Sunday, May 30, 2010


Remember the Underwear Bomber

Posted: 28 May 2010 08:03 AM PDT

Dr. Larry You remember the guy who got on the plane last Christmas and tried to light his underwear on fire? The scary part was that he had some dangerous explosives in his undies that could have blown a hole in the plane. Turns out we should have had a dog sniffing around.

I've written posts on canine olfaction and how sensitive a dog's sense of smell is. According to researchers, dogs can pick up odors in concentrations as low as parts per trillion. A wolf researcher I read about the other day said that wolves can detect a Moose as far away as a mile and a half downwind. They can really smell and this sense of smell is being used more and more to help prevent acts of terrorism.
There is a research outfit called the Canine Detection Research Institute that, among other things, trains dogs to pick up vapor trails of dangerous substances like explosives or related materials. Originally this group was charged with studying the dog's acute sense of smell with the goal of creating a machine that could duplicate the dog's olfactory ability. Sounds like something Halliburton would come up with. Create a machine that costs the tax payer $35 million to do the work of a rescue dog you could adopt for $75. Auburn-University-Veterinary-College-of-Medicine
Fortunately, they found that the machine, while able to some of what the dog could do, could not put it all together. Basically the dog beat the machine hands down. And the dog has other advantages, too. Like mobility and the ability to go into tight spots where machines cannot go. 
The dogs at the CDRI are trained in something called "vapor wake detection". That means that they don't have to smell any particular individual but instead can pick up vapors left in the wake of someone walking through an area.
This is particularly useful where crowds are involved like at sporting events or airports. The dog simply stands and samples the air at bottlenecks like baggage check-in or security lines. They can move through the crowd and pick up odors as people move through. They can even pick up a vapor trail of someone that has moved through an area fifteen minutes earlier and follow it to its source.
And, apparently dogs make terrorists really nervous. Their mere presence has been demonstrated to be an effective physical deterrent to terrorism. 
Back to the underwear bomber. This is precisely the type of individual these dogs could foil. A dog trained in vapor wake detection would have smelled the PETN vapors from the explosive material taped in this guys undies. The various screening devices did not pick this stuff up, but a dog would have. 
I've seen these dogs working at airports. I've seen them sniffing baggage that has been checked and I've seen them hanging around the security lines. I've also seen them at Border Patrol check points getting a whiff of the cars that roll by. 
Frankly, they make me feel safer than the legions of TSA people who seem really good at detecting a tooth paste tube that is over three ounces, or that you forgot to remove your belt. Sadly, they missed the underwear bomber completely. I'd be all for more dogs at airports. That would make flying slightly more fun, a lot more safe and less like torture.


Saturday, May 29, 2010


Spotlight on Amazon Cares and Fixing Fido

Posted: 28 May 2010 07:46 AM PDT

Dr.Larry-Yvonne-Caroline-Tom-BlogPaws Back in April, during the BlogPaws conference (where Dr. Larry spoke), we were lucky enough to meet the good people from Amazon Cares, an organization that seeks to provide better health and living conditions for ALL living beings of the Peruvian Amazon region.

Lest anyone think we Americans shouldn't be focused on the Amazon region, remember that we're a global species - remember that domestic animals can be found in all regions - remember that it takes a village, and you're part of a world village. Their blog can help you remember.

I urge you to visit the Amazon Cares site, make an online donation, read about membership (it's free!) and learn more about how the Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety is a Certifying Organization that nominates and distributes the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. BarkingNews

As all BlogPaws participants know, we are about Be the Change for Pets... we will continue to support our beloved companion animals, everywhere. Often, help is just a click away. This is one click that could be worth millions. Try it... 

See you at BlogPaws West in Denver!

All the Creatures

All the Creatures

Camel Trivia

Posted: 29 May 2010 10:30 AM PDT

Did you know that the camel was one of the animals that originated on the North American continent? Along with the horse (that also originated in North America) they migrated to other parts of the globe over 15 thousand years ago. The camel does not trot like a horse but paces, with both legs on [...]

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

The Days of Johann - an agility dog!

Link to The Days of Johann, an agility dog!

Sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the roses!

Posted: 28 May 2010 04:27 PM PDT

Look what we found on our walk the other day! Wild roses!

We found an entire bush of them on our walk to the mail box. It was tucked way back in the brush (which we are sure was full of ticks), so Mum got back in there instead of us and picked one so we could see it up close.

Oh so fragrant! Sometimes you just gotta sit back on your patio furniture and stop and smell the roses, right? Or in Gracie's case, eat 'em, BOL!

