Did Dogs Come From Wolves?

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Dogs were probably the first tame animals. They have accompanied humans for some 10,000 years. Some scientists assert that all dogs, domestic and wild, share a common ancestor in the small South Asian wolf.

Today humans have bred hundreds of different domestic dog breeds—some of which could never survive in the wild. Despite their many shapes and sizes all domestic dogs, from Newfoundlands to pugs, are members of the same species—Canis familiaris. Although they have domestic temperaments, these dogs are related to wolves, foxes, and jackals.

Domestic dogs still share many behaviors with their wild relatives. Both defend their territories and mark them by urinating on trees, rocks, fence posts, and other suitable sites. These scent posts serve notice to other dogs that an animal is occupying its territory.

Many pet dogs also bury bones or favorite toys for future use, just as their wild relatives sometimes bury a kill to secure the meat for later feasts.

Dogs communicate in several ways. Scent is one method, another is physical appearance. Body position, movement, and facial expression often convey a strong message. Many of these signals are recognizable even to humans, such as the excited tail-wagging of a happy dog or the bared teeth of an angry or threatened animal. Vocally, dogs communicate with a cacophony of sounds including barks, growls, and whines.

Domestic dogs serve as more than companions; many earn their keep by working hard. Dogs herd livestock, aid hunters, guard homes, and perform police and rescue work. Some special animals even guide the blind—a poignant symbol of the dog’s longstanding role as man’s best friend.

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Adopting a Disabled Pet

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Naki’o lost all four paws and the tip of his tail to frostbite when he was just a puppy. After being nursed back to health at an animal rescue center, he met veterinary assistant Christie Pace, who was looking to adopt an animal who needed help. When she saw Naki’o, she knew he was The One.  She adopted him at eight weeks old and immediately launched a fundraiser to get prosthetics for his back legs.  He did so well with the back leg prosthetics that Orthopets, the company that made them, also furnished him front leg prosthetics for free.  Now Naki’o enjoys life to the fullest and can walk, run, play and even swim!  Just look at that big smile! See more of Naki’o on his Facebook page.

This is a story that demonstrates very clearly that there is a loving home for all pets. No pet should ever be euthanized in an animal shelter because the pet has a disability. Rescue – Recycle – Relove.

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USA National Spay Neuter Law

Mexico City New Law Requires Dog And Cat Sterilization and Microchips.

Do you think this should be considered in the USA as well?

Mexico City has passed a new law requiring that all dogs and cats be microchipped and sterilized. ‘Potentially dangerous’ dog permits will also be required for breeds considered aggressive; such as, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Mastiffs. Dogs permitted as “potentially dangerous’ cannot be walked in public without a muzzle, the Associated Press reports.

Mexico City pet owners, breeders and veterinarians are actively protesting the law which additionally mandates registration (licensing) of all cats and dogs, according to the Associated Press.

The Mexican Dog Fanciers Federation said the law was rushed through in early May without adequate consultation. Veterinarian group and breed clubs are arguing the law could endanger thousands of jobs at clinics, pet salons and breeding and training facilities by causing a sharp drop in pet numbers, according to HNGN.

The most controversial aspect of the law, of course, is the requirement that all pets must be sterilized. Mexico City, with nearly 9 million people, has a serious problem with strays, puppy mills, animal mistreatment and illegal pet sales, the AP reports.

The law is not yet formally enacted but is definitely designed to establish a new level of responsibility for animals and reflects a changing attitude that caused Mexico’s middle-class to spend $2.2 billion on pets in 2013.

The law also requires that collars are worn with visible ID tags, that dogs are leashed in public places; and adequate food, water and space is provided for owned pets, according to the AP.

Two other requirements designed to increase animal and public safety are that trainers cannot work with pets in public, and children under 14 will not be allowed to walk pets without an adult being present, the report states.

CULTURAL CHANGES IN MEXICO REGARDING PETS

An owned dog’s life in Mexico has traditionally consisted of days chained to the roof of the house, says Newsday.

