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If you didn’t already believe that dogs are some of the most selfless and loyal beings on earth, you will now. A homeless long-haired Chihuahua and a Pit Bull mix were found roaming the streets of Savannah, Georgia together. What shocked the officials who found them is how they wouldn’t leave each other’s side. The Pit Bull carried the injured Chihuahua everywhere they went, only taking a break to lick the Chihuahua’s infected eye wound.
After the Chihuahua had eye surgery, the two were reunited and were overjoyed to see each other again, “licking, whining, caressing and finally cuddling.” They have been named Joanie and Chachi in honor of their inseparable relationship and extremely close bond. “It’s not every day we get to see such devotion between two special dogs like this,” Animal Control Officer Christina Sutherin said. “They are both such sweet animals. But the relationship they share just sets them apart.”
Emails and social media posts have been flooding into the police department with people asking to adopt the pair and keep them together forever. The SCMPD Facebook page announced that the duo have been officially adopted and will be enjoying their new home in sunny Florida come August. The department said Joanie and Chachi showed extreme excitement when they were told they found a forever home for them together.
“Neither one seems to care about another dog they are exposed to, only each other,” says Sutherin. “They truly appear to be soul mates.”
According to Professor Nicholas Dodman, head of animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine and a regular on Animal Planet’s Dogs 101 and Cats 101, until recently, scientists have generally underestimated the emotional range of animals. He says that today it is widely understood by scientists that mammals do experience primary emotions such as fear, sadness, anger, and happiness and even some secondary emotions like jealously and embarrassment-and they communicate them. Dodman says that dogs even have a sense of humor and laugh with a kind of huffing sound. He describes a study that examines how playing recordings of this laughing sound actually calms shelter dogs.
It’s an expression that disarms possible aggression, much like the human smile.” Cats have naturally bowed mouths, so Dodman says its tricky to pinpoint an actual smile, but they are emotionally sensitive, trainable, and affectionate. Among many other pets, Dodman has enjoyed sharing his home with rats, which he says are “very affectionate and intelligent.” Dodman, points out that your pet might not understand the exact details of your hard day, but you probably sense it is empathetic enough to curl up and listen.
Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado and author of The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Increasing our Compassion Footprint, agrees. “People are often keener observers of animal behavior than they give themselves credit for,” says the leading expert on animal emotions. Bekoff says that scientific research, for the most part, eventually confirms what animal lovers intuit and observe. Part of the lag is due to “studying animals in a box” as Dodman calls it. Dodman, who is giving a series of lectures on dog and cat behavior in November, explains that our advances in understanding the richness and depth of animal’s lives is enhanced by researchers such as Jane Goodall who live with animals in their natural environments.
Bekoff points out that it makes biological and evolutionary sense for animals to experience a range of emotions and be able to show them, just as it does for humans. In a paper published by researchers from the University of Washington on rats, laughter, and joy, the authors describe how young rats vocalize when being tickled. The scientists explain that this laughter is bonding and “may have evolutionary relations to the joyfulness of human childhood laughter commonly accompanying social play.” Bekoff says our emotions might not be exactly analogous to those of animals, but neither are all humans’ emotions the same. “The way two siblings experience the death of a parent might not be exactly the same, but they are both experiencing grief.”
We believe our pets do smile and laugh. Does your pet? Let us know what you think.
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The devastation is hard to process. The photos and video footage from the quake-and-tsunami-ravaged northeast coast of Japan seem too horrific to be real. Some 10,000 people may have lost their lives as a result of the disasters.
And some may still be alive beneath the rubble. But how to find them before it’s too late? Man’s best friend to the rescue…
Yesterday six canine disaster search teams trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation arrived in Japan on another lifesaving mission. These heroic teams have been deployed to disasters around the world, helping find life in the midst of devastation and death.
These teams are extraordinary. The rescue dogs were all rescues themselves. They know how to scope out signs of life and hope better than any human, thanks at least in part to their incredible senses and the tremendous training provided by the foundation. There are currently 74 SDF-trained teams around the US.
The six teams that arrived in Japan yesterday were making their way to Ofunato City at last update. Once there, the dogs will get to work with their handlers.
“All rescue personnel will be awaiting a ‘Bark Alert’ from the dogs, letting them know there is someone in need of rescue. Everything the teams have learned during their intensive training will be put to use in saving lives,” says Janet Reineck, of the Search Dog Foundation. You can click here to see photos of the six teams.
We hope they can steer clear of any possible radiation leaks, and that soon there will be a whole lot of barking going on.
If you’d like to keep up with their efforts there foundation has a web page dedicated to updates. Or follow them on Twitter. You can also make a donation to this excellent organization on the same page. Or check them out on Facebook.
If you’d like other ways to help Japan’s human or animal victims, here are some suggestions:
The Japanese Red Cross Society is trying to get aid to the scene as quickly as possible. Yes, this is for the human victims, but if humans are alive, their pets will have someone to come home to. (The Google Crisis Response page that hosts this donation effort also features message boards, warning and alarm announcements, shelter information, and much more. Looking at it gives you kind of an inside idea of what’s going on there. There’s even a button to click if you are looking for someone, or have information on someone.)
In Afghanistan, in the midst of war, many animals are lost and separated from their family. Many are found later by troops from the US, UK and Canada. Soldiers rescue these animals and get help from rescue groups that help them send these animals out of the country and to a forever loving home that they deserve.
Three US marine soldiers, Brian Chambers, Chris Berry and Aaron Shaw, started a mission to help bring home the kittens they have befriended while serving in Afghanistan . With generous donations from cat lovers and help from Noward Dogs animal rescue, Kiki and Keykey, two lovely ginger kitties, have successfully made it home in the US. Unfortunately 2 other cats, Simba and Ra-Ko, lost the battle against their illnesses a few weeks ago.
Kiki and his sister Bones were found by Brian Chambers, a US marine. “At only 3 weeks old, their mother had disappeared and they were left alone to live rough and fend for themselves like the other cats in this area. We looked after them both and they lived in a box in the office, after a week they were allowed to roam around during the day and sleep with us in the hooch at night.”
Unfortunately Bones vanished a week after along with Kiki, but Kiki eventually returned.
Kiki was injured badly on Monday 8th of March. Brian found him in horrible condition. “He was too frightened to approach me, I ran to find some wipes to clean him and I then realised how bad this wounds really were…”
A vet came the next day and put Kiki on a course of antibiotics. Today Kiki has fully recovered.
“Kiki is a very playful adventurous cat, he loves to explore and is very curious, he enjoys sitting on my shoulder, chewing on my hand and running up my legs. He hasn’t been put off by what has happened to him.”
Keykey was found by another US marine named Chris Berry.
“I found Keykey tangled up in c-wire one day in the beginning of the deployment, I took him in and fixed his wounds. He was also extremely malnourished so I constantly kept an eye on him and fed him until he got back to good health and he has been by my side ever since.”
Both Keykey and Kiki have arrived in the US. Kiki is currently living with Brian’s parents in Houston, Texas until he leaves the Marines and moves home. Keykey is living with Chris’ parents in Detroit, Michigan and enjoying his new family.
For soldiers who are on duty overseas, often time the only chance they get to cuddle is when they meet these stray animals. These soldiers are lonely and longing for love from their family and friends. The kitties are abandoned, lost and have nowhere to call home. When they find each other, they become best friends.