Wishing you a pawsome holiday weekend!!!


Friday, May 28, 2010


The Grumpy Old Ladies' Secret Life

Posted: 27 May 2010 06:56 AM PDT

Shhh.... Mom is out and I have the 'puter to myself! I wanted to share a little out critters!

Nobody knows this so keep it under your hat. Do you wear a hat? I don't. Mom better never try to put a hat on me...or any of those other clothes I see cats and dogs in. How insulting!

Anyway, when nobody is around...I like to play Vicious Vulture!!! I get up on the desk and hang over the edge and wait for unsuspecting prey! (haven't found any yet, but when I do...I plan on pouncing!!!) This is in preparation for when those ferrets return, of course!

Seriously...I'm a cat. I can wait. Forever, if I have to.

p.s. I tried to pull this off early this morning, before Mom got on the 'puter, but she caught me and moved me to the sofa and...well, it is a sofa. Purrrrr...snorrrrr.....


Wednesday, May 26, 2010


A Visit to the Chiropractor

Posted: 25 May 2010 09:16 AM PDT

A-lifetime-of-care Who knew...that chiropractors could also benefit our pets? Almost seems like common-sense but we do know that the differences between humans and pets are nothing to sneeze at. For instance, we must be more responsible with pet food and treats. Our pets are NOT garbage cans...allowing them the table scraps or a bite of our chocolate chip cookie could cause major health issues. (great interview at this link, with Michael Gleason from 1998 - on this topic)

But, what about their aches and pains? Dogs and cats don't come to us whining with that, "I hurt," look on their face for the most part. They endure. Yet, observant pet parents know when Fluffy and Fido are not themselves, and when that limp is more than just a minor twist of the paw.

Enter animal chiropractic - or, having a chiropractor work on your dog or cat (or horse, which is demonstrated in this article from, For animals, an adjustment - where I discovered this idea). According to this article, When to Consider Chiropractic Care for your Pet, by Randy Kidd, DVM, PhD, "...chiropractic works by restoring the spine, the spinal motor units, and joints of the extremities to normal function." The article goes on to describe instances where you might consider this option for your dog or cat, one of them being old age. I wonder how The Grumpy Old Lady would like it? Bull-mastiff-relaxingOne can surmise, I think, that big dogs, like the one pictured here, would definitely benefit from a chiropractor visit.  

In the article, a Dr. Craig Smith is quoted saying, "We're getting more calls about this from animal owners, and from veterinarians as well, but there's not much hard data available." According to the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association horses, dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, birds and reptiles can all benefit from chiropractic care. And, the petstyle article on when to consider this option goes on to note that chiropractic may be used along with acupuncture, massage, homeopathy, herbs, and supplements. Prescribed by your veterinarian, of course.

Anyone out there ever used chiropractic procedures for their pet? I've had it myself and it definitely works...but, I'm up in the air about how it would work on my cat or dog.

All the Creatures

All the Creatures

Did you know that the horse originated in North America?

Posted: 26 May 2010 03:53 PM PDT

How many times have you heard people say that the horse is not native to North America? I bet lots of times. Did you know that it is not true? In the past 10 years more and more fossil evidence has proven that the ancestors of the modern horse originated on the North American plate, [...]

All the Creatures

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

All the Creatures

The idiots guide to aquariums

Posted: 25 May 2010 03:10 PM PDT

The easiest way to have an aquarium is not to own fish. What……not own fish? Yep, that is what I just wrote. You recall the burning yule log DVD that you play during the holidays…..because you don’t have a fireplace? Well there is now an aquarium DVD for people who don’t have a fish tank. [...]




Posted: 25 May 2010 08:26 AM PDT

Larry_McDaniel_front Among my extra curricular activities is working on the governing council of our local charter high school. I do this because I believe in the school's mission of experiential learning and their focus on environmental education.

Last week we spent four days backpacking in the Gila Wilderness using the outdoors as our classroom. Ecology in the field is so much more relevant and that's why experiential learning is so important.

