Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tibetan Spaniel, the “Little Lion” Dog Loved by Monks

By Linda Cole

The Tibetan Spaniel is an old breed, dating back at least 2,000 years. Like the Saint Bernard that was raised and bred by Augustine monks living in the Western Alps, the “Tibbie” was developed by Lamaist monks living in the high Himalayan mountains of Tibet. These little dogs were highly prized by their owners. According to legend, the Tibetan Spaniels were used to turn prayer wheels in monasteries, but in reality, they had a more important job.

In the Buddhist religion, Buddha was able to tame the lion, and in doing so, he taught the mighty cats to follow him. Because the Tibetan Spaniel is so loyal, they were in the habit of following the monks everywhere around the monastery, and the breed became known as the “Little Lion Dog.” With thick hair similar to a lion’s mane surrounding their neck, and a confident plumed tail held proudly over their back, this little dog looked like a small lion to the monks. According to Buddhist belief, the lion represented Buddha’s triumphal win over violence and aggression. And since the Tibbie reminded the monks of a lion, it made them a popular breed to have.

The monks treasured the Tibetan Spaniel so much that they were given as gifts to visiting dignitaries and ambassadors from Japan, China and other Buddhist countries. Chinese diplomats presented their own “lion dog,” the Pekingese, to the monks, and there was most likely interbreeding between the Tibetan dogs and the Pekingese. People living in the villages also bred their own dogs, and then gave the smallest ones to the monks, who used them in their breeding program, producing a well balanced and stable breed.

The Tibetan Spaniel was kept primarily as a companion pet, but the monks discovered the dogs were excellent watchdogs, as well. The little lion dogs found the high walls surrounding the monastery to be a good place to sit and watch for approaching strangers or wild animals. When an intruder, human or animal, was seen, an alarm was sounded to alert the monks. Tibbies are known to have a keen sense of hearing, a good nose and eagle sharp eyes, able to see clearly into the far distance.

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How to Help Your Dog Overcome Noise Phobia

By Lisa Mason

Many dogs suffer from noise phobia wherein they become anxious and act in an unusual manner not characteristic of their normal behavior when exposed to loud noises. It’s important to understand that your dog won’t just get over his noise phobia without help from you. The sounds can be terrifying to him and if not treated, the problem could escalate until your pet becomes fearful of other things.

A dog suffering from noise phobia will experience one or more of the following signs of anxiety:

• Shaking
• Aggression
• Whimpering
• Digging and scratching
• Excessive barking
• Uncontrolled urinating or defecating

If you notice these symptoms immediately after hearing loud noises, then you’ll need to take steps to help your dog overcome noise phobia. Here are some things you can do.

Provide a Safe Haven

First, your dog needs to feel safe. When your pet begins to exhibit any of the signs above, talk to her gently and pet her. Let her know everything is okay and that you are there with her but don’t baby her. If you overreact, she may get the wrong message and think that you are worried, too. When your dog feels safe and secure, she will begin to calm down and relax. Stay with her until the noise subsides, and once she’s calm you can offer her a CANIDAE treat.

If for some reason you must leave your dog alone or for times when you are not around, have a special place in the home where he knows he can go and feel safe. Dogs like to be in small spaces when they are scared because it makes them feel more protected.

If you crate trained your dog, this will make the perfect place for her to go when she is scared. If not, make her a home in a corner, under a desk or even in a closet where she can go to calm down. Place a couple of her favorite toys in the area and depending on the dog’s age, you can put a blanket in the spot to help calm her.

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What’s the Smartest Thing your Cat has ever Done?

“Smart cat” Figg

By Langley Cornwell

Well, the cats caught wind of the article I wrote titled “What’s the Smartest Thing your Dog has ever Done?” and demanded equal time. I should have known; cats have been bossing me around for years now! They kept pointing to Julia’s article: Are Cats Smart? Smarter Than Dogs Even? as evidence that yes indeed, they are very smart and I should write about it.

As instructed, I posed this question to my animal-loving friends: What’s the smartest thing your cat has ever done? I received lots of fun answers.

Many cats have learned how to manage without opposable thumbs. Chris once had a Persian cat who would turn door knobs with her paws so she could go outside. Dana’s cat could open door knobs and pull the door open towards him. And Priscilla’s cat Peppy opens the kitchen cabinet by using his front paws and pulling the door open in order to help himself to his own food.

Juniper’s cat loved attention and knew how to get it. He would pet himself to show that he wanted someone to pet him. He would rub one paw on top of his head while meowing frantically until someone would understand what he was “saying” and would pet him. If he did it for a while and the person still didn’t pet him, he would start petting them by repeatedly stroking their thigh with his paw. That’s pretty impressive language for a cat!

