets and have rooms that are open and have concrete or tile floors. Downtown dog owners have even become a cultural and political force. They're often guiding the debates for green spaces and clean and safe streets.

Big Guys, Little Dogs
Being long-time Chicago Bears fans, we were excited to see this picture in the Chicago Sun Times article, "Macho Men, Mini Dogs" recently. That's Steve McMichael with his 5-pound Chihuahua, Chulita. The men don't need to prove how macho they are with a big dog, so they can choose the dogs they really want to live with! Throughout history, big men have had small companion dogs. "Emperors of China kept Pekingese dogs. There are pictures from Greek vases of military heroes walking tiny dogs that would someday become the Maltese breed," said Stanley Coren, a psychologist and authority on the human/animal bond in the 2000 book Why We Choose the Dogs We Do. Indeed, Jack Nicholson had four Shih Tzus and the boxer Sugar Ray Leonard had a Chihuahua.

Drug-sniffing Dogs Get Smaller
The Chicago Tribune had a story August 2, 2006 about Midge, a 6-pound Chihuahua-Rat Terrier mix in Ohio training to be a drug-sniffing dog for the Sheriff Department's K-9 unit. As any owner of a small dog can attest, she has the will, skill and nose of a much larger dog. Other police units are also training smaller dogs.


This AP picture was in the Chicago Tribune April 20 - "Thousands flee rising Danube River. A Romanian listens Wednesday to a news bulletin after she escaped rising waters of the Danube River in Rast, west of Bucharest. Thousands have been evacuated as the river neared record levels in Romania and Bulgaria."

All over the world people who must evacuate their homes bring their little dogs!

Dogs Develop Regional Accents

Dogs will imitate their owners' accents over time, according to researchers who conducted a survey in the United Kingdom using a special telephone survey.

A panel of experts found noticeable differences in all breeds that correlated with where the dogs lived.

"What I did notice was differences in pitch and tone between the different dogs," said Tracy Gudgeon of the Canine Behaviour Centre. "It seems dogs are more able to imitate stronger, more distinctive accents than softer ones. It's one of the ways they bond with their owner."

Among the distinctive barks was a Scottish dog with a lighter tone and a Labrador retriever from Merseyside with a higher pitch than usual for that breed.

The study was conducted by asking people throughout the country to call a "barkline," where they could record a message using their own voices and their dog's bark.

The research was commissioned by Disney to promote the DVD release of "Lady and the Tramp" in the United Kingdom.

'Hypoallergenic' Dogs
No dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic. However, breeds with non-shedding coats provoke fewer allergic reactions because they produce less dander.

The American Kennel Club (New York) suggests several breeds as possible pets for allergy sufferers:
Bedlington Terrier
Bichon frise
Chinese crested
Irish water spaniel
Kerry blue terrier
Poodles (toy, miniature or standard)
Portuguese water dog
Schnauzer (miniature, standard or giant)
Soft-coated wheaten terrier

"These breeds may be just what the doctor ordered for people with allergies," said Lisa Peterson, spokeswoman for AKC. "There are a variety of sizes, energy levels and temperaments, yet all are well-established in their coat type."

Many of these breeds have risen in popularity in the last decade. The Chinese crested ranked 57th out of 153 AKC breeds, up from 73rd. The Portuguese water dog jumped to 69th, up from 86th.

The poodle remains in the top 10. The miniature schnauzer and Maltese are in the top 25, and the bichon frise is in the top 30.

Walking your dog is good for you, too!
A University of Missouri-Columbia study says that having a dog can help people get more exercise and lose weight.

"...we found being responsible for a pet, such as committing to walk a loaner dog, encouraged people who did not own dogs to walk more often and for longer periods of time. Our first study group averaged a weight loss of 14 pounds during the one-year program," researcher Rebecca Johnson, an associate professor of nursing and director of the College of Veterinary Medicine's Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, said.That 14 pounds of weight loss over a year is better than results reported by major weight-loss plans, Johnson noted.

And, AARP reports: "Studies find that pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, along with several other benefits. Armed with this knowledge, the UKâ€â„¢s National Health Services (NHS) is offering patients an innovative way to improve their healthâ€â€adopt a pet. Under the pilot program set to begin next month, caseworkers receive a budget of up to £1,000 per patient to purchase products and services that will improve that individual's health and reduce the number of times he or she requires hospital care. One of the items that may be purchased is a dog."

Making a statement:
"Rally to Rescue" is a new campaign, sponsored by Purina Pro Plan, to support animal rescue and make a fashion statement. Up to 200,000 sets of matching dog collars and wristbands for people are being made available to pet rescue organizations to support their rescue efforts. The purple nylon dog collars have a reflective silver stripe down the center and say "Rally to Rescue." Two sizes are available. The wristbands for people are identical to the dogs collars. The set's suggested price is $5. Rally to Rescue sets are available through local rescue organizations or online at

Travelling in style:
The S.S. Badger, a car ferry on Lake Michigan, has opened the Badger Bowser Boatel, an onboard animal hotel. The boatel has nine kennels ranging in size from 24 to 48 inches, which are free to passengers on a first-come, first-served basis. All pets traveling on the ferry receive a Badger bandana and a treat, and pet owners receive an information sheet on how to make the lake crossing easy on their pets.

"Walkies" are mandatory in Turin

Dog owners in Turn, Italy now face a $650 fine if they fail to walk their dogs at least three times a day, after the city passed new pet regulations. The city has also banned dying pets' fur, docking tails and otherwise "mutilating" animals for aesthetic reasons.

Top 10 Reasons for Vet Visits

According to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company, in 2004 the top 10 reasons their policyholders visited the veterinarian with their dogs were: Ear Infection, Skin Allergy, Stomach Upset, Benign Tumors, Bladder Infection, Skin Infection, Sprain, Eye Infection, Colitis, and Skin Laceration.