We spent the days studying the flora and fauna and the web of life. We even did a series of complex measurements and calculations to determine the stream flow rate in cubic feet per second or CFS. I was amazed by the knowldege these kids posessed. Not everything you hear about public education is true.
I had a little time off one afternoon and took my fly rod up the Middle Fork of the Gila River for some trout fishing. I hadn't gotten more than a couple of hundred yards upstream from camp when I was stopped dead in my tracks by a five foot Black Tail Rattlesnake coiled, rattling and ready to strike. It's not something you forget easily and I saw three more snakes that very afternoon.BarkingNews
I couldn't help but think about what would have happened if Miles had been along. Labs, especially Lab puppies, are very inquisitive and I'm sure he would have been up in that snake's grill in a matter of seconds. The chances he'd have been bitten are about 90%.
That morning, I was on the phone with the local vet clinics inquiring about the rattlesnake vaccine I've written about here, before. To my amazement, none of them carried it. I then called my friend Heather down in Las Cruces at the Jornada Veterinary Clinic. She said they had it in stock. I also inquired about snake aversion training classes.
She informed me that the local guy that had done the training in the past had moved to Tucson and they were actively looking for someone else. She intimated that the local Quail Unlimited Chapter might have a class coming up for hunting dogs.
Miles is currently due for his annual boosters so I made arrangements with Heather to get those and also the rattlesnake vaccine, this week. We are planning a long trip across the Gila in late June and early July and we'll be in snake habitat most of the time. I wish I had done this sooner as it takes a few weeks to establish immunity. Hopefully, I'll be able to get in an aversion training class before we go. 
After I saw that snake I was really careful moving through the woods and bush whacking to get to the good fishing holes. In fact, I spent lots of time walking right down the middle of the river. When I was up on land, I used my fly rod to shake the grass and bushes ahead of me as I walked slowly through the undergrowth. Having an aversion trained dog along might be a comforting proposition. Kind of an early warning system.
I spent yesterday fishing up on the East Fork of the Gila with my friend, Dutch. I wore my chest waders as a precaution. A snake would have to bite through a lot of material to strike pay dirt. Didn't see or hear a snake all day long. If I'd been wading in shorts and tennis shoes I'm sure they would have been everywhere.
We can get two days from the trail head on some of these trips and I often wonder what would happen if either of us was bitten that far from medical care. In our case, an ounce of prevention is worth a lot more than a pound of cure.


Monday, May 24, 2010


Most Valuable Pet: Bissell Picks a Winner!

Posted: 22 May 2010 09:11 AM PDT

I-better-check-this-blog-post Wow - great breaking mews!!! Bissell has announced the winner of its Most Valuable Pet Contest and she's a beautiful kitty named Gracey. Interestingly, our contact at Bissell, Beth, met Gracey's Mom at BlogPaws East! Small world, huh?

Gracey is featured in a fun video on YouTube (showing a photo shoot and how cats aren't always interested in being photographed!) in prep for being on featured on the Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacuum. Also, as the top winner, Bissell will be giving Gracey's favorite charity, PurrEver Ranch, a $10,000 grand prize donation!

In the third annual contest, the adorable Gracey won out over nearly 50,000 entrants to claim her title ofGracey-MVP-Bissell MVP Grand Prize Winner. Other winners, and runners-up, are showcased on the Bissell MVP Page. I was so taken with Jaime, a Basset Hound who looks so cuddly you just want to shower her with kisses!

You may already know Gracey, the grand prize winner, as the inspiration behind the book, The Tiniest Tiger, and part of the Conservation Cub Club, a feline education and support community.

Gracey was abandoned as a kitty at a local dog pound. She suffers from allergies and digestive issues that require special food, but with the love and care of her proud pet parents, Joanne McGonagle and Paul Dusenberry, Gracey has become a wonderful, playful companion - who enjoys throwing dirt out of a fig tree planter in her home. (in between the tears of realizing what Gracey went through comes laughter and happiness - a true Be the Change for Pets Moment, don't you think?)

The PurrEver Ranch Santuary is a non-profit hospice for senior and special needs cats living with disease or behavior issues. It is one of a very few feline-specific hospices. Read more about it at their site, PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary. (please, please visit the PurrEver Ranch page and help them ... they need to move to a new location!!!)

Jaime, the Basset Hound who won honorable mention has a sweet disposition and loves to eat homemade biscuits. She lost her sight to glaucoma. Jaime lives with her Basset sibling, a Golden Retriever and with her pet parents, Mary Calabray and Wayne Roewer. Her $1000 prize will be donated to Las Vegas Basset Rescue, the org she was adopted from.Jamie-MVP-Bissell-honorable-mention

And so...Bissell, like many brands that you might not think of when you think "pets," shows their commitment to us, pet parents, and to the passionate organizations we support.

Up with Bissell! I'm so glad to be a part of the Bissell Pack of Pet Lovers.