Mexico has an estimated 20 million dogs or more, many of them roaming the streets hunting for food in the trash or spending their days shut up in apartments by owners who see them simply as living burglar alarms.

Last year, the problem gained international attention when authorities said five people had been killed by a pack of feral dogs in the Cerro de Estrella park in Iztapalapa, a poor eastern neighborhood of Mexico City.

LAW INTENDS TO ADDRESS PUPPY MILLS AND ILLEGAL SALES

“The decision to sterilize pets should be voluntary,” said Juan Luis Martinez, administrative director of the Mexican Dog Fanciers Federation.

Breeders who claim to be “legal” say the law violates an owner’s right to breed animals responsibly.

By forcing legitimate facilities out of business, puppy and kitten breeding in the hands of unscrupulous dealers who sell animals out of car trunks or from crates at street markets the AP reports.

Martinez told the AP that the law’s requirements, including fines from about $100 up to as much as $5,000, could encourage noncompliance and lead people to dump more animals in the street and parks.

What do you thinks about this. Should we consider it in America? ….Yes or No?

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What Are Eco Green No-Kill Animal Shelters?

It’s quiet here, even through the hum of activity sun and fresh air stream in. People walk in and out, greeting each other, bending down to pat heads and smile at the little ones. Welcome to the  21st century  no kill animal shelter.
Green BuildingTo the casual observer, an animal shelter may not seem like much of a design challenge: a structure that safely houses stray animals for subsequent adoption.  But start to consider the details of the building. It must hold different types of animals, in differently sized pens, for variable lengths of time. It should be accessible to the public and welcoming to volunteers while maintaining strict health and safety standards. It has limited staff and resources but must relentlessly promote adoption. Day-to-day operations require basic medical capabilities, laundry facilities, storage, and quarantine areas. It must not be too big (causing unnecessary maintenance and staffing demands) or too small (causing overcrowding and/or excessive distress to the animals).

“Because of their unique services, animal shelters must have the disease-prevention components of a hospital, the functional capabilities of a police station, and the user-friendly appeal of a library, ” said Geoffrey L. Handy with The Humane Society of the United States.

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Historically, shelters have gotten little architectural consideration. The prototypical shelter — a concrete building with individual chain-link kennels — reflects this inattention. Many of these structures were built-in the 1950’s and 1960’s and provided few areas for play, enrichment and human attention. This utterly utilitarian approach reflected the mentality that shelters are mere holding facilities.

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Over the following decades, public attitudes toward animal welfare, low-cost spay/neuter policies, and responsible pet ownership evolved. Euthanasia rates dropped from around 24 million pets in 1970 (around 81 percent of those entering shelters) to 6 million (around 58 percent of those entering shelters) in 1996, but shelter directors wanted to drop that number further. They began to think about how facility design could enhance their mission by boosting adoption numbers and creating a better experience for both animals and visitors, and a few architects recognized an opportunity to influence the effectiveness of these organizations from the outside in.

Group (or pod) housing is a newer development with a big, direct impact on the quality of life of shelter dogs. It can take many forms — from modestly sized rooms or kennels that house two to three pups, to shared play spaces that allow caregivers to control how much time dogs spend together and apart. Isolated housing is still used, as it can be beneficial in certain contexts, like with newly admitted dogs undergoing medical or behavioral evaluations.

The Humane Society of Silicon Valley (HSSV), a shelter in Milpitas, CA, recently constructed a new facility (pictured above) they call an “animal community center.” There, temperamentally compatible dogs may be housed in small groups once they pass their medical exams and behavioral evaluations. They live in “real life”-type rooms with proper doors and occasional furniture, which acclimates them to scenarios they will find in new homes when they are eventually adopted. The rooms are designed to insulate noise effectively, reducing stimulation from outside commotion. This isn’t only beneficial to the dogs; it also has a huge impact on visitors, who are no longer overwhelmed by cacophonous howling. Functionally, the real life rooms mean the dogs have less casual exposure to the public, so volunteers are trained to facilitate visits and give potential adopters the tactile experience of meeting the dogs.

While shared, real-life rooms have their advantages, for many shelters they are not an option due to budget, space or staff limitations. For those cases there are other design solutions.

