Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Little Love Goes a Long Way Down Under

And Sometimes a Dog just LOVES his Mailman!

The Huffington Post recently found another love story between dog and mailman in Australia. Pippa the golden retriever loves and lives to retrieve the mail but every once in a while there just isn’t any for her family. In order to make Pippa feel special, needed and wanted, Martin Studer, Pippa’s mailman hastily fashions some mail just for her with her name and two red hearts.

At Christmas time, he hands out tennis balls!

A great lesson for all our mail carriers! If every mail carrier simply kept a supply of dog biscuits in the mail bag, every dog would fall in love.

Watch more about it here.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

EverythingDogBlog: Olympic Athletes Love Puppies!

And fortunately, some of the pups are not too stressed out!

Click here for 84 adorable pups and 84 US heroes.

Adopt a Pup: Clear the Shelters!

Read more about it:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Face-off: Dogs vs Cats

Coastal Living Dogs!

July/August 2016

In the Great Debate of Dogs vs Cats, I picked up Coastal Living and thought I might spy a dog or two since they seem to be outdoorsy types, more so than cats. (Cats might appear sitting by the fireplace or in a window seat in winter, perhaps in Vogue.)

I wasn’t wrong.

I spied a couple of golden retrievers in a boat, probably an inboard and a little human guy taking a bath with his rubber duckies (2 yellow and 1 green), a dinosaur and possibly a rubber golden-lab: I couldn’t be sure if it was a dog or a dino since his head was out of the picture.

Plenty of cottages could have been enhanced with sleeping dog or pup, but nobody asked me – yet.

However, page 97 sports a 2/3 page article on Bordeaux, the Reader Pet of the Month, sporting a flag-inspired collar. He barks for ice-cream (favors cappuccino milkshake leftovers) and helps sell bandanas, rope toys and dog beds in the summer issue. Bordeaux lives in Missouri but summers on the Carolina coast.

Lucky dog!

Wonder if he lives with a cat at home. . . .

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: Dog, Inc. (cloning) Part Two of Two

Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend, by John Woestendiek, Avery Publishing (Penguin Books), 2011, 320 pp, $26.00. (Current cover subtitle: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics, and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry)

An Ethical Dilemma? A Three-way Battle for Success?

Marketing experts capitalize on grief. In a world of pet overpopulation, when thousands are euthanized every year, why factory farm dogs? “It took eight years of trial and error, at two universities, on two continents, to clone the world’s first dog: only two more years to put that service on the market. . . .” (p 13) for bereaved dog owners and transgenic researchers.

The dog owners in mourning want to assuage their grief and just get their best friend back.

The scientists say experience, training and personality can’t be cloned. There is no no guarantee of identical personality – instead, the assurance of a different personality is much more likely.

How Expensive is Cloning?

April 24, 2004 produced Snuppy (from SNU, Seoul National University, and ‘puppy’) from the skin cell of an American Afghan hound with an egg cell from a Korean farm dog (1 of more than 100 donors) placed in a surrogate yellow Lab named Simba (Swahili for lion) (1 of 120 surrogates).

Result: one stillborn fetus, one pup who died after two days and – Snuppy. A cost of millions and a cast of millions. . . . Snuppy then lived the next five years in a research laboratory, with a couple of walks a day outside. Was it worth it? With a success rate as low as 0.09%, many people feel canine cloning is ethically indefensible.

How expensive is cloning? Not only in dollars but also in resources and animal lives? The first attempt at cloning a cat used 188 nuclear transplants, yielded 82 embryos transferred into 7 cats - none of which developed - so none succeeded in producing a cloned cat.

The first successful (2001) cloned cat, CC (for ‘carbon copy’), however, was a calico, destined to disappoint because calicos (females) never look exactly like their mother so CC didn’t look like her original donor (the orange, black, and white patches on calico cats are due to chance [which X chromosome of two, is turned on] not heredity) as all high-school biology students learn. After all, Dolly the (first sheep cloned from another adult mammal [it took 277 attempts] in 1996) sheep had health problems and died young.

How to Clone a Dog

1. Remove the nucleus from a dog’s egg (vacuum it out)
2. Insert the skin cell from another dog
3. Immerse in a chemical bath (and zap with electricity) until the fertilized egg divides then implant in a dog surrogate mother

Would We Recommend This Book?

