A Puppy for Christmas? Stop Before You Shop or Adopt!

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Dogs Trust Ireland has created a powerful public awareness campaign called “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” that reminds people to stop and think before they get someone a dog as a Christmas present. The organization reports that they get an alarming number of calls from people looking to surrender dogs they got as gifts.

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Top 10 reasons owners return their dogs to Dogs Trust:

  1. “The puppy was bought as a present for elderly couple with dementia.”
  2. “He barks when left on his own”
  3. “My dog doesn’t look like what he did on the website”
  4.  “My dog was too old and no longer brought me any joy”
  5.  “The puppy went to the toilet all over the house and it hurts my back to pick up my dog’s poop”
  6. “He chewed my expensive sofa”
  7. “He isn’t as cute as when I first got him”
  8. “He can’t do any tricks”
  9. “He grew too big for my house”
  10. “He smells, of dog”

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A dog is a big commitment of both time and money, and an impulsive purchase around the holidays can lead to a sad outcome for the animal.   Dogs Trust notes that they take special care in rehoming dogs, especially puppies, in the weeks before Christmas, knowing that a carelessly acquired dog may be brought back to the shelter. They also note that the holidays can be a hectic time of year, and not the best time to introduce a new pet into the home.

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They also warn people to resist impulse buying of pets on the Internet, as it can be difficult to tell if you are buying from a puppy mill or a reputable breeder. Finding the right dog from the right source takes time and research. As Dogs Trust Executive Director Mark Beazley says, “Having a dog is a long-term commitment and Christmas offers the perfect opportunity to remind people that dogs are not fashion accessories or disposable items that can be upgraded or discarded after just a few months.”

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Cat Genome Project Reveals Clues to Domestication

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A study of the feline genome is providing new insights into how and why cats became domesticated. Compared to dogs, cat domestication is a relatively recent occurrence (30,000 years for dogs vs. 9,000 for cats), but researchers can still find signs of domestication in their DNA.

The lure of treats

Key findings from the cat genome project show that domestication created changes in genes related to memory, fear and reward-seeking. Reward-seeking is particularly important in the domestication process. The promise of a food reward enticed cats to hang around human settlements. Shy, solitary wild cats became more approachable and calm.

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Analysis of the genes of purebred cats reveals that cats were bred primarily for hair color, texture and pattern, as well as facial features and docility. Researchers point to the Birman (pictured above) as an example. Humans selectively bred Birmans for their white paws. All Birmans have the genetic signature for this trait, and researchers believe this happened in a relatively short period of time.

Designed for hunting

Cats are strict carnivores, and researchers have found specific fat-metabolizing genes that help them digest fatty meats. These genes are not present in humans or animals that eat a more varied diet. Cats have evolved into expert hunters, as reflected by genes for superior hearing and night vision. Interestingly, their sense of smell is more sensitive to the chemical scents of other cats than it is to prey animals.

Click HERE for more information on the cat genome study.

Image: “Blu-point” by Original uploader was Claudiabirmani at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blu-point.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Blu-point.jpg

 

Photos: Dog Friendly Golf Tournament!

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A barking good time was had by all of the dogs–and their people–at the FACE Foundation’s 3rd Invitational Dog Friendly Golf Tournament!  This year’s tournament was held on November 3, 2014 at San Diego’s Lomas Santa Fe Country Club.  All proceeds from this event benefit animals in need of life-saving veterinary care.

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We hope you enjoy these pictures of some very happy dogs!  To see more, please visit our Facebook page.

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Special thanks to Cini and Ira Robb for sponsoring this wonderful event.

How Cats See the World

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Research on feline vision has shed some new light on how differently cats see the world as compared to humans. A recent British study confirms that cats (and some other mammals) can perceive ultraviolet light. What does that mean for your cat? It may explain why you sometimes get the feeling that your cat is looking at something you just can’t see…because you can’t!

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Ultraviolet vision capability can also mean that your cat may see more color differences than previously thought. This could be why cats are such good hunters, as ultraviolet variations between a prey animal and a similarly-colored background can make the prey stand out. On the flip side, cats’ vision is generally thought to be blurrier than ours, also a side effect of the ability to see ultraviolet light.

Graphic artist Nickolay Lamm consulted with animal vision experts to create a series of images illustrating a cat’s view of the world side by side with ours. The images show how a cat’s greater peripheral vision makes the world seem blurry to them, but also how their superior night vision illuminates what we see as darkness.

The differences between a cat’s eyes and ours explain why we have good day vision, with crisp resolution and bright colors (cats are thought to see more like color blind humans). Cats sacrifice color and clarity for superior night vision and a greater ability to pick up quick movements…both excellent qualities for life as a hunter, even if your cat is just chasing spiders around the house!

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Best Books About Military Dogs

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Image from Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca, by Maria Goodavage (Dutton/Penguin)

As we salute our military heroes this Veterans Day, FACE would like to recognize the amazing contributions military dogs have made over the years.  Here are just a few interesting and inspiring reads about military service dogs, in honor of Veterans Day:

The Dog Who Could Fly:  The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew at His Side

Sergeant Rex:  The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog

Top Dog:  The Story of Marine Hero Lucca

The Dogs of War:  The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs

Always Faithful:  A Memoir of the Marine Dogs of WWII

A Soldier’s Best Friend:  Scout Dogs and Their Handlers in the Vietnam War

Thank you to our veterans, both human and canine!

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