My friend Charles and his wife have three indoor cats, Maggie, Sally and Daisy, as well as two outdoor boys, Spinner and Webster. Two of the girl cats have learned how to team up to pilfer food. Maggie, an eight pound shorthair tuxedo, throws herself incessantly at the door handle until she is able to hang on to it just long enough to cause the door to open. Daisy, a big 17 pounder, then goes to work on the FELIDAE bag. Whether it takes 30 minutes or several hours, Daisy gnaws away at the bag until she is able to tear open a hole in the side big enough to let the kibble cascade onto the floor. They then feast until their humans catch them, at which point they scatter like the wind.

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Why Some Dogs Need Winter Coats to Stay Warm

By Linda Cole

My first dog, Jack, was an American Eskimo. He had a thick undercoat that kept him toasty warm through even the coldest winter blast. Most of my dogs have been large with warm coats, and I never thought much about winter coats for dogs until my two Jack Russell Terrier mixed siblings, Sophie and Kelly, got older. Our Midwest winters can be harsh, with snow and subzero temperatures. Both Sophie and Kelly took the cold in stride when they were young, but as they aged I discovered they got cold when we were outside. Some dogs do need winter coats to help keep them warm!

Winter coats, sweaters or booties are to some people nothing more than an owner pampering their pet. I’ve had people stop me and actually complain because I had a winter coat on my dogs. Some people think dogs don’t need anything on because they already have a perfectly good, natural winter coat. Sometimes, however, a dog’s natural coat isn’t enough to protect them from winter weather. There are reasons why you may need to put warm clothes on your dog.

Older Dogs

I had an older dog, Rex, who would get so cold his teeth chattered. He loved playing outside with the other dogs, and putting both a sweater and coat on him helped to keep him warm and made it possible for him to enjoy being outside – without shivering so hard his teeth chattered. Older dogs can have a harder time generating and holding body heat. Putting a sweater and/or coat on your dog when he’s outside is a practical way of dealing with colder weather. It’s important to keep an eye on an older pet to make sure the cold isn’t bothering him.

Another consideration to keep in mind is even inside the house, an older dog can become chilled. If you need a sweater because your thermostat is turned down to conserve energy or there’s a chill in the house just before the furnace comes on, your older dog may also need a sweater.

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Does Your Pet Have a Doppelganger?

Annabelle

By Julia Williams

I can’t count the times I’ve looked at someone – either in person or a photograph – and thought “Gosh, they sure look like so-and-so.” I hear about this happening to others too, so often that I’m sure every person on the planet will have this same experience many times over the course of their life.

I once hypothesized (not seriously, just in fun) that the reason it happened was because our faces were created from “molds” that were reused. Some molds were eventually altered to create different features, but overall a finite number of molds were available. Hence, in our lifetime we were bound to come across people who looked remarkably like other people, and even…people who looked just like us!

These body doubles are sometimes called doppelgangers, a German word meaning “double-goer.” In folklore, doppelgangers were malicious ghostly doubles that haunted their more innocent counterparts and confused their friends and relatives. (Could the doppelganger legend possibly be where the term “evil twin” came from?). Nowadays, a doppelganger is simply any double or look-alike of a person.

Barney

Some people say that everyone has a doppelganger. Although there’s no proof of this, there are many stories about cases of mistaken identity, and some have disastrous consequences. For example, a doppelganger commits a crime and an innocent man is sent to jail. I have never seen my doppelganger, but I sure do hope she is a law abiding citizen!

If we believe that every human has a doppelganger out there somewhere – I’m not convinced but I haven’t rejected the theory, either – then what about our pets? Could dogs and cats have doppelgangers, too? Well, sure. Why not!

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Top Five Grossing Dog Movies

By Langley Cornwell

Like most animal lovers, I enjoy reading books about pets and watching movies about them, especially if the movie involves real animals. When looking at the top five grossing dog movies, it’s interesting to note that there are a mix of cartoon dogs and real dogs in the films. Here is a list of the highest grossing dog movies as published by Box Office Mojo:

1. Scooby-Doo (released on 6/14/02), has a Lifetime Gross (Theaters) of $153,294,164.
2. Marley & Me (12/25/08), has a Lifetime Gross of $143,153,751.
3. 101 Dalmatians (11/27/96), has a Lifetime Gross of $136,189,294.
4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (10/3/08), has a Lifetime Gross of $94,514,402.
5. Cats & Dogs (7/4/01), has a Lifetime Gross of $93,385,515.

Scooby-Doo topping the list makes sense; when kids love a movie they beg to go back to see it multiple times and this is definitely a kid’s movie. The characters were first seen in 1969 on the long-running Hanna-Barbera cartoon called Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The movie is a live-action comedy/adventure. Scooby-Doo himself is computer-generated. The movie was so popular, a sequel called Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed was released two years later and ranks as number 6, grossing $84,216,833. Scooby-Doo received 2.5 stars from the Internet Movie Database.

I loved the Marley & Me book so much that I was hesitant about seeing the movie. I’m glad I did. The film stars Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson and twenty-two different yellow Labradors playing Marley at various stages in his life. The thing that I liked the most about this story is that it’s autobiographical and it illustrates the power of the canine-human bond. This is a must-see for dog lovers. The Marley & Me movie received 3.5 stars from the Internet Movie Database.

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