Dr. Kate Hurley is the program director for the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis. She advocates dog runs (housing one or more pups) split into two sides by a guillotine door. These runs give shelters greater flexibility. Dogs can be grouped in compatible pairs in the runs, with the doors left open to allow more space to run around. Or, if and when it makes more sense, the guillotine door can be lowered to keep dogs separated. This solution is useful for shelter staff as it facilitates quick and sanitary cleaning protocols, allowing kennel attendants to isolate dogs on one side of the run by closing the door while they clean the other side, minimizing disease contamination. The guillotine door can also be raised and lowered to manage structured play and quiet time, as well as during feedings, to minimize food guarding between pups.

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Kennels that are divided into two areas — whether real-life rooms or more typical runs split by guillotine doors — have an important added benefit to the dogs’ well-being and stress levels. By creating a space for the pups to eliminate apart from their sleeping and eating area, shelters promote good bathroom habits. A canine has such a strong urge to separate its eating and sleeping space from its elimination areas that, according to Dr. Hurley, around 75 percent of all shelter dogs — even strays — will do this given the opportunity. According to Hurley, this significantly reduces stress and supports a desired behavior once the dog goes to its adopted home.

Additional kennel features create an environment that is easier to clean, manages odors better, and helps control disease. Sealed concrete flooring, for example, saves significant amounts on heating and cooling bills — funds that can be funneled back into animal care. High-density coatings for interior walls and floors withstand pressure hoses and detergent better than other finishes. Kennel areas with plenty of windows that bring in as much natural air and light as possible help reduce odors and create a healthier and more soothing experience for both the animals and their visitors. Observation/isolation rooms with self-contained ventilation systems allow ill dogs to be treated without jeopardizing other members of the population.pet park USA

Better design doesn’t just help the dogs who live there but it’s also beneficial for the people who visit, volunteer, and work at the shelter.

For staff, play and rest areas that keep dogs more comfortable and stress free help create a calmer and safer work environment. Hutchison observes that “real-life rooms, well-designed kennels, and other features help volunteers and staff work with animals in a non-threatening, comfortable environment.”

Facilities that are cheerful, light and welcoming also create a more pleasant experience for visitors who are turned off by the “sad factor” of entering a shelter, expecting to find dogs in prison-like conditions. Kennels with home-like furnishings or enough space for chairs, for example, allow people to interact with the animals more easily and feel comfortable taking the time they need to get to know their potential new companions.

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Facilities that are pleasant to be in also naturally attract increased volunteer interest. Jeanne Wu, vice president of human resources and volunteering at HSSV, says that the number of volunteer hours given to the organization has grown 40 percent, from 53,000 to more than 74,000, since it moved to its new facility two years ago. The number of volunteers has also increased, by about 50 percent. HSSV values these hours at about $1.5 million per year — an incredible boon to the organization. Wu explains that HSSV, which has 95 full-time staff members, could not maintain optimal levels of socialization, care, and adoptions without altruistic help. Bill Hutchison feels the same way, “Volunteers enjoy being a part of such a progressively designed facility. Having a variety of design functions that address the needs of animals in many different situations is important to volunteers who know that animals in shelters have unique needs.” A dedicated volunteer room with lockers for personal items and a place to sit down, socialize, and relax supports morale and makes the shelter a fulfilling and comfortable place to spend time.

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While designing a shelter that includes enriching features can cost more money, certain elements may save money over the long-term through energy savings, an increase in volunteer numbers and/or hours, or reduced medical expenses. Through the design and integration of better systems for disease-management and stress reduction, UC Davis’ Hurley sees shelters slowly shifting from being primarily adoption centers to places where prevention happens. One day their focus may even transition from finding homes for surrendered pets and strays to providing services — such as low-cost training, behavioral hotlines, and workshops to troubleshoot problems with neighbors or landlords — to help keep animals in their homes, thereby avoiding the shelter system entirely.

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One day we will see no-kill state of the art green movement animal shelters across America –

All things can happen if you believe and if you work towards them.

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