Category Archives: Langley Cornwell

How Do Dogs Sense Approaching Storms?

dog storms ttarasiukBy Langley Cornwell

Where I live, we have short thunderstorms almost every afternoon in the summer. I used to like these storms because they cooled things down a bit, but one of our dogs has recently become a master weatherman, sensing approaching storms long before we see evidence. Unfortunately for him, he dislikes the thunder. And because he senses its approach, his misery is long-lasting. For his sake, I wish he wasn’t so keen to oncoming inclement weather. I also began to wonder, how in the world does he know in advance when a storm is rolling in anyway?

We provide our dogs with love, companionship and shelter, and feed them healthy food like CANIDAE. We spend lots of time with them but even so, sometimes dogs do things that make us wonder. Some dogs dig the carpet before lying down, some herd children, and some even terrorize mailmen. But dogs also do amazing things like saving their humans from fires, protecting their homes and predicting the weather.

While you can’t ask your dog how bad a storm is going to be, if you get to know your pup you will be able to tell when a storm is coming, just by observing their behavior. Dogs know when it’s time to batten down the hatches, and will often herd the family to where they can keep an eye on you while they pace agitatedly. How do dogs know a storm is approaching long before the clouds appear, the rain falls and the thunder rolls?

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How Can Cats Jump so High?

cat jumps marinaBy Langley Cornwell

Cats are amazing creatures. They are graceful, elegant, somewhat moody and hilarious to watch sometimes. If you have any doubt about that, just look up “funny cat videos” on the internet and you’ll be giggling for hours (and yes, I speak from experience).

Have you ever watched a cat race across a yard and then jump halfway up the trunk of a tree before it begins climbing? How about watching a cat easily leap from the ground to the top of a fence? How do they do that? When you see them perform these amazing feats, you begin to understand how closely related your domestic house cat is to a big jungle cat.

Thanks to evolution and the way felines have adapted to their environment over the years, both jungle cats and house cats have extremely strong back legs and a great deal of flexibility. This is because their ancestors mostly lived in trees and had to leap out to catch their prey before climbing back up the tree with their meal. Imagine a leopard carrying an antelope carcass up a tree; he’d need to have really strong hind quarters.

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Amazing Ways Pets Can Change the Lives of Elderly Humans

pet and elderly heidiBy Langley Cornwell

As we get older, our children grow up and begin families of their own. Then the grandchildren grow up and suddenly, visiting the grandparents isn’t as regular as it used to be. Day-to-day life and responsibilities conspire to keep the younger generations from giving the elderly their time and attention. When this time comes, it’s important to make sure that elderly family members have an emotional connection, a source of affection and unconditional love. While a pet can’t take the place of a caring family, there are several amazing ways that pets benefit the lives of elderly humans.

Companionship and Stress Relief

Anyone who has ever lived with a dog or cat knows that even when your pet is sleeping while you go about your day, you are always aware that you have company if you want it. Rumbling purrs, kneading paws, belly rubs and a shadow as you move about your home let you know that you are loved. Elderly folks benefit greatly from having pets for companions. Pets may not be able to talk, but they communicate their love constantly, and having one around is a wonderful way to keep an elderly person from succumbing to loneliness, depression and the feeling of isolation that often sets in as they face physical challenges, health concerns and a lack of time spent with family and friends.

Cortisol and serotonin are chemicals in the body that work opposite each other. Cortisol is a stress hormone, while serotonin is known as the happy hormone. Pets are wonderful for helping lower cortisol and offering the comfort and stress relief that introduces higher levels of serotonin.

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Extinct Dog Breeds We’ll Never Get to Meet

Southern_HoundBy Langley Cornwell

The World Canine Organization assembled a list of 339 different dog breeds that are agreed upon and recognized internationally. That’s a lot of dog breeds! But what this comprehensive list doesn’t include are the many different breeds that used to be documented, but are now extinct.

You may wonder how a dog breed becomes extinct. It’s generally at the hands of humans. We have either lost interest in preserving a certain breed or we have selectively bred that particular dog breed into a completely new breed. Here are a few interesting dog breeds that are no longer with us.

Southern Hound

A slow and methodical tracker, the Southern Hound was one of the oldest scent and tracking breeds ever documented. This big, plodding dog with long legs and a deep voice dates all the way back to the early 1400s. Known for his ability to track trails that had already gone cold, he was an expert (albeit slow) rabbit and deer hunter. As the Renaissance was coming to an end, hunters began to favor faster prey, so fox hunting rose in popularity. Because the Southern Hound was such a deliberate, steady tracker, he wasn’t the best choice for this fast-moving sport. Looking for a speedier dog, hunters began cross-breeding Southern Hounds with quicker, lighter breeds. The result was the beginnings of modern-day scent hounds including Beagles, Bloodhounds and Foxhounds.

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Which Emotions Do Dogs Experience?

dog emotions kizzzbethBy Langley Cornwell

When I walk in our front door, my dogs are happy to see me. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone for hours or days. I know they’re happy because they wiggle, dance and squirm. Their tales wag excitedly and they push each other out of the way, trying to get closer to me. They are happy to see me because they love me.

It seems obvious to me that dogs feel emotions similar to humans. In reality, however, the existence of emotions in animals has long been a point of scientific dispute. In fact, 17th-century scientists and philosophers such as René Descartes and Nicholas de Malebranche asserted that dogs were nothing more than living machines that can be programmed to do things. They believed that given the proper stimulus and motivation a dog could be easily programmed, but that they feel nothing and know nothing.

Modern science has evolved from that theory, and come to recognize that animals have a similar chemistry, hormones and even brain structure as those that create emotions in humans. Because a dog’s neurology and chemistry are similar to a human being, it’s sensible to assume that our emotional ranges are similar, but that’s not exactly the case. Yes, it’s true that dogs have emotions which are similar to ours, but not the same as a fully-developed adult human. Research indicates that dogs have the emotional ranges and mental abilities comparable to that of a two to two-and-a-half year old human.

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Iconic Dogs in Art

iconic art rockwellBy Langley Cornwell

We’ve all read the romantic stories of artists and their muses. The muse provided the artists with companionship and sometimes appeared in their work; the artists often created work that either directly or indirectly included their muse. To prepare for this article, I got lost in the research. I came across a story about two socialite sisters named Claribel and Etta Cone who provided motivation and inspiration for Henry Matisse; another about how a beautiful young woman named Joanna Hiffernan inspired some of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s most important works, and another on how Dora Maar, a French poet, painter and photographer, was the muse for several of Pablo Picasso’s sad portraits. As was his custom, another woman named Marie-Thérèse Walter became the inspiration for many of Picasso’s later portraits.

Andrew Wyeth was inspired by a woman named Helga Testorf, who was his sister’s housekeeper; Edouard Manet saw Victorine Meurent running through the streets and was instantly intrigued. She became such an important catalyst for him that she inadvertently inspired him to change his artistic style. There is the beautiful but tragic story of Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel and the equally sad story of Edie Sedgwick, who became one of Andy Warhol’s primary muses.

But it’s not just other humans that provide inspiration and companionship to artists. Some very special canines played the role of muse for many famous artists of the past, and wound up making an appearance in their paintings and photographs.

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