Dog cloning and its complex history is not made any more understandable by Dog, Inc., which flits from one topic to another and back again. This works comparatively well for tragically entertaining character subplots but, as a scientist, I quickly became lost in the data and numbers, so I assume a non-scientist would become really mixed up.

I would have preferred a bibliography: interested readers will want to read more and numerous magazine articles over the years mentioned in Dog, Inc., that people will want to read. And parts of this book should have a caveat, “Not for the queasy”: too much information is revealed about the Korean dog markets (dog farms), similar to US puppy mills because in Korea, few dogs are family pets – most are research subjects or end up as food. All in all, though, rather than cloning, I prefer to keep the memory of my heart dog forever in my heart.

*clone: nuclear transplantation resulting in a genetic identical twin

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Book Review: Dog, Inc. (cloning) Part One of Two

Dog, Inc.: The Uncanny Inside Story of Cloning Man’s Best Friend, by John Woestendiek, Avery Publishing (Penguin Books), 2011, 320 pp, $26.00. (Current cover subtitle: How a Collection of Visionaries, Rebels, Eccentrics, and Their Pets Launched the Commercial Dog Cloning Industry)

Cloning for Love and Money

Who among us hasn’t had at least one dog in our life that we bonded deeply with, a dog who was truly our best friend - and when that dog died, so did a huge hunk of our heart? Do you ever wish your heart dog could come back? Did you freeze your dog after he died like one character in this book? Did you stuff and mount him? Did you freeze-dry him?

Dog, Inc., examines the recent global race (between  the US and Korea) to clone* a dog so that an owner might replicate his heart-dog. But wait - is that really possible? And at what cost, in millions of dollars and hundreds of dogs - deformities and abnormalities (tumors, skeletal problems) are still only one of the unfortunate consequences part of dog cloning.

If you like The National Inquirer, you’ll love this book. If you’re a dog person (dog lover, dog professional), you’ll have to read Dog, Inc., an objective account of the international dog cloning wars of the past decade - a race to be the first to clone a dog and a dog named Booger (I kid you not!). If you are a scientist (biologist or geneticist) you might be bored and frustrated, as I was.

The Characters (and characters they are indeed!)

-The Southern Baptist raised but briefly Mormon, former beauty queen (though she never lived in the state she represented, is now on welfare, and was arrested for kidnapping) wanted to clone a dog (for $150,000) that she was convinced saved her life.

-The heroic German Shepherd Dog who may have unofficially searched the Twin Towers on 911 and whose owner won a contest to have him cloned, thus saving the $150,000 fee. 

-The Texas owner of a gentle Brahman bull, Chance, who wanted another Chance (Second Chance).

-The 70-something millionaire, founder of the University of Phoenix, who gave the project its first spark (and $20 million in funding) to clone his dog Missy – and the Missy Mission (Missiplicity Project) was born at Texas A&M University.

Clonaid, Clonapet, Genetic Savings & Clone, Perpetual Pet (freeze-dried pets), Forever Pet, PerPETuate, gene banks. . . . Nature, Time, The NYTimes, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Science - who among us doesn’t remember the news?

Dog, the 18th species to be cloned, turned out to be the most expensive, the most difficult to duplicate genetically, and closest emotionally to man.

Suits and Countersuits

The beauty queen sued her father. Two dog cloning companies (from different countries) went to court. What more could a reader ask for?

International Dog Wars

“The battle, once cloning went commercial, would play out in the marketplace, in the courtroom, and in the arena of public relations. . . .” (p 199).

It proved to be harder to clone dogs than mice or steers or goats or horses or cows or rats or deer or oxen or pigs or mules or buffalo or mice or frogs or sheep or cats – dogs come into heat only twice a year and their eggs are opaque.

Successful dog cloning became a race between Korean scientists and US scientists/businessmen with the Koreans eventually winning: in Korea, ‘farm dogs’ refers to dogs raised on farms for food (mutts are part of the food chain in at least three countries) so there were plenty of dogs with which to start.

In addition, animal welfare regulations like those in the US do not exist in Korea.

And finally, the Korean scientists’ work week consists of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday, and weekends, from 4 am to 11 pm – true factory assembly lines.

*clone: nuclear transplantation resulting in a genetic identical twin

To be continued in the next blog:
An Ethical Dilemma? A Three-way Battle for Success?
How Expensive is Cloning?
How to Clone a Dog
Would We Recommend This Book?